'FAFSA Fest' Helps Make College a Reality for Rochester Students

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A financial aid workshop changed the course of a Elexus Buntley's life in just 60 minutes several years ago.

“I think it's really important to acknowledge that I probably wouldn't have made it to college without this program," said Buntley, a first generation college student.

The Rochester College Access Network held the first of six "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" workshops. Known as "FAFSA Fest," they help parents and students with the college financial aid process.  Leadership Academy senior Reginald Harvey is grateful for them. 

“It's very helpful because I do believe that if I did not have this by myself I would have been lost, I wouldn't know what I would do," Harvey said.

Harvey joined dozens of Rochester city students  and their parents at the Phillis Wheatley Community Library to complete the necessary forms. Most deadlines fall in January or February, so school advisers tell us the sooner students complete the application the better. 

“It's in their neighborhood," said Renee Dann, FAFSA Fest. "They can get here. They can bring their parents and just sit down with somebody one on one”

“It's that simple someone to sit down and help me look over it and kind of explain the different things across and the process was probably one of the big ways I got to college in the first place,” Buntley said.

And although hundreds of hopeful teenagers plan to go into college undecided this fall just like Harvey, there is one thing that he does know for sure.

“As a minority I feel that we should take every chance we get and to doing what we need to do if it means going to college and getting a good job I think we should take that chance,” Harvey said.

The next FASFA Fest will take place Sunday January 29 at East High College.

For more information on the application process or future events, visit this website.

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