College Access Fairfax (Falls Church, VA)

Name

  • Name:Judith Wilson

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:College Access Fairfax
  • Address:8115 Gatehouse Road
    suite 1512
    Falls Church, VA 22042
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:703-250-8764
  • Main fax:703-250-0824

Organization Web

User Email

Location

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General

  • Mission:
  • To ensure that Fairfax County students who are eligible to attend post-secondary institutions and have financial need and/or language barriers do not miss out on opportunities for assistance.

  • Overview:
  • A primary reason students do not continue their education beyond high school is that they cannot pay for it. Students living in poverty, or who are not native English speakers, are the most likely to miss the opportunity to apply for financial aid. They may not be aware that they qualify, or they may not have English speakers at home who can help them complete the FAFSA applications. Most students who receive free or reduced meals qualify for some level of Pell grant. Fairfax County has a growing ESOL enrollment, projected at 17.1 % of students this school year. Eligibility for free and reduced-price meals (a poverty measure) is expected to average 28.2%. Our target high schools all have higher percentages of ESOL enrollment and free and reduced-price meals.

    Our programs help students and parents prepare for college expenses, apply for aid, and interpret awards:
    • Seminars - CSS, FAFSA Line-by-line, Scholarship 101 - for 11th and 12th graders and parents;
    • Financial Aid Champions - financial aid experts on-site, providing one-on-one FAFSA completion help at high-risk high schools;
    • FAFSA Completion Workshops - hands-on FAFSA completion events held in the evening and on Saturdays for parents and students;
    • Early Financial Planning - financial education workshops for middle school parents to help identify options for funding college, understanding savings options, and helping them to plan; and
    • Project Discovery - keeping at-risk 9th - 12th graders in schools and preparing for college.

    Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provide our office space in their Falls Church headquarters and, through a memorandum of understanding, allow us access to their facilities for our programs. They do not provide funding.

    We estimate each of our three Financial Aid Champion will assist 100 individuals in completing their FAFSAs and help them collectively realize as much as $300,000 in Pell grants (average $3,000 per award). Financial Aid Champions serve in FCPS high schools with a large number of students who are at risk of not pursuing higher education because of poverty or limited English proficiency. They additionally support our FAFSA Workshops held in January, February and March. Most of their time is spent helping students and parents at the high school campuses during the school day. Champions all have college degrees and most have Master's degrees; they have experience in the school system and are committed to college access. They receive no benefits, serve part-time for about six months, and are paid $20-$25 per hour. This year Champions will serve nine (9) schools. Our goal is to add at least one bilingual Champion in 2016 who can focus on outreach to students and parents with limited English proficiency.

  • History:
  • We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, operating since 2004 to make college accessible for Fairfax County students who are qualified to attend but are at risk of missing out due to financial and language barriers.

    Rather than providing scholarships for a few, we provide expert help for all students and their parents to apply for need-based grants and awards for college. Our volunteers and part time Financial Aid Champions help students and parents complete the Free Access for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application online and help them interpret the results. Student and parent English language learners find it exceedingly difficult without guidance. Most find the FAFSA onerous and difficult to complete.

    Last year, with our expert FAFSA help, more than 1,500 students and parents realized many thousands of dollars in Pell and other need-based grants that might otherwise have been left on the table. Statewide, only 48% of economically disadvantaged Virginia students go to college. It is our goal to improve the statistic in Fairfax County.

  • Year established:2004
  • Endowment:Unknown

Staff

  • Executive / Trustee board size:7
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:5

Registration

  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • Tax ID: