MCC Hosted College Goal Sunday on January 29

For many college-bound students and their families, navigating the financial aid process can be one of the most complicated steps in preparing for a post-secondary education. College Goal Sunday, an annual program that was held at Manchester Community College and 11 other sites throughout the state on Jan. 29, aimed to dispel any confusion by assisting participants with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

MCC Director of Financial Aid and State Coordinator for College Goal Sunday Ivette Rivera-Dreyer said that this was the fourth consecutive year that MCC has hosted the program. In addition to providing participants with instructions and individualized attention while they completed the FAFSA online, program volunteers offered assistance to Spanish-speaking families and those with special circumstances, such as students who live with grandparents or who are wards of the court.

“The goal is to increase the enrollment of students who, without financial aid, would not be able to afford college,” said Rivera-Dreyer. Though the program welcomes students from all backgrounds, it focuses on those who are low-income and/or first-generation to college.

Terry Callahan, who attended with her daughter Autumn, said, “Because I didn’t go to college myself, it’s important for me to know what all the steps are and to learn the process.”

Familiarity with the FAFSA did not stop Aida Silva from encouraging her son, Victor, to attend. Silva, a college graduate, said, “I’m familiar with the financial aid process, but Victor is not. If he goes to college out of state, as he hopes to, he’ll have to learn to do this himself. He needs to acquaint himself with the process to make sure he gets it right.”

To kick off the free program, Rivera-Dreyer spoke to participants about the different types of financial aid available and the importance of meeting individual schools’ deadlines. “If you remember nothing else today, remember this,” she said. “Make sure you know your school’s financial aid deadlines. This is critical. After the deadline, there may be no grants or scholarships left.”

She also told the crowd to try not to feel overwhelmed by the forms and paperwork involved or by the rising cost of college tuition. “There is a college out there for everyone. The important thing is not to give up,” she said.

Rivera-Dreyer encourages anyone with questions about the financial aid process to contact her at 860-512-3382.

News Item Posted On: February 02, 2012
For Additional Information Contact: R Dianne K. McHutchison at 860-512-2914