CGS!Florida 2015 Training Manual

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2 Welcome to CGS!Florida On behalf of the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) and the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA), thank you for your support of CGS!Florida. Our collaborative efforts will ensure more students receive access to free grants or scholarships to help pay for college. Throughout the state of Florida, there are many efforts underway to ensure students know about the numerous financial aid opportunities and how to access them. However, with so many students, it can be hard to make significant impact without collaborating with organizations to reach a larger population. With growing numbers of non-traditional students, it is necessary to mobilize in order to reach all college-bound students. CGS!Florida employs college-access marketing techniques aimed at ensuring service to our currently underserved populations. This workbook is designed to provide you with the tips and tools needed to bring CGS!Florida events to students and families in your community.

3 Table of Contents What is College Goal Sunday?...6 Who started it?...6 Why did it start?...6 What is the goal of College Goal Sunday?...6 How was CGS successful?...7 What is College Goal Sunday now?...7 How can you help?...7 College Goal Sunday in Florida...8 CGS!Florida Goals...8 Getting Started...9 Step 1 - Learn more about CGS!Florida...9 Step 2 - Assemble a team to help you plan your event...9 Site Coordinator Responsibilities Task Force Team Responsibilities Volunteer Coordinator Community Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Financial Aid Expert Fundraising/Sponsorship Coordinator State Partner Responsibilities - We are here to support you Support Staff State Coordinators CGS!Florida Website Step 3 Complete the Site Coordinator Registration Form Step 4 Stay informed and start planning Event Planning Event Organization and Focus Event Model 1: FAFSA Filing and Support Only... 17

4 Event Model 2: FAFSA Filing plus Understanding Financial Aid Event Model 3: FAFSA Filing plus On-site Tax Preparation Questions to Assess Your Community Planning Timeline for Event Organization Event Quick Reference Task Force Resources Site Coordinators: Outreach and Marketing Guide: Fundraising: Event Poster Other Resources Day of the Event Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities Site Coordinator Registration Support Site Greeters and Guides Financial Aid (FA) Advisors Financial Aid (FA) Expert Technical, Audio, and Visual Support Tracking Your Event Participation Sign-In Sheets Pre-Event Documents and Packets for Students Event Day Checklist Preparing Your Event Clean-Up and Close-Down Checklist Reporting Reporting Timeline Mailing Address for Reporting Documents Reporting and Evaluation Documents Site and Event Evaluations In-Kind Contribution Documentation... 35

5 Reporting In-Kind Contributions Volunteer Sign-In Sheet In-Kind Contribution of Teacher and Staff Time In-Kind Contribution of Goods and Services Site Specific Documents Invoices Site Agendas Press Releases or News Articles Photographs Follow-up with Volunteers and Students Event Follow-up Students Volunteers Planning for Next Year... 39

6 What is College Goal Sunday? Who started it? College Goal Sunday began in Indiana in 1989 as a joint project of the Indiana Student Financial Aid Association (ISFAA) and the State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana (SSACI), with funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc. Why did it start? College Goal Sunday was designed to meet a specific need. Research showed that Indiana families listed high costs as the main barrier to college attendance, even though tens of millions of dollars were available to Indiana students in various forms of financial aid. Too many families particularly those of color, low income, and no tradition of pursuing higher education beyond high school were not applying for the available funds. Availability of funds was not enough to push these students over the threshold to higher education. The students and families needed two more things: First, more information through a multitude of channels about the availability of financial aid; second, expert assistance in filling out the paperwork required to qualify for aid. What is the goal of College Goal Sunday? The goal of College Goal Sunday is to inform families of color, low income, and first generation college-going students of the various forms of financial aid assistance available for higher education and help them fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) to qualify for those funds.

7 How was CGS successful? A two-part strategy was devised to address the problem. First, ISFAA members primarily college financial aid staff throughout the state volunteered their time and expertise on one particular day of the year. On College Goal Sunday (traditionally a week or two after Super Bowl Sunday), professionals would travel to selected community sites across Indiana to help families complete their FAFSA, the universally required financial aid application. Second, the group implemented an extensive public information campaign to reach lowincome Indiana residents prior to the College Goal Sunday event. The campaign used the news media, direct mail, and celebrity appearances at key high schools to inform the public about the importance of an education beyond high school, the availability of financial aid, and the existence of College Goal Sunday to help them complete the FAFSA. What is College Goal Sunday now? College Goal Sunday is now a nationwide effort administered by USA Funds running in January, February, and March to inform low-income families of financial aid opportunities for higher education. In 2012, 41 states and U.S. providences participated in the College Goal Sunday Campaign. How can you help? Apply to host a College Goal Sunday event by contacting the CGS!Florida State coordinators: Lori Auxier; Jan Smith; Or find out more information about volunteering at a site near you at:

8 College Goal Sunday in Florida Florida has its own challenges regarding the discrepancy in access to higher education. There are many efforts and organizations working to inform students of their post high school education options. For this reason, CGS!Florida strives to utilize the people and networks already working in schools and colleges as a starting point for event planning. CGS!Florida Goals Increase the number of students, especially those from under-served populations, who complete their FAFSA. o Low-income o First generation in college o Students of color o Youth in foster care o Homeless/Unaccompanied minors Partner to maximize attendance at existing and new financial aid nights. Drive students who attend financial aid nights to CGS!Florida events so they can finish filing their FAFSA. Support students and families through the entire financial aid process including: initial FAFSA filing, making corrections, tax updates, verification, and understanding financial aid award letters. Demonstrate Florida s ability to collaborate and address challenges young people face in accessing higher education. Make the best use of public and private foundation funds by leveraging resources and streamlining efforts to help students through the financial aid process.

9 Getting Started College Goal Sunday is a practical way to assist students and their families on their way to a higher education. By hosting a CGS!Florida event in your community, you will be helping a student not only learn about financial aid opportunities, but help them complete the first step to receiving financial aid filing the FAFSA. Are you excited about the potential of CGS!Florida in your community? Here are the steps you need to take to get started with your event! Step 1 - Learn more about CGS!Florida College Goal Sunday has a site specifically for the CGS!Florida Campaign: This website is a great resource to give you and your students an idea of what the campaign is like in Florida. From this website, you can: Learn about the CGS campaign in Florida its goals and messages. Research communities hosting events and their event dates. Sign-up volunteers. Forms and documents important to site coordinators will be provided via during the time leading up to your event. If you have direct questions regarding this campaign, please Lori Auxier or Jan Smith. They are also available to assist you in conferring with other coordinators in your area to build a more effective outreach plan. Step 2 - Assemble a team to help you plan your event The site coordinator has many responsibilities planning and running their event as well as communicating with the CGS!Florida state coordinators Lori Auxier and/or Jan Smith. To make your event a success, you need a team of people as the task force behind your event. The following is a list of possible roles and responsibilities for both the site coordinator and planning team.

10 Site Coordinator Responsibilities Lead and launch College Goal Sunday in your community Manage logistics and event planning Recruit the planning committee/task force to support your efforts Implement local marketing and community outreach plans Support local media outreach to increase awareness and participation Recruit event day volunteers, including financial aid experts Distribute and collect the CGS survey evaluations to volunteers and students Complete and submit the final site coordinator report and required in-kind documents Task Force Team Responsibilities Planning committee members should be chosen because they bring various perspectives on the target population of students and families. They must understand the importance of obtaining a postsecondary education. Examples of people who may be good members of your task force are financial aid personnel, public relations or marketing professionals, high school guidance counselors, TRIO or GEAR UP staff, high school representatives, college admissions counselors, staff from organizations that work within the target population, business professionals from your community, parents, and local college students. Here are some possible task force roles and their responsibilities: Volunteer Coordinator Professional Skills: Excellent Leadership and Communication, Volunteer Management Experience Lead and manage volunteer recruitment for outreach campaign and event day activities, including set-up, registration/greeting, and take-down. Raise local awareness about CGS!Florida and volunteer opportunities. Engage volunteers and build volunteer capacity. Coordinate communication with volunteers, including s and phone calls.

11 Relay information regarding meetings, training sessions, and other volunteer requirements. Community Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Professional Skills: Excellent Communication and Networking within Community, Sensitive to Diverse Populations, and Cultural Competency Help the site coordinator develop an outreach/marketing plan that will reach the target population. Lead local media outreach to increase awareness and participation. Contact local radio and television stations to discuss public service announcement possibilities. Complete a press release to local newspapers to promote media coverage. Investigate and implement event promotion using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Maintain culturally competent outreach efforts while still reaching target audiences. Financial Aid Expert Professional Skills: Experience with FAFSA, College Financial Aid Processes, and Taxes helpful Build a team of college staff and volunteers to provide FAFSA one-on-one assistance during the event. Attend and participate in volunteer training prior to the event. Provide all attendees with information regarding the role of financial aid. Provide assistance to students and parents while completing the FAFSA. Fundraising/Sponsorship Coordinator Professional Skills: Excellent Communication, Experience as Gifts-In-Kind Officer, or related training

12 Identify and secure possible sponsorship relationships and products (food, beverage, raffles, and giveaways, if desired) within the community to encourage students and families to attend CGS!Florida. Send letters to schools, community members, and local businesses to solicit support for event. State Partner Responsibilities - We are here to support you The state coordinator and the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) will provide guidance and oversight of all CGS!Florida events in Florida. OSFA will work with a team to implement a statewide public relations and media campaign that will provide the foundation for your local events. The support from OSFA will include: Providing advice and guidance on all aspects of CGS!Florida planning and implementation. Providing overall project management to ensure coordination across all statewide events. Producing culturally sensitive marketing materials to promote your event. Engaging statewide organizations with vested interest in these issues and working with them to secure supporters for local task force leaders. Providing templates for the outreach efforts (including media advisories, outreach letters and s, and press releases). Working with each location to ensure a smooth, successful event as well as continuous improvement in our programs. Evaluating all CGS!Florida activities and reporting to the National College Goal Sunday Campaign.

13 Support Staff Florida Department of Education Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) 325 W. Gaines Street Suite 1314 Tallahassee, Florida Lori Auxier State Coordinators Jan Smith CGS!Florida Website Step 3 Complete the Site Coordinator Registration Form You are excited about CGS!Florida in your community and have already begun to assemble a team of professionals to help you plan and market the event. Great! Complete the site registration form online at: This registration form must be completed no later than September 30, The form not only provides us with your event information, but it also lets us know who to contact. As the CGS!Florida season approaches, we will contact you to make sure you

14 have all the necessary materials and resources for student and family participants, send you collateral materials to use for marketing (available in both English and Spanish), and keep you in the loop with updates to the FAFSA and other important information. Once the host sites are selected, we will post this information on the CGS!Florida website. Step 4 Stay informed and start planning Now that your community is registered to host a CGS!Florida site, make sure you stay in the loop for information and updates throughout the CGS!Florida season. Be on the lookout for reminders and communication from the State Coordinators. We will check in on your planning process and provide updates when we ship your materials via . o An initial host site notification provided information on whether or not your site was chosen to receive CGS!Florida funding. For 2015, a maximum of 67 sites will be selected to receive a $100 administrative budget. One administrative budget will be awarded to one site in each county. (If not all counties are represented during CGS!Florida, additional administrative budgets will be disseminated among additional sites for larger counties.) If your host site was selected to receive an administrative budget, please follow the reimbursement instructions in the wrap-up section of this manual. For 2015, a maximum of 67 sites will be selected to receive a $250 scholarship budget. One scholarship budget will be awarded to one site in each county. (If not all counties are represented during CGS!Florida, additional scholarship budgets will be disseminated among additional sites within larger counties.)

15 The state coordinators will choose one scholarship recipient per selected host site at random from the event participants that complete the official online CGS!Florida student survey. Site coordinators will be notified of the scholarship recipients within 2 weeks of the event. The state coordinators will then work with the FASFAA to disburse the funds within 4 weeks of the event. All scholarship checks will be sent directly to the student and will be co-payable to the student and the accredited, postsecondary institution of their choice. Continue to check the website for events in and around your area. If you have event planning questions, concerns or suggestions that you would like to share with other site coordinators, please forward them to the state coordinators for distribution. Let s work together to make CGS!Florida a success! The state coordinators will host webinars and training sessions among site coordinators and volunteers to streamline our statewide efforts. These events will also give site coordinators the opportunity to share information and support one another. There will also be required webinars regarding FAFSA filing and financial aid provided for your volunteers helping with FAFSA filing and one-on-one support. FAFSA webinars will be available on demand for volunteers who are unable to attend the initial event. Event Planning Now that you have your date set and your team members assembled, you can start planning your event, recruiting volunteers, and getting the word out about CGS!Florida.

16 In the following section, we have provided resources to help get your event ideas off the drawing board and into reality. This section includes: Examples on a variety of ways to organize your event(s). A planning checklist and timeline to make sure you are on track with your planning. How-to guides for your task force members regarding media contact, student outreach, and community partner and sponsor outreach. A list of student and parent resources with instructions on how and where to order them before your event. We are always available for questions and concerns. Contact the state coordinators with issues that arise. Event Organization and Focus CGS!Florida has evolved into three types of events targeting various audiences and offering different resources to those audiences. The three events are: FAFSA Filing and Support Only FAFSA Filing plus Understanding Financial Aid FAFSA Filing plus On-site Tax Preparation (United Way Real$ense) Decide the type of event you would like to offer at the beginning of your planning, so you can keep your target audience in mind when developing the details of your event and outreach strategy. On the following pages, we will outline some of the benefits of these different models and pose some questions to help you decide which type of event best fits the needs of your community. Please choose the event model that best suits your location no later than November 30. If you do not respond by the posted deadline, the state coordinators will default your selection to Event Model 1.

17 Event Model 1: FAFSA Filing and Support Only This event model offers onsite FAFSA filing and support staff for participants questions. The focus and goal of this event is to have participants submit a completed FAFSA before leaving or ask questions regarding a FAFSA that they filed before attending the event. The audience that would benefit from this model of event is graduating seniors in high school and/or currently enrolled or prospective college students. An effective way to promote this event is in high schools with graduating seniors and at local colleges. The event works well in smaller communities with limited space and resources. This is the most popular model of College Goal Sunday nationwide. Because this model focuses on FAFSA submission and one-on-one help, it is important to recruit at least one financial aid (FA) expert per FAFSA filing room and approximately one FA advisor for every 8 students. Event Model 2: FAFSA Filing plus Understanding Financial Aid Event Model 2 offers FAFSA filing and workshops and resources for families and participants about financial aid, the award process, and paying for college. The target audience is similar to that in Event Model 1 graduating seniors as well as current or aspiring college students. However, high school juniors and their families could also benefit from the workshops as they consider the upcoming year of college planning and applications. If this model is chosen, a recorded PowerPoint presentation will be provided for you to play continuously throughout the event that addresses understanding financial aid, the award process, and how to pay for college. Resource material will be provided to supplement the presentation.

18 Event Model 3: FAFSA Filing plus On-site Tax Preparation Event Model 3 is similar to Model 1 with the addition of an on-site United Way Real$ense Representative to assist students and families in filing their tax returns at no cost. CGS!Florida State coordinators are available to assist site coordinators in finding a local United Way Real$ense Representative; however, we cannot guarantee their availability for your event. Workshops and resources from Model 2 can be included in Model 3, upon request.

19 Questions to Assess Your Community Use the following questions as a guide to determine the model of event that works best for your community and target audience. How many students do you expect to attend your event? How many volunteers do you expect to help at your event? What are some possible site locations for your event? What types of resources are available at the event site? How big is the event venue? Which target audience best describes your community? How and where will you focus outreach efforts to let this audience know about your event? Which resources will you offer at the event: workshops or seminars? Will you provide one-on-one help with the FAFSA and/or tax filing support?

20 Planning Timeline for Event Organization This timeline is provided as a general guide to help you organize your event on a monthby-month schedule. Task force member specific timelines are available in the coordinating workbooks in the back of this manual. A space is provided to write in important meeting and training dates and deadlines. SEPTEMBER Start assembling your task force team. Decide the basic event details such as location, date, and time. Complete the Site Registration Form. OCTOBER Receive site selection notification. NOVEMBER Begin working with your volunteer coordinator to recruit event volunteers. All volunteers are required to register online at: Organize and hold planning and check-in meetings with your task force members. At this point, all members should be actively recruiting volunteers, promoting the event, and seeking out community sponsors. Draft an agenda for your event. If you are planning giveaways and door prizes for your event, work with the fundraising/sponsorship coordinator to begin securing donations. Make sure all donations are listed on the appropriate in-kind forms.

21 DECEMBER Continue managing your task force members to make sure everyone is on track. It is important to promote in the schools before winter break. Participate in a site coordinator teleconference hosted by state coordinators. Complete your event agenda. JANUARY Finalize volunteer list with state coordinators. Participate in line-by-line FAFSA training provided by state coordinators (late January). Check in on your site and make sure Internet security is lifted so students can access internet, and FAFSA websites. Print out all the necessary documents for your event. For example, in-kind forms for volunteers, volunteer sign-in sheets, surveys, and participant registration sheets.

22 FEBRUARY and WRAP-UP Conduct your final task force or volunteer meeting before the event. Prepare packets and handouts for students. Conduct your event. Good Luck! Conduct a debriefing meeting with task force members to organize remaining tasks and collect necessary staff time documentation. Complete the wrap-up tasks listed in the follow-up , i.e. in-kind forms and site lead evaluation and reports. Submit wrap-up documents within one month from the end date of your event(s). Send thank-you notes to your task force members and volunteers.

23 Event Quick Reference Event Date(s): Event Location: Task Force Contact Information Name Phone/ Volunteer Coordinator Community Outreach and Marketing Coordinator Fundraising/Sponsorship Coordinator Event Contacts

24 Task Force Resources Some resources for the specific positions of your task force members are provided online. These online resources help build an understanding of topics such as sponsorship opportunities within a community, outreach to specific audiences of students, and navigating the media. Note: Some College Goal Sunday USA hyperlinks may prompt you for a user id and password. If prompted, please close the window and the document will load correctly. Site Coordinators: Engaging task force members: embers.pdf Outreach and Marketing Guide: College Access Marketing Campaign Manual: esearchandtoolkit.pdf o Targeting and positively influencing diverse audiences: on.pdf o Selecting target audiences and messages: iencesandmessages.pdf Logo Usage Requirements: Visual Guideline Requirements: CGS!Florida%20Visual%20Guidelines.pdf Media Talking Points: CGS!Florida%20Media%20Talking%20Points.pdf

25 Fundraising: Fundraising Manual: f Identification of Partners and Funders: The CGS!Florida website has a variety of tools and resources to promote your event and to provide students and parents during CGS!Florida. The following resources are available: Event Poster Sample: /Content/Documents/CGS!Florida PosterFlyer.pdf Pre-printed, 11 x 17 inches Hang this poster in schools and community places such as libraries, churches, and community centers to advertise your event. to request posters no later than December 5, A maximum of 15 posters per site are available. If additional posters are needed, host site coordinators are encouraged to work with the official CGS!Florida printer and use the administrative budget or in-kind donations to cover the costs. Contact Jan Smith for additional information. Posters will be mailed no later than January 1, Host site coordinators will be provided with the shipment tracking information via . Other Resources CGS!Florida will be providing plastic bags to distribute to students and families. The state coordinators recommend including each of the following items in each bag: Navigating Your Future s Seeking Financial Aid brochure Navigating Your Future s Searching for Scholarships brochure Navigating Your Future s Bright Futures Scholarship brochure Navigating Your Future s Bright Futures Scholarship Program/FLVC bookmark

26 NASFAA s Cash for College CGS!Florida Tip Sheet The state coordinators will provide an order form to request these materials no later than January 5, All orders must be received no later than January 30, Orders will be shipped no later than February 15, Host site coordinators will be provided with the shipment tracking information via . Note: There should be no promotional materials for any lender, school, college, military branch, financial services that charge a fee, or any other business at a site. This is not an opportunity to recruit or solicit families and students for business or marketing opportunity. The purpose of College Goal Sunday is completion of the FAFSA. Day of the Event Your months of planning have ended, and it is the day of your event. This section provides you with resources and checklists to help you run the event smoothly and provide participants with the information they need to stay college bound. Roles of volunteers before, during, and after the event How to track your event and participation Student packets and resources Checklist for required event documents Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities A smoothly run event will have multiple volunteer roles for the duration of the event. While all the positions on this list are not required, the following roles are most helpful in assisting students and families during CGS!Florida events. We recommend a dress code for volunteers that includes a CGS!Florida volunteer lanyard (provided by CGS!Florida). For example, white shirts and jeans or white shirts and khaki pants will allow all volunteers to be easily identifiable. CGS!Florida is designed to be a neutral environment and volunteers are prohibited from using this avenue to promote their own product or service. Therefore, volunteers are strictly prohibited from wearing any clothing or identification that is specific to their school,

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