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Wannabe College Students: Now Is The Time To Apply For Financial Aid

Louisa Jonas
Texas Public Radio

The superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District wants students to know there's financial help that will enable them to go to a four-year university.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez is urging students to fill out the Free Application For Federal Student Aid form, or FAFSA, for colleges as soon as possible.

SAISD has a goal of having 80 percent of its students attend college in the next five years. Martinez says the district has been preparing a group of several hundred promising students for college since they were in middle school.

"So, we’ve been taking them on different college tours. Many of the current seniors are participating in summer camps in different universities not only in the state of Texas, but across the country. They were writing sample essays," he says.

Martinez says he thinks one of the biggest reasons his students go to community college is they can’t afford four-year schools.

"They don’t want to go into debt. And, frankly, I can see that’s the right decision for many students, but we also have many universities including private colleges that offer full tuition covered, even scholarships for room and board, and many times our students don’t realize that," Martinez says.

Martinez says Harvard, Stanford and Yale charge zero tuition if your family is below a certain income level. He says there are schools on the East Coast that have very generous scholarship packages but students need to fill out the FAFSA financial aid form.

FAFSA has no deadline, but the earlier students apply, the better chance they get at having help.