Cash for College Check

Shelley Kaler (left) and Amy Smith (right) receive a check for $1000 Cash for College Celebration sponsored by Alabama Possible last Thursday at Trenholm State Community College. Photo submitted

Amy Smith, College and Career Counselor at Pell City High School (PCHS) was awarded a $1,000 grant at the Cash for College Celebration sponsored by Alabama Possible last Thursday at Trenholm State Community College.

Under the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) campaign held at PCHS this past year, the seniors completed over 170 FAFSA applications.

“This was one of my main goals for seniors this past year,” Smith said. “This was an extremely time consuming process but one that is so important for students and their families.”

“Research shows us that 9 out of 10 students that complete the FAFSA process actually enrolls and attends college. My primary goal is to eliminate barriers for college and career readiness for my students,” Smith states. “Having the FAFSA completed is such a huge part in this effort. The students can use the money to attend technical school, community college, or a four-year college. This past year the full amount for a Pell Grant was $6,195. It breaks to my heart to see schools that have such a high free and reduced lunch rate not take advantage of this opportunity to help students. This is the case with many of the schools in our area. Placing priority on FAFSA completion results in a more trained, educated, and skilled workforce and helps to reduce generational poverty.”

Smith credits Alabama Possible and their partnership for making campaigns such as this successful. The $1,000 grant will be used to raise the FAFSA completion rate even higher next year.

The FAFSA is a form students and parents fill out to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds for college students. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, which provides more than $150 billion in student aid each year.

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