By Julissa Garcia-Corona

“Not only has my scholarship made me proud of my achievements, but it has made me excited for my future studying nursing at UC Irvine. Paying for college was going to be a struggle for my family, a burden a lot of students are dealing with, and you have made my education a lot more affordable for my family.” – Anne

Scholarship Alert! Deadlines are fast approaching.  Even if you aren’t a student, you may know someone who is currently in college, or in the process of applying.  Scholarship opportunities are unprecedented in Santa Barbara County and you don’t want to leave money for college on the table.  Here is a quick overview of the types of aid available and resources for more information. Many people and organizations want to help you get a good education.

Four General Sources of Student Financial Aid:

Federal State Aid (FAFSA) Free Application for Federal Student Aid

  • Federal Student Aid programs, including grants and loans.
  • The FAFSA is available January 1 each year. The California priority deadline to file the FAFSA form is March 2. However, check with your school’s financial aid office to verify your school’s individual deadline for this form (it may be earlier than March 2).   We believe this application is a “must” for all students, to learn if resources are available to them.

California State Aid 

  • Need-based grants are available to California residents attending college in the state.
  • Check your eligibility and apply for these Cal Grants by using the Cal Grant GPA Verification form, available January 1 with a deadline of March 2.
  • If you are an AB540 student, complete the California Dream Act Application, available January 1 with a deadline of March 2. For more information, visit the website:  Scholarship opportunities for AB540 students have grown tremendously in our local region in the last few years.

Institutional Aid

  • Most colleges raise their own money to give merit scholarships and need-based grants to their students each year. Check with your college’s financial aid office.

Outside Agency Aid 

  • There are numerous other private scholarships available for students attending college, including the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara and Ventura County Community Foundation.

Two Local Resources: 

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara inspires, encourages, and supports Santa Barbara County students in their pursuit of college, graduate, and vocational school education through financial aid advising and the granting of scholarships.

Student Programs with SFSB:

Upcoming Deadlines for Undergraduate, Vocational, and Technical School Scholarships

  • In 2013, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara awards totaled $8.1 million to 2,600 Santa Barbara County students.
  • During its lifetime, the Scholarship Foundation has made more than 34,500 awards totaling $80 million.
  • The Scholarship Foundation reaches out to 35,000 County students and parents each year with financial aid advising and presentations at school and community sites.

In Ventura, the Ventura County Community Foundation plays a similar role in providing financial aid and granting of scholarships to students who grew up in Ventura County.  The Community Foundation has awarded more than $7 million in scholarships to deserving Ventura County students and is the local leader in granting financial aid to promising scholars.

Information on VCCF scholarship awards can be found at: VCCF Scholarship Program

Additional Recommended Websites: 

Julissa Garcia-Corona is a Program Manager for the Orfalea Foundation REACH program.

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About Transition to Adulthood

REACH is an experiential education program for motivated high school students from California’s Santa Barbara County that prepares them to take control of their future. REACH (which stands for Resilience, Education, Adventure, Community and Health) works to prepare students for lives of purposeful action, continuous learning, and the courageous pursuit of opportunity. READ MORE

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