Walker County students to receive help in securing student aid

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/5/17

Students in Walker County schools will soon have more help to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Sara Bright, a 2006 graduate of Cordova High School, will be helping students in the county apply for the FAFSA and achieve their dream of going to college.

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Walker County students to receive help in securing student aid

Posted

Students in Walker County schools will soon have more help to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Sara Bright, a 2006 graduate of Cordova High School, will be helping students in the county apply for the FAFSA and achieve their dream of going to college. Bright works as the college access and success program coordinator for Alabama Possible, a nonprofit that helps Alabamians remove barriers to achieving professional goals.

“I’ve always had a passion for working with educators, and I’m really passionate about helping students gain access to college,” Bright said. “Being from a small town, people always talk about how you can go to college, but the steps aren’t exactly clear as to how that happens.”

By applying for a FAFSA, students can secure grants and loans to help them attend college. The application process is ongoing, and Bright says students should have their FAFSA application submitted by March 1. She said the earlier students apply, the better chance they have of securing loans and grants.

Bright will be working with Bevill State Community College students — who are Walker College Foundation (WCF) scholars — to train them on mentoring high school students.

The WCF students will then visit schools in Walker County to work with high school seniors to help them complete their FAFSA application.

The mentorship/workshop process is part of Cash For College, a statewide campaign to encourage applying for the FAFSA.

“We’ll work with students and families to help them complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s completely free, and we do this because nine out of 10 kids who complete the financial aid application go to school,” Bright said. “Also, because of the work we’ve been doing, Alabama is ranked ninth most improved for FAFSA completion in 2016-17.”

Bright said she believes it will be particularly beneficial for high school students to get advice from college students with the Walker College Foundation.

“It’s someone who has taken that step, and they’re in college. They can really give the best advice to these high school students that are looking to move forward,” she said.

WCF students and Bright will begin visiting schools in Walker County early next year.

“This is an opportunity for me to work in my hometown and start from the bottom up to make Walker County a bigger and better place,” Bright said.

According to the Cash for College website, www.cashforcollegealabama.org, Alabama students who apply for the FAFSA can receive Pell Grants of nearly $6,000 per academic year — which do not have to be repaid.

Other loans, grants and work-study opportunities can be awarded through FAFSA.

For more information about the FAFSA, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Bright said she can also be reached by email about her work with Alabama Possible at sbright@alabamapossible.org.