Take the Pledge

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Meet Karla G.

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Why I'm #Thankful4Pell

Going to college was not an early conversation in my household. If your children or students are like me, some will be both the first high school graduate AND college graduate in our families. The conversations around college and the opportunities it provides are tremendously exciting—but just as intimidating. 

The first thing we’ll do is review the website, get our hopes up, and immediately sink to realize the price tag is nowhere near anything our families could afford. That’s where the Pell Grant and financial aid opportunities become critical. We’re bombarded our Senior Year with tons to do as we prepare for the next step: endless checklists, keeping up with classes and balancing jobs we think will help us afford upcoming costs. However, one of the single most important steps for every senior should be filing a financial aid application—FAFSA or TASFA.

"The reality is too many students miss out on these opportunities because financial aid applications are either not filed or not correctly submitted. Without it, a student may never know if their dream school is a viable option for them and their families."

With support from my college advisor, I completed my FAFSA in less time than my usual work shifts. My FAFSA allowed my university choice to know I needed greater financial aid support to make my college education possible. Along with a Pell Grant from the federal government, UNC provided institutional aid to cover additional costs. I had scholarships I solicited since Junior year of high school and cumulatively, was able to attend AND graduate UNC as a personal and financial fit!

The reality is too many students miss out on these opportunities because financial aid applications are either not filed or not correctly submitted. Without it, a student may never know if their dream school is a viable option for them and their families. I’m #Thankful4Pell for allowing me to further my education. Without it, too many students can be left behind.

Are you a current or rising Promise Scholar, parent, educator, or administrator? Join Karla and share your experience with Dallas County Promise.

About the Author: The newly-elected Dallas ISD Trustee for District 4 (Southeast), Karla Garcia is a 2014 graduate of Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School (Dallas ISD). Karla studied public policy and entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics at the U.S. Department of Education. Upon graduating in 2018, she chose to return home in hopes of impacting change in her local community and joined the Dallas County Promise Staff.