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Mercy College Helping First-Generation Students Apply For Financial Aid

Latino U College Access is pairing with Mercy College to present a "FAFSA First!" program, to assist students with the financial aid process. Shown here is a 2015 FAFSA Boot Camp at Sleepy Hollow High School by Latino U.
Latino U College Access is pairing with Mercy College to present a "FAFSA First!" program, to assist students with the financial aid process. Shown here is a 2015 FAFSA Boot Camp at Sleepy Hollow High School by Latino U. Photo Credit: Latino U College Access Facebook page

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. -- Mercy College and Latino U College Access have joined together for "FAFSA First!" -- a program aimed at helping first-generation Hispanic students navigate the complex process of applying for state and federal financial aid, on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Led by Latino U College Access, high school seniors and parents will receive free assistance to complete their financial aid applications. FAFSA First! is a Latino U program where bilingual volunteers help students complete financial aid applications, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and the New York Tuition Assistance Program application.

"Failing to complete a FAFSA is a fundamental barrier to attaining a college degree," said Latino U College Access Founder Shirley Acevedo Buontempo. "Students who complete the FAFSA could be eligible for Pell grants of up to $5,775 per year and subsidized student loans with no interest while they are enrolled in college. Students who complete the NY TAP form and attend college in New York could be eligible to receive up to $5,165 per year of state aid, in addition to their federal grants."

Mercy College President Tim Hall said, "Research indicates that students who apply for federal and state financial aid will be able to better afford to complete college. I know all too well how confusing those applications can be and we want to do all we can to help. We want to help remove barriers."

Buontempo added, "Latino youth, many of whom are first in their family to go to college, have no help completing financial aid forms. Through our commitment, we are helping to improve the educational attainment of Hispanic youth in Westchester County by supporting their college dreams so that they may fulfill their academic potential and ensure the success of future generations."

In October, FAFSA First! was recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics for making a meaningful and quantifiable contribution to improve educational outcomes for Latinos by improving financial aid access.

The session will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Victory Hall, at Mercy College, in Dobbs Ferry.

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