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Students Finding Ways to Attend College for Free With Help From I Know I Can

I Know I Can staff member helping student

February 15, 2023 -- Columbus City Schools and I Know I Can workers teamed up to help prepare students and families in the District for the next step after high school in a FAFSA workshop. 

The event allowed students to get help filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA and other scholarships and grants. I Know I Can Assistant Director of College Advising Angela Eberhardt said the goal was for students and families to feel confident about post-secondary education.

“We can walk through different scholarship applications with our students, and they can actually submit those applications on the spot to earn funding for college. We even have parent presentations to go through the college enrollment process where they can find out what to expect when they get a financial award letter,” Eberhardt said. 

Student working at laptopMore than 67 families attended the Saturday morning workshop to get assistance. Senior at Columbus Alternative High School Huai Pi said waking up early on a Saturday was worth it because she’s getting the tools needed to succeed. 

“I wanted to get assistance for my essays and prompts and get them proofread before I submit them so I have a better chance for college,” Pi said. “I have already submitted some applications and have been accepted to some colleges including Ohio University and The Ohio State University’s Newark campus.”

Pi is planning to major in nursing during college. Despite being accepted to some colleges, it’s about finding the best financial opportunity for her. 

“I am trying to apply for as many scholarships as I can to help me pay for tuition costs. If it’s still not enough, then I’ll go to Columbus State for free and then transfer to another college,” Pi said.

She and several other seniors are considering or committing to Columbus State Community College because of the option to attend for free. The Columbus Promise is a pilot program that allows students graduating in 2022, 2023, and 2024 to attend CSCC free of charge. 

“We know financials are typically a barrier for these students to enroll in these post-secondary institutions,” Eberhardt said. 

Eberhardt said scholarships and other financial assistance are still available for students who wish to attend a college or university. In addition,I Know I Can College Advising Managers (CAM) and high school counselors continue to help students with tasks that can get them to their next step. CCS seniors interested in applying for financial aid, should contact the CAM at your high school.

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