Comadres with High School Seniors – Get Your Cash for College!

Each year, thousands of qualified high school seniors do not apply to college because they fear the financial barriers are too great and lack knowledge about available financial aid options. In 2014, the Education Trust-West revealed in their “California Financial Aid Tracker” that only about 60-percent of California’s public high school seniors are completing their financial aid applications – leaving millions of dollars in financial aid untapped each year.

For many families, completing the financial aid application process can be daunting. The numerous financial aid requirements, including forms to be completed, can be confusing – particularly for students who would be the first in their families to go to college.

Cash for College is here to help! We were founded fourteen years ago with a mission to help low-income, first-generation college-goers apply for financial aid to reach their college dreams. We believe that no student should give up on going to college for financial reasons alone! The Cash for College program helps thousands of students each year receive tens of millions of dollars in “gift” aid, which never has to be repaid.

Starting the first week in January, Cash for College will be hosting more than 150 FREE financial aid completion workshops throughout the Los Angeles region leading up to the March 2nd financial aid filing deadline.

At these free workshops, students and families will learn about the different types of financial aid available to them, and they will receive assistance from trained volunteers to complete their applications at computer labs onsite, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form.

Assistance is available to students regardless of their immigration status. We will also have experts on hand to help undocumented students apply for aid through the California Dream Act program.

Students will also have the opportunity to enter to win additional $1,000 scholarships from Cash for College.

For a list of free workshops near you, please visit

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Paola Santana

Paola Santana

Paola Santana is responsible for leading the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s college access and success portfolio. She is responsible for the implementation of student programming, higher education policy advocacy, and systems change initiatives. Previously, she developed business-education partnerships through the Chamber’s Pillar initiative, and worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. In that role, she advised board members on complex policy issues, and worked with educators, administrators, students, and families to improve educational opportunities in the country’s second largest school district. Paola is a proud graduate of the Riordan Leadership Institute, and currently chairs the board of Gabriella Charter Schools. Paola earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and is an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she earned a master’s degree in Higher Education.

Paola Santana

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