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First-Generation college students overcome financial challenges

Local News

College application time is normally a stressful period for the majority of families but it can be even more challenging for prospective first-generation college students. For Nivializ Ortiz, receiving the proper guidance and FAFSA support made attending her dream school a reality.

“If I didn’t get the scholarship, I wouldn’t of come here” said Ortiz when referring about her attending St. John Fisher College.

Attending college is a lot more difficult than just getting in. For first-generation college students such as Ortiz, financial hardships force families to be more creative in coming up with the necessary funds.

FAFSA was one of the routes that helped Ortiz. A former high school teach told her to apply for three scholarship a week and eventually, she got in touch with another former first-generation student, Jose Ramos. Ramos is an admission counselor at St. John Fisher College and with him facing a similar background to Nivializ, he was able to guide her in the right direction.

“I met him a little bit before,” says Ortiz, “I entered the program because I already knew him, he definitely helped me a lot. I asked a lot of questions about scholarships and Fisher because Fisher was definitely my first choice.”
For many prospective college students, admissions offices can be very helpful in securing the funds needed to attend college.”

“If you’re aware that there’s FAFSA and financial aid and you get that in, schools are going to work with you for other opportunities, not only from the government but the scholarships that they might have to provide you as well” says Ramos.

Ortiz is now starting her second semester at St. John Fisher College thanks to some help from FAFSA and the school’s college bound program.

If you’re interested in finding out more information regarding FAFSA, you can attend the 2nd to last FAFSA Fest of the school year Tuesday evening at the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center.

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