Workshops provide application support for students


A group of students and staff work on computers during a FAFSA and Dream Act Application workshop at the Financial Aid Lab on Friday, Oct. 18. The lab is located in the new Student Services Building at El Camino College. Viridiana Flores/The Union

Workshops for students looking for help with financial aid or Dream Act applications will be held in El Camino College’s new Student Services Center during the last week of October, officials said.

ECC’s Financial Aid Department has held over 10 FAFSA and Dream Act application workshops at its computer lab in October and will close out the month with five more workshops on Oct. 25, 28, 29, 30 and 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Financial Aid Student Services Specialist Marco Colom said students who apply early will be eligible for more money, and get the applications out of the way.

“The purpose of the workshops is to raise awareness as to when to fill out the FAFSA and Dream Act applications, so students can get the most benefits,” Colom said.

Students are also able to access over 20 computers at the Financial Aid Computer Lab after workshop hours Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. and Friday between 1 to 4 p.m.

“Students can come in after those hours as well because there are individuals in the Financial Aid Lab who are trained and capable of helping them start or renew a FAFSA or Dream Act application,” Colom said.

Colom and his colleague Maria Ehrlich conduct the workshops with the assistance of student workers. There are usually two to four people in the lab to assist students, Colom added.

“[They] are really nice when I need support on filling out applications and forms,” nursing major Hialdy Durate said. “They help me out.”

Information regarding a newer grant for students is available in the financial aid lab as well as scholarship information.

“A huge advantage of the workshop is that you’re getting ahead of all of your deadlines, even the ones that are further out,” Colom said. “Another advantage is that students can come in and ask questions.”

Every month a new workshop flyer will be released with all the dates. Dates and time slots will change month-to-month but the lab is accessible to students even during breaks.

“I like coming to the lab because [for] some of the documents you can’t understand, you have the resources and people here [to] explain it to you,” biology major Rumesa Khan said.

ECC’s Financial Aid Department will also hold the Financial Aid Fright Fair on Thursday, Oct. 31 to help students learn more about services and other financial aid resources.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct a misspelled name and incorrect times for the event on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 5:05 a.m.