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Advise TX Adviser Alexandra Campos Helps Entire Senior Class Enter the College Pipeline

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Third from left: Alexandra Campos with a group of La Joya Palmview High School

During her first year as an Advise TX adviser, Alexandra Campos has already accomplished an extraordinary task. She has been instrumental in helping the entire senior class of over 400 students at La Joya Palmview High School complete their submissions of either the Federal Application for Free Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). She is the first of 21 advisers within the UT Austin Chapter of Advise TX to secure 100 percent completion for both the FAFSA and the TASFA, which are required steps for applying for federal loans, grants, work-study programs, merit-based aid packages and scholarships.

For students at La Joya Palmview, a Title 1 high school serving predominantly low-income students from underserved population groups located in Mission, Texas, these steps are critical for getting into college. Many will be the first in their families to attend college. Adding to the challenge of navigating the college application process, 8 percent (35 students) of the seniors are undocumented and are often deterred by parents who are apprehensive about providing financial information for federal applications.

This was a challenge Campos was prepared to face head-on, thanks to the extensive training she received through the UT Austin chapter of Advise TX. While working with school counselors and teachers, Campos was able to talk with students and parents to raise awareness about the importance of a college education.  She was also able to dispel myths about college access and affordability.  Her next goal is to have every senior submit at least two college applications to provide more than one post-secondary option.

About Advise TX: Housed within the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships, the UT Austin chapter of Advise TX is part of the national College Advising Corps, an ever growing consortium of more than 20 partner institutions around the country that have committed to recruit and train talented, enthusiastic recent college graduates to serve as college advisers within designated high schools in 14 states.

Through this nationwide consortium of colleges and universities, the program aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students entering and completing higher education. By placing recent graduates of partner institutions as college advisers in underserved high schools and community colleges, the programs work in communities across the country to provide the advising and encouragement that students need to navigate college admissions.

Advisers work full-time to help students plan their college searches, complete admissions and financial aid applications and enroll at schools that will serve them well.

The University of Texas at Austin Chapter manages 21 college advisers who serve in a variety of high schools within 11 school districts in Central Texas, Houston, Dallas, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.  These advisers serve in their high schools for a maximum of two years.

Visit the Advise TX website for more information or contact Cheryl Sawyer, Advise TX program director, at 512-471-6173, cheryls@austin.utexas.edu.