Federal Aid Assistance for Sarasota County Students

SARASOTA, Fla. (January 25, 2018) — The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, a community collaboration targeting local college attainment rates, is offering free assistance to Sarasota County families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Trained community volunteers from CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, UnidosNow and United Way Suncoast, as well as financial aid officers from Ringling College of Art & Design, State College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and Keiser University, will offer guidance on completing the application. These FAFSA “Labs” are being offered to high school seniors at the following locations and dates:

• North Port High School— Tuesday, February 20, 3:00pm-8:00pm (Cafeteria)
6400 W Price Blvd., North Port, FL 34291
• Booker High School—Tuesday, March 6, 2:30pm-7:30pm (Media Center)
3201 N Orange Ave., Sarasota, FL 34234
• Sarasota High School—Tuesday, March 20, 3:00pm-8:00pm (Building 13, Room 101)
2155 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota, FL 34239

The FAFSA is required for any student applying for federal and state financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants, as well as for many scholarship programs. Through efforts made by the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership last year, 45.5% of Sarasota County high school seniors competed the FAFSA. This is a 9.1% change over the previous application year, equating to an estimated additional $513,180 in Pell Grants awarded to Sarasota County students, according to the Florida College Access Network, with the average Pell grant award in 2016-17 of $3,740, and the maximum of $5,820.

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is a broad community collaborative known as a “Local College Access Network.” Lead agencies in the partnership include: Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County Schools, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, UnidosNow, and United Way Suncoast. Additional support for these FAFSA assistance events comes from the Florida Philanthropic Network through its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI). CASI is an initiative of the Florida Philanthropic Network, made possible through funding from the Helios Education Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, to strengthen Local College Access Networks around the state.

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is dedicated to bringing together community partner organizations to build a competitive workforce for the region by supporting data-driven programs and collaborative actions which increase the number of college graduates in fields that are in high demand. “Millions of dollars in financial aid grants are left unclaimed every year because parents and students don’t complete the FAFSA,” noted Steve Cantees, Executive Director of High Schools for Sarasota County Schools. “Through the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, we are able to provide incredible support which will pay off in real college money for our students.”

Additional resources and event information can be found at www.t4tsarasota.org. For more information, please contact Mimi Cirbusova at mcirbusova@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4038.