College Ready Now

Austin Partners in Education is an organization dedicated to helping non-college ready students prepare for college.

Students are put into small study groups that focus on writing, English language arts or mathematics. This program currently focuses on Title 1 schools and students from under-resourced communities. As support for the program increases, more schools and communities can be helped.

APIE College Readiness Classroom Coaching:

Volunteers guide small groups of 2 – 4 students, determined by their academic needs, to prep for college entrance exams on a weekly basis. Volunteer Coaches are trained and study materials are provided. For more information visit www.austinpartners.org or contact Elizabeth McCormick at 512.637.0981. Visit www.austinpartners.org for additional volunteer opportunities with younger students.

Help students get to college by providing personal assistance filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Volunteers help students submit applications to secure the financial aid they may need at scheduled Financial Aid Saturdays events.

The Austin Chamber supports the efforts of local school districts to increase the number of financial aid application completions and provides assistance to help students/families complete other financial aid applications such as the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) and scholarship submissions. In addition, free income tax preparation services are provided by the Foundation Communities Community Tax Centers at select sites to help expedite the college financial aid application process.

Last spring, these joint efforts helped approximately 1,056 students/families. Business and civic volunteers made 6,000 phone calls to high school seniors and supported 24 Financial Aid Saturday events. This spring, 29 Financial Aid Saturday events took place over 29 school districts. We surpassed our goal is to increase FAFSA submissions by 7.5%; there was an 11% increase in submissions since 2009. Over 440 volunteers were needed to adequately inform and support the 1,217 students and families attending the events. Volunteer support is a crucial element to ensure the success of the Chamber's education initiative.

Volunteers can assist students and parents with filling out the FAFSA at Financial Aid Saturdays events and/or participate in Financial Aid Outreach Call Sessions to raise awareness of upcoming events. All Financial Aid Saturday event services are free and open to the public. Feel free to promote the event services to all students and families who may benefit. View the FAS calendar online or print it in English or Spanish.

Financial Aid Saturdays Volunteers

Assist students and parents with filling out the FAFSA during Financial Aid Saturdays scheduled February through March. All Financial Aid Saturday events are scheduled on Saturdays, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at Metro Austin high schools. Volunteer training required. Attend one two-hour financial aid training session provided by TG and the Austin Chamber. Trainings are scheduled from 11 am to 1 pm (lunch provided) at Metro Austin high schools. Commit to support at least one Financial Aid Saturday event. For information contact the Division of Talent and Education at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

All sessions take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We successfully completed 29 Financial Aid Saturdays. Volunteers helped over 1,200 families. New Financial Aid Saturdays Training sessions will resume January 2011. Join a mailing list to receive updates on Financial Aid Saturdays training sessions.

Financial Aid Outreach Call Session:

Assist college readiness members to maximize turnout by placing phone calls to students and parents/guardians to inform them of the importance of completing the FAFSA and the free, personal assistance available during the Financial Aid Saturdays. Encourage them to submit their FAFSA at the next event. Commit to support at least one evening three-hour call session at the Austin Chamber offices. Training provided on-site. Call sessions will take place in March 2011 at the Austin Chamber offices . For information contact the Division of Talent and Education at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses

Sponsor this effort to improve local talent, which in turn provides more qualified employees to choose from.

Counselors

Utilize and share the information provided by the Student Futures Project to create programs that will increase graduates chances of going to college.

Legislators

Allow the researchers to link data through the ERC. Give SFP access to FEDES information in order to track student employment in the government. Currently, graduates who enter the military or work for a government agency are unaccounted for and appear to be both unemployed and not enrolled in any post secondary institution.

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The Census Bureau reports that 40.5% of Austin area residents age 25 and over hold a bachelor’s degree, well over the national average of 29.1% in 2012.