Turning Over a New LEAF

Help Paying for College is Here


LEAF in Action

     It’s springtime! Along with the warm temperatures and bright sun come acceptance and rejection letters from West Geauga seniors’ hopeful colleges. However, just because someone is accepted by a college does not mean he or she will be able to afford the costly tuitions of those universities. LEAF advisor, Mrs. Sandy Hanley, is here to help West Geauga students find ways to make college, as well as the application process, more affordable for their families.

     Ms. Sandy is a member of the Lake-Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation, an organization designed to help students go to college, without crashing their credit and racking up unnecessary debt. LEAF advisors can save students money by filling out forms to waive fees related to taking the ACT, helping them fill out forms for financial aid, and presenting alternate schools if their “dream college” is too expensive.

     Mrs. Hanley has been a LEAF advisor for six years, also working with Riverside, Chardon, and Mentor high school students. As a mother of three students who have successfully gone through the college process, she is a seasoned veteran who knows how to navigate the system.

     Spring, however, is the busiest part of the year for her. Students receive their letters for collegiate financial aid, soon realizing that the school they planned on attending might not be in their price range anymore. “It’s heartbreaking to see all of these kids that can’t go where they want. The government’s loan will only cover a decent portion of the cost of school, and, often times, that isn’t enough: even with all of the financial deductions we get.”

     Mrs. Hanley’s biggest success story during the last six years involved a poor student who was academically prepared for college but did not have the means to pay for the tuition. After working with Mrs. Hanley, the student was able to enroll in classes at Ohio State University without having to pay a dime. “This is the kind of case that I do this job for,” Hanley said. “Seeing someone beat the odds like that is awesome and I hope there [are] other people in that situation [who] I can help.”

     The biggest thing Mrs. Hanley wants people to know from this article is that assistance from LEAF and its advisors is FREE of charge to students and parents. Students are encouraged to go to the library conference room on any Wednesday (during fifth period) to discuss financial aid with her.