Super Saturday in Dallas: Hundreds receive help in applying for college financial aid

May 2012

Michelle Saucedo, a senior at Molina High School in Dallas, was one of more than 270 students who attended the first FAFSA/TASFA Super Saturday workshop to be held in Dallas. The March 24 event, supported by Educate Texas and the Texas College Access Network (TxCAN), gave Saucedo and her parents an opportunity to receive help in completing financial aid and college scholarship applications.

“The Super Saturday was beneficial to me and my family,” said Saucedo. “The advisors were very helpful and attentive while we completed the FAFSA and TASFA forms. I would like to suggest having even more events next year to help more of my classmates.”

“Students who submit a financial aid application are more likely to continue to postsecondary education.  So, the need to support students and families in the financial aid process is crucial,” said Alejandra Barbosa, Operations and Program Manager for Educate Texas.  “It takes the expertise and collaboration of many partners to support our students so that they get all the help they need.”

“As the host site for Super Saturday, we saw what happens when organizations think outside their four walls to benefit students,” said Connie Lefler, Associate Principal at Molina High School.  “By working collaboratively with multiple entities, we were able to provide an opportunity for all seniors in the Dallas County area to complete a critical step for college access.”

Organizers of the first North Texas FAFSA/TASFA Super Saturday said the event produced impressive results:

  • More than 270 students representing 20 different Dallas-area school districts attended.
  • More than 250 parents attended.
  • More than 70 volunteers representing more than 20 organizations assisted in the event.
  • An estimated $21,000 in college and university scholarships was awarded to students, during the event, who had completed their college and financial aid applications.

“This event was a perfect example of the impact that regional collaboration can have on connecting students and their families with college-going support, resources, and information,” said Stephanie Holley, Dean of Enrollment Management at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

“Gaining access to financial resources and receiving the proper guidance are key drivers in being able to take the first step toward a college education,” Holley continued, “and they are just as important for retention and degree completion.  We accomplished what we set out to do and had an incredibly successful day.  We are committed to continuing our strong level of support and involvement with this and other TxCAN-led events.”

TxCAN is part of the National College Access Network (NCAN), a group of public and private organizations that collaborate to increase student access to and success in postsecondary education. Educate Texas, an initiative of the Communities Foundation of Texas to improve public education, has launched TxCAN regional pilot programs in the Dallas/North Texas area and in San Antonio (see related article in this newsletter on San Antonio’s “Student Aid Saturdays”).

Through TxCAN, organizations such as colleges and universities, school districts, school counselors, non-profit and for-profit college access service providers, and state agencies have greater opportunities to work together to further student postsecondary access and success.

TxCAN plans to expand its financial aid workshops next year to reach more students and their families. More information about the workshops, about Educate Texas, and about TxCAN partnerships for college access is available by contacting Alejandra Barbosa, Operations and Program Manager, Educate Texas, Communities Foundation of Texas, (214) 750-4137, abarbosa@cftexas.org.

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