LA Cash for College 4 All

submission by Amy_Cortina

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):


Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


UNITE-LA transcends traditional silos and barriers between government, business, and education systems to ensure all youth have access to high quality education and the next generation of Angelenos are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Los Angeles Cash for College is the region's largest financial aid awareness and college access campaign, informing, assisting and rewarding students, who aspire to go to college, but who think the financial barriers are too great. Each year, we reach 20,000 students through a college and career convention, over 150 free financial aid completion workshops, and a scholarship reception, empowering them to apply to college and seek financial aid. This year, we hope to increase aid students secure.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


LA Cash for College was developed in response to a Tomas Rivera Policy Institute study which found that while the majority of Latino parents wanted their children to pursue college, their knowledge about how to get into and pay for college was objectively low. The study made clear recommendations to help address these knowledge deficits, including better informing parents about the process of accessing college, launching a long-term public services announcement campaign in English/Spanish to improve parent's college knowledge, and increasing the scope, frequency, and visibility of college events such as college nights, open houses, and campus visits.

Since 2001, LA Cash for College has been building a college-going culture in L.A. using a three-pronged approach of 1) informing students and families about college preparation and financing their education, 2) assisting them in applying for aid, and 3) rewarding positive behaviors like applying for aid. Each step of the way, students and their parents are encouraged to pursue their college aspirations.

Inform: Beginning the campaign each year, the annual College and Career Convention is designed to help participants understand the accessibility of college, features expert-led presentations on college life and academic preparation, interactive career demonstrations, information sessions about scholarships and other financial aid, as well as an Exhibition Hall of local, state and national college and university admissions recruiters.

Assist: Then, in partnership with the California Student Aid Commission, LA Cash for College hosts over 150 free annual workshops that assist students and families complete their financial aid applications from January 1st to March 2nd. Workshops are conducted with a wide network of community partners and trained volunteers from colleges, universities and businesses to provide one-on-one assistance to help students complete the FAFSA, the California Dream Act application, Pell and Cal grants. Eligible students qualify for up to $18,000 and free financial aid they never have to pay back.

Reward: Finally, there is a scholarship reception in May, which features prominent guest speakers and local elected officials, to award a limited number of $1,000 incentive scholarships to participating students from the Convention or a Workshop.

The campaign has assisted nearly 240,000 students prepare for college, apply for financial aid and secure $3.3 million in scholarships.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


LA Cash for College evaluates both the Convention and the Financial Aid Completion Workshops each year in order to maintain the quality programming that has made us the region's largest college and financial aid information program. Students who attend the Convention fill out a form with demographic and economic data in order to enter a lottery for a $1,000 scholarship. This information tells us who we are serving. In addition, we send attendees an electronic survey asking them for feedback on the convention.

Students who participate in the Financial Aid Completion Workshops must complete an Exit Survey, which is sent to the CSAC to be eligible for the $1,000 scholarship lottery. The surveys inform our program on the quality of the workshops and areas of the workshops that can be improved. The survey also allows students to request follow-up help if they were unable to complete either their FAFSA or California Dream Act application at the workshop.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

16 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Having access to a quality university education opened my mind to a world of possibilities and opened the doors that enabled me to become the person I am today.

by fuentej4193
5 months ago

I hope that my school wins the vote!

by robinsondonza
5 months ago

For the past three years I've helped students and families complete the FAFSA at Marshall High School as part of LA Cash for College's "Super Saturday" event. Many of these students are the first in their family to go to college, and the FAFSA form is incredibly daunting. I walked them through every step of the process until they click "submit." It's incredibly rewarding knowing that I personally helped a few dozen families apply for financial aid, and it's even better knowing that LA Cash for College helps tens of thousands of students get the $ they need every year to go to college!

by carrie.shapton
6 months ago

Having access to a quality university education opened my mind to a world of possibilities and opened the doors that enabled me to become the person I am today. It is for this reason that I am so happy to be part of team that has committed to increasing educational access and career awareness for all youth in the County of Los Angeles, so that they too can have these transformative experiences. Cash for College provides information, inspiration, and a platform for youth to get their questions answered-- providing a pathway towards success in a way they might not otherwise have been able to access.

by L_Small
6 months ago

Cash for College provides an invaluable service to students who may otherwise have very limited access to information about financial aid and college options in general. Cash for College has served over 200,000 primarily low-income, first generation public school students and leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid. Cash for College makes a meaningful difference for Los Angeles youth, many of whom might otherwise view college as something completely out of reach.

by Lisa_C
6 months ago

It is such a privilege to be a part of a movement that seeks to create a college-going culture in Los Angeles! This will now be my 5th year helping the Cash for College team, and what I love most is how the program gets students excited about their future. The program not only showcases the college, financial aid and career opportunities that within their reach, but also provides them with the hand-on support needed to complete the most tedious and important part of the college application process—the financial aid applications. What is even more moving is witnessing the hundreds of individuals, from key education stakeholders to members of the community, who generously volunteer their time in this effort to ensure every student in Los Angeles pursues their college and career dreams.

by Analidia
6 months ago

LA Cash For College is a program that provides that initial spark in the lives of many students that puts them on the path to success. Figuring out how to apply for and pay for college can be a daunting task for many families. This program gives them the tools they need and advice necessary to fill out the paperwork, get financial aid, and in general have a better overall understanding of the process. These things are invaluable and provide a strong foundation so that students can get started and be more successful from the beginning. Cash For College is an amazing program and a vital resource for families trying to put their kids thorough college in Los Angeles.

by jwright21299
6 months ago

Being the first person in my family to attend college was intimidating to say the least. The first of many hurdles to overcome was learning about financial aid. While accessing federal financial aid and applying to scholarships were essential in my ability to attend UCLA, filling out the FAFSA at 17 felt like another daunting barrier. On top of that, due to fear of the unknown, I faced family members discouraging my college dreams. Cash for College's College and Career Annual Convention fills knowledge gaps and removes barriers like this, empowering young people to confidently pursue their higher education ambitions and positioning families to better support their children.

by emilylblake
6 months ago

Having participated in cash for college really helped me in preparing for my university experience.. During the event I was able to speak with colleges and universities and make connections with professionals. Great to see they are still helping students.

by ERodd
6 months ago

For the past 14 years, LA Cash for College has been instrumental in helping students, especially Latino students and first generation college graduates, complete the FAFSA, Dream Act, and Cal Grant applications. If it weren't for my parents applying for financial aid, I would be in a whole lot of debt right now. Not everyone grew up with parents who knew what to do. That is why LA Cash for College's College and Career Convention and Financial Aid Workshops are so important!

by amycortina1
6 months ago

Cash for College has a profound impact on the lives of students coming from socially and economically disadvantage communities. Cash for College educates thousands of students every year on financial aid and the college admissions process giving students the necessary tools to pursue their dreams of attending college.

by brittme12
6 months ago

Cash for College is a great program that helps increase financial aid and college admissions awareness to underrepresented communities in Los Angeles. Cash for College helps thousands of families students every year.

by eq_bruin
6 months ago

Without access to state and federal student aid programs, I don't know how I would have financed my own education. As a first-generation college student from a working class immigrant family, the costs of college were daunting, and navigating financial aid processes on my own was even more intimidating. Cash for College helps take the fear and uncertainty out of that process for thousands of students and their families, helping them take the next step and pursue their educational and career aspirations.

by juana.hernandez
6 months ago

My family had no idea how to complete the FASFA when I went to college. I remember being so overwhelmed by the price of college and even the application fees that I didn't apply many places and I didn't understand that there was grant aid and loans that could help me through.

There is no better investment in our future than helping young people and families understand college is attainable! Everyone should have access to Cash for College programming.

by erikalborg
6 months ago

So proud to participate in Los Angeles Cash for College each year! This financial aid awareness and college access campaign inspires and informs thousands and thousands of youth each year, I wish I had access to such an event when I was in school!

by TippySC
6 months ago

Help L.A. Cash for College bring tens of millions of dollars to L.A.-area students in free financial aid!

by psantana12
6 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015