Partnership to support financial aid outreach
Yakima Valley College and College Success Foundation will partner to strengthen their financial aid outreach in the Yakima Valley with a focus on reaching communities historically underrepresented in higher education.
Both organizations share a commitment to expanding access to higher education noted Oscar Verduzco, director of financial aid at YVC. That makes the partnership, which is supported with funding from the Washington State Legislature, a natural fit.
“Increasing knowledge of what financial aid is available and how to access it is particularly important in low-income communities and communities of color,” Verduzco said. “College Success Foundation has a long history of working with those communities and supporting students all the way from middle school through their transition into college.”
While YVC and CSF have both conducted financial aid outreach for a number of years, the additional funding provided by the state will allow those efforts to expand even further.
“There’s a significant amount of aid out there, and we want everyone here in the Yakima Valley to know how financial aid can make their dreams of college — and the opportunity for a better life — a reality that’s affordable,” Verduzco said.
Carolina Garza, CSF program director for the Yakima region, said a local financial aid specialist has been hired to help meet the demand for help.
“With the start of the school year, we have seen an increase in outreach from school partners inquiring about how we can work together to support more in-person financial aid events for families,” Garza said. “Our new financial aid specialist provides that expert who parents, students and school staff can talk to about what can sometimes be an intimidating form and process.”
Garza noted that in just the few weeks following the opening of the financial aid portal on October 1, the financial aid specialist connected with almost 300 students, parents and counselors to help with navigating the system. In particular, Garza noted that outreach efforts are focusing on the Lower Yakima Valley where families have less access to financial aid resources and assistance.
Schools interested in arranging financial aid outreach can contact Anjilica Gonzalez, financial aid specialist, to inquire about financial aid support by email or calling 509.245.6108. That support can include hosting events, providing one-on-one support with a students and counselors or attending already scheduled events as an additional support person.
Earlier this fall, YVC and CSF announced the addition of a College Success Coach based on the college’s Yakima Campus to CSF’s staff. The success coach will focus on supporting students as they transition from high school and pursue their post-secondary credential at YVC.
This fall and winter, YVC also is hosting several financial aid workshops on its Yakima and Grandview campuses as well as online.