February 16, 2011
Rollins’ efforts to inspire Central Florida students to reach for college are well known and highly acclaimed. Starting with Pathways to College, which begins to plant the seeds for higher education in the minds of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, Rollins continuously hosts events throughout the year that invite budding scholars to immerse themselves in college life. The Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs keep the dream alive by providing year-round academic advisement, mentoring and leadership that encourage kids from 6th grade through 12th to succeed in high school and later, in college.
This year, Rollins will be furthering its commitment to getting kids to college by participating, for the first time, in College Goal Sunday, which will be held in the Cornell Hall for the Social Sciences on Sunday, February 20 from 2 p.m. – 5p.m.
College Goal Sunday is a statewide volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying for financial aid for post secondary education. The one-day event brings together financial aid professionals from colleges and universities along with other volunteers to help college-bound students and their families complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which is required for any student seeking federal and state financial aid, including grants and loans at all colleges in the country.
Carrie Glatting, pre-collegiate coordinator at Rollins Upward Bound, has worked with her team to bring College Goal Sunday to Rollins because she believes it’s the next natural step in helping to move kids toward college. “We do so much to inspire students to strive for a college education,” Glatting shared. “It makes sense that we also provide resources for helping these students figure out how to pay for it.”
Glatting’s team has not only invited Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search students to participate, but has extended the invitation to all Central Florida high school seniors. 22 volunteers, including eight Rollins students and six FAFSA experts, will be on hand to assist an estimated 20 to 50 families apply for the financial assistance that will make college possible.
“The FAFSA application is a very tedious process,” said Glatting. “But we have great people on staff to go through each application line by line. As long as parents bring their completed 2010 tax return and driver’s licenses, our team can work with each family to get the job done.” Social security numbers are also required to complete the paperwork. There will also be two Spanish language interpreters standing by.
“We have seen a tremendous response from community organizations and leaders throughout Florida who have offered to help in this initiative,” said Braulio Colón, assistant director for ENLACE Florida. “These organizations know the challenges many students face preparing for college and have all come together to help students and families successfully complete a form that can be very intimidating.”
The FAFSA form is used to apply for federal student aid such as the Pell grant, work-study aid, and loans. A report released by the Florida Board of Governors in 2009 concluded that nearly a quarter of eligible undergraduate students statewide who are eligible for Pell grants failed to obtain them. “College Goal Sunday is an event designed to reach the most vulnerable families and students by providing free expert assistance completing the appropriate forms at a location in their community,” said Colón.
For the Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search teams, February 20 won’t be just any given Sunday – it’s a day that will take the Central Florida community one step closer to closing the achievement gap in its educational system and making college accessible to students who otherwise would not be given the opportunity.