The California College Affordability Summit: A K-12 Pathway to Financial Aid
November 14, 2019 - November 15, 2019
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
November 13, 2019
Pre-conference and early registration from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Equip participants with resources, strategies, and tools to improve financial aid opportunities for all students.
- Understand and support today's student experience.
- Engage and build partnerships with school districts and high schools to support the proper implementation of Assembly Bill 2015.
- Bridge a connection between K-12 and higher education stakeholders focused on increasing financial aid application rates in high schools, districts, and across the state.
Schedule-At-A-GlanceCLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SCHEDULE
44400 Indian Wells Lane Indian Wells, California 92210 USA
Phone: +1 760-773-4444
Fax: +1 760-346-9308
Sales: +1 760-773-4444 ext= 1273
Sales fax: +1 760-836-1294
Check-in and Check-out
- Check-in: 4:00 PM
- Check-out: 11:00 AM
- Express Checkout
- Guest rooms: Wireless, Wired
- High Speed: Check email + browse the Web for 14.95 USD/day
- Enhanced High Speed: Video chat, download large files + stream video for 17.95 USD/day
- Lobby and public areas: Complimentary Wireless
- Meeting rooms: Wireless, Wired
- Electric car charging stations: 8, Complimentary
- On-site parking, fee: 10 USD hourly, 10 USD daily
- Valet parking, fee: 30 USD daily
- Overnight self-parking fee included in daily resort fee
- Pets not allowed
Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)
Airport Phone: +1 760-318-3800
Hotel direction: 15.5 miles SE
This hotel does not provide shuttle service.
- Alternate transportation: Access Destination Services;on request
- Estimated taxi fare: 55 USD (one way)
Turn left on Kirk Douglas, then left on Ramon Road to Interstate 10 East. Take Interstate 10 East to Cook Street. Turn right on Cook Street, go 4 miles to Hwy. 111 and turn left. Then 2 miles to Indian Wells Lane and turn left. The resort will be on your right.
Ontario International Airport (ONT)
Airport Phone: +1 909-544-5300
Hotel direction: 86.5 miles SE
This hotel does not provide shuttle service.
- Alternate transportation: Shuttle Me Five Star; fee: 160 USD (one way) ;reservation required
- Estimated taxi fare: 200 USD (one way)
Exit Ontario Airport to Archibald Avenue North. Take Archibald Avenue to Interstate 10 East. Take Interstate 10 East for 83 miles. Exit Cook Street and turn right. Go 4 miles to Hwy. 111 and turn left. Go 2 miles to Indian Wells Lane and turn left. The resort will be on your right.
Keynote & Panelist Speakers
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Combining a moving life story, an exceptional career, incomparable insights, and a powerful presence, John Quiñones has emerged as one of the most inspiring keynotes in the speaking world today. His moving presentations focus on his odds-defying journey, celebrate the life-changing power of education, champion the Latino American Dream, and provide thought-provoking insights into human nature and ethical behavior.
A lifetime of “never taking no for an answer” took Quiñones from migrant farm work and poverty to more than 30 years at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime. Along the way, he broke through barriers, won the highest accolades, and became a role model for many.Known for truly connecting with audiences and leaving them uplifted and inspired, Quiñones delivers a powerful message of believing in one’s self, never giving up, and always, always doing the right thing. As host and creator of What Would You Do?, the highly-rated, hidden camera ethical dilemma newsmagazine, Quiñones has literally become “the face of doing the right thing” to millions of fans. It’s a role that he has enthusiastically embraced off camera, with a popular book and keynote presentations that challenge both business and general audiences to examine the What Would You Do? moments we face every day. This work and his many achievements were recently recognized with honorary Doctorate degrees from Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia and Utah Valley University.
Dr. Lande Ajose is the Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education for Governor Gavin Newsom. She is responsible for developing and shaping the Governor’s higher education policy agenda, which is focused on protecting college affordability, preserving college access, and increasing system efficiency in order to meet the state’s need for a skilled and educated workforce. Prior to this appointment, she served as executive director of California Competes, a nonpartisan, nonprofit project that develops and advocates on behalf of policies to equitably boost California’s postsecondary degree attainment. Her experience in higher education spans college admissions at Vassar College, education and workforce development funding at the James Irvine Foundation, and research and evaluation at MDRC, where she managed a comprehensive evaluation of the Achieving the Dream Initiative. An ardent advocate for college affordability, in 2014 she was appointed to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by Governor Jerry Brown and served as chair for two years until her resignation in May 2019. She has served on boards of the Institute of College Access and Success (TICAS), the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and, until her appointment to the Governor’s office, she was a WASC Senior College and University Commissioner. She currently serves on the advisory committee for the Higher Education Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California. A graduate of Occidental College, she earned her master’s degree from the School of Public Affairs at UCLA and holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Occidental College.
Lupita Cortez Alcalá is the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education (CDE). She has 20 years of experience in education, and is the first Latina to serve in this position. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission, and is a prominent voice in the statewide discussion on college affordability and financial aid reform.
Cortez Alcalá served more than 12 years at the CDE, where she was Deputy Superintendent of the Teaching and Learning Support Branch, and former Director of Government Affairs Division and Charter Schools. During her tenure, she oversaw the creation of the English Learner Division, revamped the migrant education program, initiated the Seal of Biliteracy to recognize students fluent in two or more languages, and oversaw the development of the English language arts/English language development framework and standards, which aim to improve language development for English learners. She also oversaw the implementation of the $500 million California Career Pathways Trust grants and the Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards and Frameworks, and is credited with initiating CDE's first California Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium.
In addition to having experience on a wide range of issues including early learning and care, high school career programs, career technical education, and higher education, she has worked closely with the State Board of Education and served as member and Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
Cortez Alcalá holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and a Master’s in Planning Administration and Social Policy from the Harvard University School of Education.
Marlene Garcia is the Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission where she oversees a budget of close to $3 billion and a team of 125. She is passionate about expanding educational opportunity by removing financial barriers to college success. She brings 25 years’ experience working on education policy issues for a variety of government and higher education institutions.
Prior to joining CSAC, Ms. Garcia served more than six years as a national leader in Apple Inc.’s Education Strategic Initiatives Group. Additionally, in her distinguished career she has served as Vice Chancellor of Government Relations for the California Community College System, Deputy State Policy Director for the California State University System, and as a Senior Policy Consultant in the Senate Education Committee. She also served as a senior higher education advisor to former Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Ms. Garcia has been nationally recognized for her work and was featured as one of 11 “Higher Education’s New Generation of Thinkers” in the 2005 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Also a Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in 2004, she is active in several organizations both nationally and in the Sacramento community where she resides with husband Phil Garcia and their three grown sons.
Ms. Garcia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate School.
Dr. Judy D. White serves as the 12th Riverside County Superintendent of Schools. In her role, Dr. White works with the county’s 23 school districts and the staff at the Riverside County Office of Education, to ensure high-quality education that invests in all students while developing and sustaining strong collaborative relationships with students, teachers, parents, and the community for student success.
Superintendent White was born in Los Angeles California, graduated with honors from Cajon High School in San Bernardino, and earned an academic scholarship to Occidental College where she obtained a degree in Sociology, received a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Counseling from California State University San Bernardino and a teaching credential from UC Irvine. She later attended UC Riverside for her administrative credential and Azusa Pacific University for her doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Judy White has worked as a classified educator, teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and deputy superintendent in San Bernardino City Unified School District and Superintendent of Moreno Valley Unified School District.
Dr. White is the proud wife of 40 years to Mr. Anthony Wayne White. She is the mother of four children, grandmother of nine, and a member of Living Way Christian Fellowship. She describes herself as a servant leader and has added value to every position that she has ever held by increasing graduation rates, empowering students through internships, facilitating a countywide adopt-a-school process and million deliberate acts of kindness campaign.
Dr. Christopher Nellum is the Senior Director of Higher Education Research and Policy at The Education Trust—West, a civil rights and education equity research and advocacy organization working on educational justice and to close attainment and opportunity gaps. In addition, Chris is a gubernatorial appointee to the Student-Centered Funding Formula (SCFF) Oversight Committee charged with reviewing and evaluating the implementation of the community college system’s new funding formula. He began his career on college campuses in student affairs and has been a higher education researcher and advocate for nearly a decade. Chris, a native of the Imperial Valley, defied the odds after experiencing rural poverty to become a first-generation college student and graduate. An alumnus of three public universities, he is committed to guaranteeing that the doors to an affordable, quality public education are wide open for the next generations of Californians, especially low-income students of color.
Ms. Barrye Bailey has a passion for supporting and meeting the needs of all students in Louisiana As a former financial aid administrator with over 15 years of experience, she’s worked at community, public and private Higher Ed institutions. She has transition over to the Louisiana Department of Education, where she is responsible for Financial Aid Planning and is a member of the Louisiana Financial Aid Working Group. For the 2018-2019 FAFSA cycle, Louisiana led the nation with the highest number of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). With an overall FAFSA completion rate of 77.1%, Louisiana increased its completion rate over the previous year by 25.9%.
Dr. Tireka Cobb currently serves as the Director of LOSFA Field Outreach Services and Project Director of the state Louisiana GEAR UP grant at the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance, a program of the Board of Regents. Dr. Cobb is responsible for effectively leading and supervising staff in the agency’s efforts to increase the number of limited-income students preparing and applying for, entering and succeeding in post-secondary education in Louisiana. Dr. Cobb has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Sociology, a Master of Business Administration, and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Educational Leadership and Research, specializing in Educational Technology. Dr. Cobb feels privileged to provide direct services and support to students and families across Louisiana. She is the proud mother of two daughters who are currently in college.
Graham Thomas attended and graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2008. He began his career in Washington, DC as a paid intern and interim staff assistant for U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn. He returned to Tennessee in 2009 and worked for 21st Mortgage in downtown Knoxville. In June of 2010 Graham began working with knoxAchieves, now tnAchieves. tnAchieves serves as the partnering organization for Governor Haslam’s TN Promise in 90 of the state’s 95 counties. tnAchieves exists to provide higher education opportunities for Tennessee high school students by providing last-dollar scholarships with mentor guidance. In its 11 year history, tnAchieves has assisted more than 320,000 students as they navigate the college going process and attempt to enroll in college.
Graham is currently the Deputy Director of Outreach for the non-profit. In his role he manages the 9,000 person volunteer mentor program as well as all outreach efforts and external partnerships. He, and a team of three outreach coordinators, recruit, train and manage the volunteer mentors working directly with TN Promise students to alleviate barriers associated with accessing higher education. Graham has been instrumental in the growth of the organization into 89 counties in Tennessee. He began as the second employee when the program was serving 493 students and 165 volunteers. Today the program serves more than 63,000 students annually with the support of more than 9,000 volunteers. Graham also assisted in the creation of each county’s local advisory council and continues to coordinate their efforts at the local level.
Graham has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN where he served as a Big to his Little, Danny. He also served on the University of Tennessee’s Young Alumni Council and previously served on the Young Professionals of Knoxville’s Board of Directors. In 2016 Graham participated in the inaugural class of the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute and in 2019 participated in the inaugural class of Leadership Tennessee NEXT. He currently serves on the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association’s PULSE Board and the University of Tennessee’s School of Communication’s Alumni Board of Directors. He was named the school’s 2019 Alumnus of the Year.
Michael served for six years as the Assistant Superintendent for Education Services for Val Verde USD. Under his leadership, VVUSD has been recognized by the Leadership Policy Institute (2019) as a California school district that is “Beating the Odds” for African American and Hispanic students and Education Trust West named Val Verde USD as, “tops among California districts Closing the Achievement Gap.” He participated as a member of the Riverside County contingent of educators summoned by the White House to a meeting at the U.S. Department of Education to create the Riverside County Education Collaborative and connect with the College Day of Opportunity.
Through his involvement with the Riverside County Education Collaborative, Michael has been instrumental in helping trail blaze effective FAFSA/California Dream Act Application completion strategies. Under Michael’s leadership, the Val Verde Unified School District has emphasized the importance of FAFSA completion by participating in the countywide FAFSA completion initiative “Race to Submit.” This work led to hosting the statewide kickoff event for “Race to Submit” in Val Verde for the California Student Aid Commission. Over the last three years, Val Verde USD has been recognized as having some of the highest FAFSA/CADAA completion rates in the state of California.
Michael R. McCormick is the superintendent of the Val Verde Unified School District. He is known for his passion for innovation and helping students acquire their higher education aspirations. Before becoming superintendent, Michael frequently gives presentations statewide, nationally, and internationally, where he offers audience members effective strategies and inspiration to create Future Ready organizations focused on STEAM and the 4Cs: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. The Val Verde Unified School District is known for its emphasis on technology integration and Michael has presented multiple keynotes at Google Symposiums focusing on the successful implementation of instructional technology in a K-12 school district.
Michael was named Administrator of the Year by the Riverside County Office of Education in 2012, and by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) in 2015. He was named Superintendent of the Year in 2018 for Riverside County by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and Instructional Leader of the Year in 2019 by the California Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
Michael regularly provides testimony on assessment and accountability items to the State Board of Education. In May of 2019, Mr. McCormick provided expert testimony as a panelist on the use of high school assessments to predict post-secondary student success hosted by State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond.
Michael is also active on numerous boards, including Google K12 Advisory Board Member, Operation New Hope Chairman of the Board, EDleader21 Advisory Board Member, University of California Riverside, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, University of Redlands, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, Brandman University, School of Education, Advisory Board Member, Science Technology Education Partnership (STEP) Board Member, and member of the Academic Assembly of the Western Regional Council for the College Board. He is a State Board member and former Region XIX President for the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). Michael is also a member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee for the California School Boards Association (CSBA).
Dr. Charles Newman has spent the last 22 years serving students in urban environments - Los Angeles Unified, Paramount Unified and currently as Asst. Superintendent of Ed. Services for Perris Unified High School District, in Perris, CA. After graduating from Compton Unified School District, class of 1990, Dr. Newman continued his education which has led him to serve and inspire other educators through multiple leadership roles, which include Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Pupil Services, Middle School Principal and also an Assistant Principal at all three levels. His career in education dates back to 1997 where he started in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a Language Arts teacher at Nimitz Middle School. He currently resides in Menifee, CA with his wife and two sons.
Growing up as a first-generation and low-income student, Julio C. Gonzalez knows firsthand the benefits of earning a college degree. At the age of seven, his family immigrated to the United States from La Huerta Jalisco, Mexico. From first grade through high school, Julio lived in the San Joaquin Valley, in a farming community. In high school he would spend his summers working in the agriculture fields, which was physically demanding labor and only paid $4.50 an hour. For Julio, a college degree meant a life of more job opportunities and better pay. Julio earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and his masters from the University of Redlands. Within the last 19 years he has worked for Moreno Valley College, the University of California, Riverside and Riverside City College, promoting the opportunities and benefits of earning a college degree. Six years ago, Julio was elected to be a Board Member for the Val Verde Unified School District. As a Board Member, Julio advocates for policy and programs that focus on providing students with the skills to be college and career ready.
Julio has devoted his career in promoting and encouraging students to go to college. He believes that every job in society is important and respectable. Through a college degree, students have more opportunities in life and in turn will benefit the entire community. Since all universities and colleges offer great programs, he encourages students to explore all the options and opportunities offered and find what is best for them and their family.
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Hello, my name is Dustin Adkins and I am fourth year at San Diego State University studying economics and sociology with an emphasis in public policy. I am a first-generation, low-income student from Grover Beach, California, but I have also lived in Orange County and Las Vegas. Throughout my time at SDSU, I have had the opportunity to serve as the Vice President of Finance for Rotaract SDSU, Food Pantry and Resources Coordinator for Associated Students, Student Support Commissioner for Associated Students, and currently have the opportunity to serve as the Vice President of Financial Affairs for Associated Students as well as chair of the Aztecs Rock Hunger Leadership Team. I have greatly enjoyed my time at San Diego State and feel as though I truly am fortunate to have been able to take advantage of as many opportunities as I have had. I have a passion for basic needs and ensuring we have equitable policies surrounding them which is what led me to my current position.
Outside of school, I have a 14-year-old cat named Junior who keeps my roommates and I company. When I have time, I also enjoy running and hiking - especially when I am feeling stressed. In San Diego, one of my favorite hikes is Cowles Mountain as it combines a nice hike with awesome views of the city around us. Beyond this, I love going to the beach and swimming in the ocean when the weather is warmer. As I wrap up my college career, I hope to reflect on the past four years as a time of resilience and growth.
Financial aid for me has been quite the journey since I first applied in the spring of 2016. As a first-generation low-income student, I rely completely on financial aid. I quite literally could not be a student at San Diego State if I had not received my grants and scholarships. I am fortunate in that I have received the maximum amount of the Pell-Grant as well as Cal Grant B since my freshman year. With an Estimated Family Contribution of $0, I was able to qualify for these grants as well as numerous scholarships over the years that have helped pay for my education. Navigating the whole process, however, has been extremely difficult. When you’re a first-generation student who knows their education depends on these grants, you have a level of stress that many of your peers cannot relate to. For many of my friends, their parents fill out their FAFSA for them, so they have no idea how the application works. The entire process takes hours, especially the first time you do it. Even after your first time, though, it is still difficult to go through because it is a matter of trying to get your parents to provide information that they don’t always want to give out or that can be difficult to obtain.
Though I have had various difficulties in navigating financial aid, one thing that greatly helped me in high school was the AVID program. I genuinely do not know how I would have applied for colleges and financial aid without all of the help AVID provided, so I know how fortunate I am to have been in that program.
Overall, financial aid has been a blessing in my life but extremely stressful at the same time. I am so thankful and fortunate to have it, as I could not cover the cost of school with work alone (and I have worked my entire time in college – sometimes two jobs at once). At the same time as amazing as it is to have, it is extremely stressful. To know that if something goes wrong with your financial aid, even if it is just an accident, that you could be forced to leave school is a stress I wish I wouldn’t have had to deal with. The anxiety of waiting to see your financial aid and the stress of its fluctuation when State University Grants appear or disappear for reasons you do not understand is not something I wish I had to go through. Financial aid is crucial for student success, but does not come without a cost to the students it is supporting.
My name is Christina Aguirre and I was born and raised here in the Coachella Valley. I will be turning 29 years old this month. I am a mother of 2 little girls and was just married this past November. I am going on my third year at our community college, College of the Desert (COD). I will be receiving an associate’s degree in General Business and have applied to receive a certificate in both Accounting and for a Human Resource Generalist, this next spring of 2020. My goal is to help people, so I would love to get a career with Desert Sands school district, Riverside County, or one of the cities in the Coachella Valley. I am currently a temporary Financial Aid Specialist at COD, I love it here. I work with great people and get to assist motivated students, so if I can make a career here, I would take on any opportunities.
I graduated high school in 2008 and was working a part-time job. Coming from a low income family I had to care for myself at the age of 16. I had to find my own transportation, help pay for food, and buy my own clothes. I was told about college in high school, but never did I fully understand that there was financial aid available for me, I always thought, “How can I afford college on top of everything else?” I bought my own car and was living check after check in order to make my payments on time and help with other expenses at home. A couple years after I graduated, I noticed many of my friends were going off to a 4 year institution, while I was still working a full-time job. It was important for me to someday continue my education. Around this same time, a friend of mine told me about a for-profit university and said it would be a good school and that I should call them. I was so excited to possibly get into school. When I spoke to one of the institution’s counselors, they made it sound so great, but little did I know I got trapped into some student loans that I am still 9 years later trying to pay off. From my understanding they were offering me financial aid that I wouldn’t have to pay back. The worse thing was, I signed a contract that stated if I miss any classes I would get kicked out of the institution and many of the credits I received at this institution were not even transferrable. This really made me lose hope in school.
I went back to working full time and although I had obtained great managerial work experience, I still had felt I was missing out on great education. After being with this employer for 7 years and after my second child was born, I decided to leave the company. A few close friends of mine were attending College of the Desert and I thought to myself, I better apply and see what they have to offer. One of their first steps in the enrollment process is to submit a FAFSA application. I immediately got a confirmation that I was eligible for a Federal Pell Grant. The first thing one of the financial aid specialist had said to me when I called the financial aid office is that I qualify for cash aid and this was money I didn’t have to pay back and all I had to do was submit a few documents for verification. When I received my first financial aid disbursement, I felt relief that I have never felt before. I honestly felt hope now that I could become anything I wanted to and I could now set an example for my children. I bought my very own laptop to do homework, hard-cover books for me to keep, and this assisted me with additional expenses I had at home, while I was attending school full-time.
Soon after, I learned that I was also eligible for a Cal Grant and things just became easier knowing I was blessed with this financial aid. Our financial aid office always sends us emails on when to reapply for the next academic school year and they reward students for submitting a FAFSA, at the campus with food. The school website provides videos and workshops to learn more about financial aid. I learned about student debt and have paid off a great amount of my loan. I felt with all this help, there was no reason to fall behind in school. I maintained a 4.0 GPA for a while and was on the Dean’s list, currently at a 3.8 GPA and very excited to graduate. They have really done a great job assuring me that no matter what, the help is there and they really care for my overall success. If only I could’ve known about this financial aid before I took out student loans, but I believe everyone lives and learns and all we could do now moving forward is spread the word and make those aware of the assistance available to them.
I was born in the city of Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco Mexico on October 27, 2002. I don’t
remember much about where I was born, my father had already been working in California and wanted to provide a better life for us, so he brought my family when I was 3. I have been attending school in California since pre-school. I decided that I wanted to go to college when I
was in 6th grade and by the end of middle school, I had decided to take the path of an engineer. Growing up I always helped my family and others out. I would see my father come home tired from work, and still bring out energy to spend family time with us. I’ve always wanted to help him, however, there where certain things that I couldn’t help with.
I want to be a mechanical engineer because my whole life I have been engaged in trying to help others out, I am very creative and I work best when I’m hands-on. I feel mechanical engineering is a career that will help me use my creativity and hands-on skills to build and invent things that will help others out. I also want to study finance to learn how to more appropriately manage money. If I learn how to more efficiently manage money or a business, I will have more money to invest towards helping others out.
I have strived to keep good grades early in my academic career. As I began to approach 15 years of age I grew excited because this meant I would now be able to apply for DACA,
which would finally fix my undocumentation issue. However, a week before I turned 15 DACA
was canceled. Without DACA everything was compromised, however, I began looking for other programs to help me afford college. I found out about the Blue and Gold program provided by UC colleges, and state university grants offered by Cal States. I have also applied to my local community college’s “first-year” program; if eligible this program grants us our first year there tuition-free. My first choice is to attend the University of Redlands, I’m interested in going here because I really love the campus and the community. They have a good combined engineering program where you enroll in the engineering program along with another major, then transfer to Columbia or Washington University. Second, on my list is San Francisco state, I love the city of San Francisco and I have family there so going to San Francisco State would allow me to visit them more often. I hope that my dream of going to college comes true and that I am not limited due to financial aid.
My search for financial aid has not been easy, due to being undocumented I cant apply to all of the scholarships or grants even though I have been enrolled in the California school system since preschool. The few scholarships that I do qualify for are limited to a few students and are highly competitive. My first choice would be to go to a 4-year university if I had the financial aid available. Recently I stumbled upon my local community colleges “first-year program” which if I am eligible, grants me the first year tuition-free. I also filled out The California Dream Act Application which sparked some hope towards having money for college, however, what would be of greater help is a job. Unfortunately, I can’t get a job to pay for my college because I would need a social security card to work and I am unable to apply for DACA.
María Fernanda Manjarrez is a senior and Cal Grant recipient at the University of Southern California double majoring in Political Science and Public Policy. She is President of Unruh Associates, a student-run organization whose mission is to advance civil political dialogue that
transcends partisan divisions. On campus, Maria is also a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law fraternity and a Norman Topping Student Aid Fund Scholar. Maria Fernanda has previously interned for Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, D-33 Congressman Ted W. Lieu, and has done research with the Skid Row Housing Trust. María is passionate about increased access to higher education and was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as a Commissioner on the California Student Aid Commission. After graduating from USC, she plans on attending law school and pursuing a career in public service.
I am a first generation, 3rd year business analytics major at UC Riverside. I grew up in Sacramento which is known to be one of the most diverse cities in California. When I made the decision to move to Riverside for college, I came to realize the demographics in business and where I stand as an individual in this university. Although there are many different cultures and ethnic representations on campus, it is rare to see another Hmong American, which made me realize the uniqueness I had amongst other Asians. Discovering my own identity has allowed me to realize my strengths and utilize it in my pursuit as a future business woman. I plan to continue my career in business entertainment and represent women and ethnic groups in this industry.
My journey with Financial Aid was like a roller coaster. I was unsure about how the process worked and did not understand the breakdown of what aid's and specific amount I was receiving. My first year in college, I visit the Financial Aid office at least once a month because I was not aware of a charge, late reimbursement, holds on my account, and so on. Going into college, I was granted a one-time $1000 Florin Historic Scholarship granted by my high school and a $4000 grant from Tzu Chi scholarship foundation. Though both grants were great support for my years in college, I still struggle financially with food, housing, and personal expenses.
I applied for Calfresh benefits and was granted $192/month, which helped reduce the stress of budgeting for food. However, I recently faced an issue with the renewal process for Calfresh this spring which caused me to not receive any benefits for nearly two months. This was due to the unidentifiable source of income that I received from my sister in my account. Although I had explained to my case worker that the amount I received from my sister was not related to any type of income or job, I was unable to receive any benefits unless I clarified the situation on a signed document. I consider myself fortunate to have friends and family who helped me research and utilize the various financial aid resources for college students like me. However, I do feel that there is more support to get students to complete the initial aid application process that minimal guidance is provided on the renewal process.
Price $250.00 per individual
Make checks payable and mail to:
Riverside County Office of Education Attn: College and Career Readiness PO Box 868 Riverside, CA 92502-0868 Renaissance Indian Wells
44-400 Indian Wells Lane
Indian Wells, CA 92210
Note: Hotel Room Block is reserved for $195 per night.
Please use this passkey to reserve:
https://book.passkey.com/go/RCOEFinancialLiteracy111319 Riverside County Office of Education
College and Career Readiness Unit
P: (951) 826-6315