Figuring out how much financial aid you can receive for college can be confusing.
"It's kind of difficult, so anything that anybody can assist me with is awesome,” Laura Laborico said.
Laborico is one of nearly 20,000 students who work or have worked through Cafe College to find money for school through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
"It's A to Z in terms of the college access process. It could be anything from an application to ‘I need help with my college essay. Can you please proof it?’ It could be financial aid 101 or FAFSA 101,” Adriana Contreras, the executive director for the San Antonio Education Partnership, said.
School aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Unless a student does FAFSA, they won't be eligible for federal Pell grant or for federal student loans or for federal work study," Rebeca Gonzalez, manager of the Café College program, said.
Though students need a number of things to apply, one thing they won't need do to is pay.
“It’s completely free,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez says even though more San Antonio students are applying for aid, 7,000 eligible students didn’t apply last year.
"Families assume for whatever reason that they won't be eligible for aid. They think they might exceed a certain cutoff, but really there is no cut off for federal student aid,” Gonzalez said.
Aid is determined by a variety of factors, like earnings, assets and age.
"They don't take into account what your bills are or how much money you have at the end of the month, so that's a thing a lot of families get caught up on,” Gonzalez said.
For Laborico, having the chance to get on track, means everything.
"It's very important,” she said. “I need all the help I can get."
The San Antonio Education Partnership manages Cafe College. Advisors will be on site at local high schools to talk with students and parents on March 7 and April 11.