This past month the Promise Corps team of coaches and supervisors came together to host two virtual pop-up FAFSA events for the entire school district of Philadelphia. Since the FAFSA application opened October 2nd, helping students and parents complete the application as soon as possible has been a main priority for Promise Corps. Like many people are experiencing with a multitude of tasks this year, helping with the FAFSA application in a completely virtual space comes with a new set of obstacles.
The first event took place on October 7th, and the second on October 29th. Several students and parents from different schools were in attendance. The event was hosted on Zoom and coaches were split into break-out rooms with small groups of parents and students to go through the application step by step. For anyone that has completed the FAFSA application before, they know how tedious, overwhelming, and confusing it can be.
When asked what the hardest part of the application is, one senior at School of the Future said, “getting my parents’ information and having them fill out their part of the form.”
Another student expressed gratitude for the virtual FAFSA events because they found it easier to get their parents’ information: “It helps them better understand why their personal information is required for completion, and they are more willing to participate”.
One mother joined the first event stressed out and worried because she knew the application was important, but not much else about it. By the end of the night she had completed the application for her son and I was lucky enough to hear her profusely thanking Z, Tameka, and Marylissa for hosting such an important event: “There should be a survey or something we can fill out so people can know how helpful this was!”
Even though we had a small turn-out, I am happy to know that we helped a handful of people complete the application and therefore get a step closer to their goal of attending college!
By Emma Cottone, College and Career Coach at School of the Future