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Hummel proof that Financial Aid Day works
Photos and Story by James Hill
For Lisa Hummel, Financial Aid Day gave her the confidence she needed to be successful at her studies. The third-year gerontology program student at Portland Community College participated in a scholarship workshop at last year’s Financial Aid Day on the Cascade Campus.
"I really needed help with school," Hummel said. "I didn’t know how to apply for scholarships. But I was able to learn and find out more information. What they offered at Financial Aid Day really benefited me. I found out where the scholarships were and I ended up getting Portlandia Club, Danish Sisterhood and Ford scholarships."
This year, students like Hummel will have another chance to find the right scholarships and get help on their free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). PCC is staging Financial Aid Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 at four campus locations throughout its district. The locations are easy to get to by car, bike and TriMet. For locations and more information on what to bring, please visit the Financial Aid Day Website: www.pcc.edu/finaid.
PCC advisors will provide personalized assistance to future college students with completion of their form as well as provide scholarship workshops throughout the day to help students find dollars for school. Spanish language advisors will be available at Rock Creek, Cascade and Sylvania campuses.
Hummel, who graduated from the college’s Project Independence program, which serves women who are transitioning to school or the workplace, said she filled out her FAFSA application ahead of time because she was a veteran at the process. However, when she first enrolled at PCC, she says could have used the financial aid form help that is featured at Financial Aid Day.
"I definitely didn’t know the first thing about FAFSA when I started school," said Hummel, a regular volunteer for Loaves and Fishes and Meals on Wheels. "But from going last year I saw advisors really walking people through the form. They do it all right there. I wished I had the help when I first started three years ago because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had to struggle with it at home."
Hummel doesn’t struggle anymore. Since she went through the Financial Aid Day scholarship workshops she has the money and confidence to get through school. Today, she is a regular on PCC’s President’s List and serves as the Cascade Campus president for the two-year honor society Phi Theta Kappa. Hummel plans to get a bachelor’s degree in human services and master’s degree in art therapy from Marylhurst University.
"Just the other day I found a student filling out a loan application," said Hummel, a single parent, who volunteers her time as a cooking instructor for disabled seniors. "I asked them if they knew that they could probably qualify for a scholarship or federal financial aid. They had no idea. I just cringed when I heard that. Going through Financial Aid Day gives you the confidence. I feel that everybody needs to try."