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LA Unified seniors get reprieve on financial aid applications

Vanessa Romo | October 27, 2014

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application formLA Unified high school seniors counting on grant money to attend state colleges and universities got a reprieve today as the district announced a month-long extension for when student grade information needs to be verified for financial aid.

Merit-based Cal Grants require that the school district verify a student’s grade point average (GPA), and the deadline for doing so has been pushed back to Nov. 30 from Nov. 1.

The competitive awards are for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who are from low- and middle-income families. The grants can be applied toward tuition at any CSU or UC campus, and they cover fees up to $5,472 and $12,192 respectively. Students applying to private colleges are also eligible for rewards up to $9,084 toward tuition and fees while those attending most other career colleges can get up to $4,000.

And there may be another silver lining for the district’s most go-getter students applying for early admission who have been let down by LA Unified’s busted student management system: Some, if not all UC’s, don’t offer an early admissions window.

“UCLA doesn’t have an early action or early decision program, and students are not required to submit a transcript at the point of application,” Gary Clark, the university’s undergraduate admissions director, told LA School Report.

Furthermore, Steve Montiel, media relations director of the UC system, says students self-report their GPA when applying to any of the 10 schools.

“It isn’t until the end of the year that they submit their final transcripts,” he said.

In the meantime, Superintendent Ramon Cortines is tackling the issue on several fronts. He’s reached out to the heads of the CSU and UC system informing them of LA Unified’s MiSiS problems and has re-hired about 25 retired counselors and administrators to work alongside high school counselors and administrators scrambling to update individual transcript records.

One district employee who’s been assigned to field parent calls says students may be panicked, but she’s not hearing from them. Marilu Pigliapoco, Administrator of Parents and Community Engagement in the North district, told LA School Report she’s ready to answer any questions.

“I’m here to tell parents that an extension on the Cal Grants has been given and tell them that things are in place to help the child. But so far, I haven’t gotten a single phone call,” Pigliapoco said, before wondering aloud if it was due to the fact that the district issued the wrong phone number in its press release about the extra help.


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