Cash for College draws scores to Will C. Wood

By From page A9 | January 15, 2014

VACAVILLE — Dozens of people gathered Tuesday in Vacaville to learn about matters including passwords, how to unlock doors and the chance to win $1,000.

Maureen Mason-Muyco, financial aid lead specialist at Solano Community College, spoke at the Cash for College workshop that took place in the library at Will C. Wood High School about unlocking the doors to college funding, the passwords needed when people apply online and how students completing an exit survey are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship selected at random.

“There’s a lot of money,” she said of funds for college. “You never know if you’re going to qualify unless you apply.”

Students and parents attended the event. High school senior Tessa Moore, 17, credited her mother with helping get her to the workshop.

“My mom is really good about keeping up with these events,” Moore said.

Solano College student Jessica Quinonez, 20, said her parents learned about the program at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vacaville.

Quinonez, who plans to attend California State University, Sacramento and study nursing, said she’s undertaken financial aid applications on her own. It definitely helps to attend a workshop like the one at Will C. Wood, she said.

Karla Gonzalez, a college adviser at Will C. Wood, said information about financial aid is not always widely known.

“A lot of parents and our students are unaware,” she said.

Moreover, applying for funds can seem intimidating, Gonzalez said.

“Parents do get really overwhelmed, which is why we have these workshops,” she said.

Applications are not as vexing as they may seem and can be completed without complications, people attending the workshop were told.

Stacy Walker, at the event to help her daughter Jenna, agrees that applying can seem daunting but that advancing with the application should prove the undertaking is possible.

“It appears overwhelming,” she said. “I’m assuming it’s quite simple once you get in there.”

College adviser Gonzalez, who went to Sacramento City College before getting a degree in political science at the University of California, Berkeley, said she would have welcomed the Cash for College workshop as a high school student.

“I didn’t have anything like this,” she said. “I didn’t know where to go.”

Additional workshops are scheduled:

  • Thursday: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, 188 Bella Vista Road, Suite B, Vacaville.
  • Jan. 23: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Armijo High School, 824 Washington St., Fairfield.
  • Jan. 28: 6 to 8 p.m., Rodriguez High School, 5000 Red Top Road, Fairfield.
  • Jan. 29: 2 to 6 p.m., Rio Vista High Computer Lab, 410 S. Fourth St., Rio Vista.
  • Jan. 30: 6 to 8 p.m., Vacaville High School, 100 W. Monte Vista Ave., Vacaville.
  • Feb. 5: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Will C. Wood Library, 998 Marshall Road, Vacaville.
  • Feb. 6: 5:30 to 9 p.m., Fairfield High School, 205 E. Atlantic Ave., Fairfield.
  • Feb. 11: 6 to 8 p.m., Vanden High School, 2951 Markley Lane, Fairfield.
  • Feb. 12: 4 to 7:30 p.m., Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Building 500, Fairfield.
  • Feb. 13: 4 to 7:30 p.m., Solano Community College, 2001 N. Village Parkway, Vacaville.
  • Feb. 27: 6 to 8 p.m., Vacaville High School, 100 W. Monte Vista Ave., Vacaville.
  • March 1: 9 a.m. to noon, Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Student Services Building 400, Fairfield.

Times and locations are of workshops are subject to change. Participants should check the schedule at www.calgrants.org before attending.

Patti Colston, spokeswoman for the California Student Aid Commission in Rancho Cordova, said in a phone interview that free workshops mean parents and students shouldn’t face the cost of assisting them with financial aid.

“No one should be paying for someone to help fill out their applications,” she said. More than 800 workshops will take place across the state, Colston said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


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