First ‘Trusted Centers’ Sign Up for Long Beach FAFSA Initiative

First ‘Trusted Centers’ Sign Up for Long Beach FAFSA Initiative

Hispanic Students to Get Assistance Filing Financial Aid Form


LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — On a sunny morning, college access and community leaders joined Mayor Bob Foster for the signing of an oversized pledge to help Hispanic students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at “trusted centers” in the community. The pledge-signing ceremony was held at Centro CHA, a leading Hispanic community association in downtown Long Beach, on Jan. 14.

(Photo: )

The over-sized pledge was read by Centro CHA participant Francesco Martinez, a 21-year-old student at Long Beach Community College, as Centro CHA Executive Director Jessica Quintana, school officials, Mayor Foster and Federal Student Aid representatives looked on. The pledge-signing was designed to raise awareness about the “trusted centers” phase of the Long Beach FAFSA Initiative. The campaign, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid, is intended to recruit 3,000 Long Beach students to complete their FAFSA online by March 2.

“These are the first of what we expect to be trusted centers throughout Long Beach — places where students and their families feel safe to share their financial information needed on the application,” said Quintana, executive director of one of the initial seven centers that have pledged to provide FAFSA completion support to students and their families.

“This is just the beginning. We want every community-based organization that serves eligible students to join this effort,” said Quintana.

Fred Stennis, the lead for the Federal Student Aid Underrepresented Pilot program, said the goal is to support what communities are doing “on the ground” already. “Federal Student Aid wants to leverage relationships and mobilize the community, creating a ‘multiplier’ effect that is passed from community-based organizations to their constituents and their families in Long Beach.”

Stennis and Quintana joined other keynote speakers at the ceremony, including Robert Tagorda, Assistant to the Superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District; Calvin Thomas, Federal Student Aid Division Outreach lead; and Eloy Oakley, President of Long Beach City College.

“Last year, 90 percent of all our high school students started the FAFSA, but only about 35 to 40 percent of them completed it,” said Tagorda. “Now, that we will have this kind of hands-on assistance at trusted centers, we believe we will have a much higher completion rate this year.”

FAFSA “trusted centers” will feature a prominently displayed Long Beach FAFSA Initiative decal, posters and postcards. In addition, each center will have a ready supply of Federal Student Aid materials to support their outreach efforts.

“If our students are trained with knowledge and skills that are marketable, they will be much better off in this economic environment. We are delighted to have this program in Long Beach,” said Mayor Foster.

Elder Eddie Pierson from Academic UpRise called the program “long overdue.”

The FAFSA Latino Initiative started Nov. 20 with a summit gathering of all Long Beach college access directors, community leaders and school district officials.

The initial trusted centers providing FAFSA completion support include: Centro CHA, 727 Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA; Avalon High School, 200 Falls Canyon Road, Avalon, CA; Long Beach City College, 4901 East Carson Street, Long Beach, CA; Jordan High School Career Center, 6500 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA; Polytechnic High School, 1600 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA; Second Samoan UCC, 655 Cedar Avenue, Long Beach, CA; and Academic UpRise, Inc., 2501 Cherry Avenue, Signal Hill, CA.

For more about Federal Student Aid and the FAFSA, visit

{Additional photos and captions are available upon request.}

SOURCE Federal Student Aid

First ‘Trusted Centers’ Sign Up for Long Beach FAFSA Initiative