By Jason KUROSU
Last year, the CV Youth Town Council, in cooperation with the Fire House, held its first college fair. On Tuesday night, with three weeks left until students must choose a college, the Fire House hosted a similar event focusing on the financial aspects and issues of going to college. Held in the courtyard of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church, children as young as eighth grade and their parents heard advice on choosing the right college and how to attend without spending a fortune.
Justin Hager, Communications director for Assemblyman Mike Gatto, discussed the importance of financial literacy, as well as selecting a school that fits the student.
“It’s better for you to get As and Bs at a lower ranked school than to fail and be miserable at a prestigious, well known school,” advised Hager.
The prospective college-bound were encouraged to choose schools that fit them on a variety of levels, from preferred field of study to campus life to geography.
Other organizations were on hand to answer questions about college life and provide tips on surviving the four (or five) year journey with wallet intact.
Pasadena City College Financial Aid Interviewer Liz Garcia was available at the PCC booth to answer questions about applying for a FAFSA and scholarships.
Montrose Travel let parents know they could help with those arduous trips to schools far away on the East
Coast or wherever their student may be.
Bed, Bath & Beyond had catalogs for typical dorm room furnishings as well as information on their Shop Here, Pick Up There service, which allows customers to shop for items at the Bed, Bath & Beyond store nearest home and then have those items available for pickup at the Bed, Bath & Beyond nearest their college campus.
Sharon Weisman of the Glendale Education Social Justice Advocates (GESJA) encouraged students to explore the Working Colleges Consortium, a set of seven schools focused on skills-based education.
Hager’s presentation included steps students and parents may take to make the college experience more affordable.
“Be aware of loans, not afraid of them,” said Hager. “Loans are not your enemy – excessive loans are.”
Hager also recommended that students not work too much to pay off loans and especially not to pay entirely for their own tuition.
“There’s nothing wrong with having a job while going to school, but try to keep it to around 20 hours a week max,” he advised.
Hager encouraged students to explore work studies, scholarships, living off campus and private schools where students can receive financial aid through endowment programs.
Lastly, Hager, who formerly worked in college admissions at UC Hastings College of the Law, told the students, “Please, dear God, proofread your admissions essays.”