Following a record-setting fall semester financial aid distribution, Fresno State disseminated another $94.5 million in January from various sources for the spring semester.

Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for student affairs and Enrollment Management, announced the totals as part of National Financial Aid Awareness Month that includes a series of financial aid workshops with the next event Feb. 24 in Pinedale.

The disbursement brings the total for the 2014-15 year to date to a record $196.2 million distributed to 18,772 Fresno State students. Approximately 70 percent of the aid is in grants or scholarships – money that does not have to be paid back, Lamas said.

He also announced a university campaign to promote information about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) including the upcoming March 2 priority deadline for the 2015-2016 school year.

As part of the Financial Aid awareness campaign, the Student Affairs Division has assigned Mary Sauceda to serve as its public contact and communications coordinator.

Sauceda, who was a financial aid functional analyst prior to her new assignment, has worked in Fresno State’s Financial Aid office in various roles the past seven years. She will lead the effort to better inform students about financial aid matters including policies and deadlines, said Bernie Vinovrksi, associate vice president of enrollment services.

The upcoming financial aid workshops will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24 in the Pinedale Elementary School library where Fresno State counselors will conduct a Cash for College  workshop.

Bilingual staff from Fresno State will be on hand to help families complete a variety of financial aid forms, including the FAFSA and the California Dream Act application.

The FAFSA application determines a college student’s eligibility for federal aid programs. The outreach events help many eligible students and their families, especially those in which English may be their second language, learn about this essential first step in receiving financial aid.

Students should bring their Social Security and driver’s license numbers (if applicable); parents’ 2014 Federal Income Tax information (if student is a dependent); and FAFSA pin number if they have already registered for the 2015-16 school year.

Sauceda points out there is no cost to complete a FAFSA.

Saturday, the fifth annual Free Application for Federal Student Aid event workshop was held at eight locations throughout the Central Valley including Fresno State. Sponsored by Univision21 and the Fresno County Office of Education, the event draws more than 1,000 families and organizers said it is growing into a national campaign with Univision network affiliates throughout the country.

Middle Class Scholarship

The Middle Class Scholarship Program prepares to enter its second year and officials report that so far $107 million has been allotted to 77,800 recipients statewide. Locally, $1,403,632 has been disbursed to date, said Ben Reynoso, outreach coordinator for the California Student Opportunity and Access Program.

The California Middle Class Scholarship (MCS), signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 2013, was developed to help families of students attending a CSU or UC who make between $50,000-$150,000 a year.  Interested students can complete the application at  or, if they are AB540 eligible, the California Dream Act Application at by the March 2 deadline.

To qualify, students must: be enrolled in a CSU or UC students; be California residents; maintain a 2.0 GPA; and not have been incarcerated.

Reynoso said that in 2013-2014 students who attended a CSU or UC had at least 10 percent of their system-wide fees waived from their tuition. This year, a 14 percent award was given, which totaled $766.08 for CSU students and $1,848.00 for UC students.

Next academic year, up to 20 percent is expected to be given for CSU ($1,094.40) and UC ($2,640) attendees, Reynoso said.

“The Middle Class Scholarship will go up an additional 10 percent for each of the next four years, for a total 40 percent fee waiver by 2020,” he said.

Additional information regarding the Middle Class Scholarship is available online and in the lobby in the Joyal Administration building. For information on the Middle Class Scholarship, contact Reynoso at 559.278.5312. For information about FAFSA and workshops, call Sauceda at 559.278.2182.

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