Westchester County partners with Latino U to help students go to college
Westchester County is partnering with Latino U College Access to help first-generation Hispanic students navigate the complex process of applying for state and federal financial aid for college. The effort is designed to help Hispanic students and their families overcome language and financial barriers to attending college.
“We are proud to partner with Latino U on these vital programs for first-generation Hispanic students,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “For every family, the first to go to college is an achievement that has a tremendous impact for future generations to come. With this effort, we are helping students realize the dream of graduating from college.”
Latino U College Access offers several programs, paired with Spanish-language Community Information Sessions, that support Hispanic students and their families who are preparing to go to college, including:
- Essay Writing Boot Camp, which guides students through the process of writing college essays;
- SAT/ACT preparation classes;
- College Coaching and Mentoring, where volunteers work one-on-one to support students with college planning and the application process; and,
- FAFSA First!, where bilingual volunteers help students complete financial aid applications, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the New York Tuition Assistance Program (NY TAP) application, to help pay for college.
- January 17, 2016, 1 p.m. at the White Plains Public Library (Open to all)
- February 2, 2016, 7 p.m. at Ossining High School (For OHS students only)
- February 4, 2016, 7 p.m. at White Plains High School (For WPHS students only)
- February 9, 2016, 7 p.m. at Sleepy Hollow High School (For SHHS students only)
- February 27, 2016, 10 a.m. at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry (Open to all)
Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, founder of Latino U College Access, said failing to complete a FAFSA is a fundamental barrier to attaining a college degree. Latino youth, many of whom are first in their family to go to college, have no help completing financial aid forms and lack financial literacy and information about applying for financial aid.
"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," Buontempo said.
Provided the resources to apply for federal and state financial aid, Hispanic first-generation students will be able to better afford to complete a full-time four-year college program.
In January 2015, Astorino announced a three-year contract with Latino U College Access as part of the Westchester County Youth Bureau's Invest-In-Kids program.
Latino U College Access projects reaching 2,000 families with FAFSA First! over the next three years. 10,086 Hispanic students, including a significant first-generation population, attend school in the four participating school districts.