When Anna Neuman was applying to college, there weren’t a lot of people around to help her…The only thing her parents told her was that she would have to pay for it herself. “It was really stressful,” Neuman recalls. “I was like: ‘What is going on?’ None of my friends knew anything — their parents didn’t go. It was just us Googling stuff.” Neuman’s experience isn’t isolated: Nearly 1 in 4 high-achieving, low-income students apply to college completely on their own…The lack of support didn’t hold Neuman back…But low-income, high-achieving students like Neuman make up just 3 percent of enrollment at elite colleges, the report says. Not having anyone to guide them through the application process is just one of the many reasons there aren’t more of them….Keep in mind: The average counselor helps nearly 500 students…”
This story about Anna is very similar to the stories of the students we fund at Future Sacramento – except our students are supported with many of the supportive resources described in this article. Efren entered college Fall 2016, this is how he described his journey to college:
When I became a Future Sacramento scholar, I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know if I was going to pull through. It hasn’t been real easy to get here because I have had to seek a lot of help and advice along the way, while also trying to pretend like I had everything figured out. You would think that you would go to your family for those questions since they’re more personal but I have had to go to many different people who have gone through this college process. I am grateful for all of those people who have advised me, including Future Sacramento, and for making it possible for me to be the first in my family to enter college. I expected this out of myself since the day I can remember. To my family it has been like a dream come true. It is such an emotional event for them because they are finally seeing one of their children going onto higher education when they couldn’t finish middle school. This scholarship was what put the fuel to my college opportunity and it was there to give me the motivation to keep on pushing throughout high school. The timing of awarding this scholarship couldn’t have been more perfect and I want to thank you all for giving me the support I need to enter college.
The services we provide that are recommended in this article include:
- Offer guidance on the process – Our students benefit from staff, volunteers and peers in navigating the application and enrollment process.
- Financial aid transparency – Our support reduces the esoteric barriers of the financial aid process. We support our students in:
- comparing costs and aid at colleges
- understanding the calculation of net costs
- understanding the difference between “gift” aid and loan aid and what this means for all years in college
- budgeting for the full cost of college – not only tuition
- renewing funding – including our scholarship for up to five years
- Seeing yourself on campus – through our peer network, our students see students like them going to college and succeed.
- College visits – Many of our students have the opportunity to visit college campuses through their school and enrichment programs. We do visit Sac State as a program annually for a full day seminar and tour.