Everyone Clicked Submit on Dream Act Applications at SFIHS Financial Aid Night
By Guest Blogger Kyle Halle-Erby, Span Program Coordinator, San Francisco International High School
On Tuesday January 26, over 40 San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) alumni from the class of 2015 returned to campus for our Span Financial Aid Night. These Span Scholars worked with our Span program coordinators, our head counselor and a volunteer tax expert to submit their FAFSA, or Dream Act Applications.
The FAFSA and Dream Act applications must be completed each year in order for college students to receive financial aid. Recent reporting from The New York Times and the Gates Foundation highlight the challenge that financial aid forms often pose to students like ours at SFIHS. Too often, students fail to complete college because they cannot overcome the administrative hurdles of applying for financial aid each year.
On top of the complicated form, many of our students have complex—and ever-changing—financial situations that further complicate the financial aid process. I’m thinking of the students who have become permanent residents or citizens in the last year. Or, the student whose parents live in Thailand and self-supports, but is not officially emancipated. Or, the many students who had new dependents arrive in the US or parents return to their home country during the last school year. Further, many of our students may feel uncomfortable discussing their economic situation with financial aid counselors at their colleges.
Fortunately, at the ACE Learning Center at SFIHS we are able to invite our students back on campus and support them through the financial aid process. Late into the evening, we shared our resolutions for the New Year, some frustration, and a significant amount of pizza as each student worked through their FAFSA or Dream Act.
I’m happy to report that by the time we locked up the building, everyone had clicked submit.