Mastery High School of Camden student empathizes with peers who need financial help with higher education, encourages completion of financial aid form - Mastery Charter School
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Mastery High School of Camden student empathizes with peers who need financial help with higher education, encourages completion of financial aid form

TAPINTO CAMDEN
BY JANEL "JAYCEE" MILLER

This article is sponsored by the Camden Education Fund.

CAMDEN, NJ – Mastery High School of Camden senior Milan Dargan said she knows what it is like to not have a lot of money.

“I come from a low-income family,” she told TAPinto Camden. “My mom is currently unemployed because she is disabled and she takes care of me and my little brother.”

She continued, “my upbringing consisted of a lot of enforcing education and wanting to learn and wanting to challenge myself.”

Dargan said she is also facing a financial challenge in paying for her higher education. Therefore, she said she spends half her school day at Camden County College getting a head start on her college credits. She also said she intends to simultaneously enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps at The College of New Jersey to defray some college costs. However, she acknowledged those two efforts may not cover all of her college expenses.

Dargan completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form in the hopes of receiving more financial aid. She was one of several city of Camden students who participated in a news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 23, to encourage as many of their fellow seniors to do the same.

 

“Anybody should try to get any type of assistance,” Dargan said during the news conference. “Take advantage of it … it is for us. This opportunity is free. It takes about 15 minutes … and does not take too much effort.”

The news conference also served as the kickoff for the Camden Education Fund (CEF)-sponsored FAFSA challenge among the city high schools to see which one has the highest completion rate, according to Giana Campbell, executive director of the CEF. The school that succeeds in that mission will get $25,000 from the CEF, according to Campbell.

This year, as an added incentive for students to complete a FAFSA form, high school seniors in Camden are competing against their counterparts from Newark to see which city has the higher average number of students completing FAFSA forms, Campbell told TAPinto Camden.

If the city of Camden wins, the New Jersey Children’s Foundation in Newark will pay Camden $10,000, Campbell said. If the city of Newark wins, CEF will pay Newark that same amount, she said. Only FAFSA forms completed by April 19 will count and the winning district will be announced May 3 at Citywide College Signing Day, Campbell said.