Financial Aid for Student Success at LA Valley College 

The LA Community College District (LACCD) hosted a financial aid event for over 100 faculty, staff, and administrators on September 18, 2018.IMG_48551

The event focused on how we can all become financial aid allies to our students. LACCD Chancellor Dr. Francisco Rodriguez welcomed the audience and reminded us all how financial aid is an equity issue and we must assist our students in receiving the financial aid that is owed their Pell Grants.

LACCD Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ryan Cornner provided the audience with recent data on the large percentage of Pell Grant eligible students within the state, community college system, and within the LA Community College District that are not utilizing them.

IMG_48761He  introduced the first keynote speaker, Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, from Temple University and author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.

Dr. Goldrick-Rab shared her research on Pell Grant recipients, at both community colleges and four year institutions. Her research indicates that students are often the sole providers for their families and must rely on financial aid for assistance, and although financial aid is crucial to completion, many students do not access the financial aid that is owed to them. Her research suggests that college IMG_48711students, particularly community college students, need to utilize their Pell Grants as early as possible. More importantly, she challenged the audience to create a “culture of caring” on their campuses. She offered many ways to improve our work with students and provided ideas on how we can assist students in understanding and receiving their financial aid.

Help students connect to every resource

  • Create a “Swipe Out Hunger Program
  • Ensure the food pantry has fresh produce
  • Fund gas cards and SEPTA passes
  • Grow an emergency aid fund and make sure it functions FAST and without red tape

Keynote presentation for Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab:Sara Goldrick Rab LACCD 1-ilovepdf-compressed

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab continued the conversation during her breakout session”Talking Money with Today’s Students.”

Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab’s breakout session:Sara Goldrick Rab LACCD Breakout


Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab contact information:  Email:

The second keynote presentation was provided by Dr. Paco Marotell from UC Davis. Dr. Marotell’s research focuses on community college data trends for eligible Pell Grant recipients. He and his research partner, Dr, Elizabeth Friedmann found that many students do not complete all the 20180918_124422necessary forms, including verification, thereby leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

Students have difficulty completing verification. One study found only 69% of flagged students completed verification.

With the new community college funding formula, colleges will also be “missing out” when Pell eligible students do not access their Pell Grant awards. It is important for colleges to “convey how important it is to complete the financial aid paper work” in a way that is “customized” to what the student needs to do.

Dr. Paco Marotell’s keynote presentation: friedmann martorell laccd sep 18 2018

In addition to the keynote speakers, there were five breakout sessions provided by LACCD’s financial aid directors and staff, including a guest session from 10,000 Degrees.

Breakout descriptions and presentations:

How to apply for financial aid:  Become a financial aid ally by learning the step-by-step process of applying for financial aid within our district. This session will also review the process that our students take to apply for federal and state level aid, including the CA Dream Act application. How to apply for Financial Aid

Student financial success: Navigating the financial aid process (ACA- 2503): This session is presented by 10,000 Degrees, a nonprofit foundation that supports local undergraduate students through peer mentorship and scholarships to sustain their educational journey through graduation and beyond. This session will focus on the importance of financial aid for first generation students, how to access aid through community based resource, and understand key processes and deadlines. Student Financial Success

For more information on 10,000Degrees, visit:

PeopleSoft and financial aid: Come learn how PeopleSoft is supporting students in the financial aid process. This session will showcase how PeopleSoft provides students with up to date information on their financial aid application status through the new SIS portal. By accessing self-service on their portal, students can see the types of aid they were awarded, disbursement dates, and any missing documents that may be required. PeopleSoft and Financial Aid

Special populations and aid: This session will discuss the types of financial support that exits for special groups, such as veterans and foster youth.  Many students are unaware of these types of additional aid which provides the kinds of special support critical to their success. Come learn how to support these students in their financial aid application process. FA for Student Groups

SAP and educational planning: Often students may become ineligible for financial aid due to “not meeting satisfactory academic progress” (SAP). This session will discuss the importance of supporting students by providing them with an educational program plan and how academic counseling, as well as other support services can assist students with maintaining good academic progress. SAP and Educational Planning