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Sarasota County students get help with college financial aid applications

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NOTE: This news release is from the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership.

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership assisted 72 families on October 12 at Sarasota High School to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Trained community volunteers from CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, UnidosNow and United Way Suncoast, as well as financial aid officers from Ringling College of Art & Design, State College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and Keiser University, offered guidance on completing the application. The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is offering additional free FAFSA assistance available for all Sarasota County high school seniors at: 

  • North Port High School— Thursday, Oct. 19, 2-8 p.m. (Cafeteria), 6400 W Price Blvd, North Port
  • Booker High School—Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2:30-7:30 p.m. (Media Center), 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota

     The FAFSA is required for any student applying for federal and state financial aid programs, such as the Pell grant, as well as for many scholarship programs. Through leading local efforts made by the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership last year, 45.5% of Sarasota County high school seniors competed the FAFSA. This is a 9.1% change over the previous application year, equating to an estimated additional $513,180 in Pell grants awarded to Sarasota County students. According to the US Dept. of Education, the average Pell grant award in 2015-16 was $3,728. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $5,920. 

    The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is a broad community collaborative known as a “Local College Access Network.” Lead agencies in the partnership include: Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County Schools, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, UnidosNow, and United Way Suncoast. Additional support for these FAFSA assistance events comes from the Florida Philanthropic Network through its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI). CASI is an initiative of the Florida Philanthropic Network, made possible through funding from the Helios Education Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, to strengthen Local College Access Networks around the state.

    The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is dedicated to bringing together community partner organizations to build a competitive workforce for the region by supporting data-driven programs and collaborative actions which increase the number of college graduates in fields that are in high demand. “Millions of dollars in financial aid grants are left unclaimed every year because parents and students don’t complete the FAFSA,” noted Steve Cantees, Executive Director of High Schools for Sarasota County Schools. “Through the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, we are able to provide incredible support which will pay off in real college money for our students.”

    Additional resources and event information can be found at For more information, please contact Mimi Cirbusova at or 941-556-4038. 


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