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Early College High recognized for student aid applications

Sarah Yarbrough didn’t have a lot of advice when she was in high school about how to get financial aid for college.

She had to do a lot of research on her own and then learn more as she got older.

Now she’s a high school counselor at Jackson Central-Merry Early College High, and Jackson-Madison County Schools and her school leadership appreciate her for her work in educating high school seniors and their parents of the need to stay on top of filling out paperwork to get financial aid in the form of grants and student loans.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has recognized JCM-ECH as a FASFA Champion because 55 of the 57 students in the school’s senior class have filled out their FASFA forms.

“I started talking to the students in October when they could first register with FASFA until March,” said Yarbrough, who’s in her first year working for JMCSS. “And as more and more time went on, I was hitting them up, hitting up their parents or grandparents who whomever their legal guardian is to make sure these forms were being filled out.

“Because it wasn’t that long ago I was in their place, and filling out FASFA forms was a big help for me. And I want to make sure as many of our students here as possible have access to that financial aid if college is where they think they want to go.”

“FASFA” stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it’s where a lot of college students get grant funds from to pay their college tuition.

JCM-ECH Principal Nathan Lewis said he’s got a child who’s a senior at Madison Academic, and he too was a recipient of some of Yarbrough’s e-mails and text messages until he did his part in filling out forms for his child.

“I can tell you from first-hand experience that she’s persistent,” Lewis said laughing. “But if that’s what our students and we as parents and guardians need, then Sarah is an asset to our school and our students.

“I know because we filled out our form, I’m grateful that we did fill it out and it’s very possible we wouldn’t have had it not been for Sarah.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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