College Access


Financial Aid U

College attendance rates for low-income students are 20-40% below high-income students. It’s time to level the playing field! The cost of attending college is a major barrier for low-income individuals, and it’s only going up. Financial Aid U helps students achieve the dream of going to college by providing students with assistance they need to find financial aid resources that will help them pay for post-secondary education. 

Access to financial aid is critical for our youth, but unfortunately many of our high school students convince themselves out of college because of the complexity of financial aid. Financial Aid U advises high school students on how to apply for the financial resources they need to achieve their dreams of higher education.

Financial Aid U aims to:

  • Increase the number of low-income students who enroll in post -secondary education
  • Secure lessons learned to develop recommendations to simplify the FAFSA and align the FAFSA and tax preparation process
  • Provide one-on-one service to parents and students, serving as a guide through the FAFSA process and helping them understand their financial options. 

To find out more about Financial Aid U, contact us.

To volunteer to assist students with financing for post-secondary education, visit our volunteer registration link


Vincent D. Pavese Scholarship

The Vincent D. Pavese Scholarship was established years ago as a memorial to Vincent D. Pavese, a former President and Chief Professional Officer of United Way of Passaic County.  Mr. Pavese held this office until his untimely death in January 1993.  The Pavese family established a scholarship to honor the memory of Mr. Pavese and his commitment to community and service.  

United Way of Passaic County is currently accepting applications for the Vincent D. Pavese Scholarship.   Scholarships will be awarded to two Passaic County high school seniors who have exhibited a commitment to community service and who plan to pursue a career in public service such as government, social work, health care, and education.

Scholarship applicants must plan to attend an accredited college or university upon graduation from high school. Eligible applicants must also qualify for financial aid and plan to pursue a career in public service (government, social work, education, recreation, public health and welfare and law enforcement, etc.) 
For additional information or for any questions, please contact Paula Smalling, Scholarship Coordinator.  

New! Scholarships for Skilled Trades

Two $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to Paterson high school seniors who plan to pursue a career in skilled trades. Examples of skilled trades include building maintenance, carpentry, electrical, HVAC, interior design, masonry and plumbing.

Scholarship applicants must plan to attend an accredited trade school upon graduation from high school and plan to pursue a career in the skilled trade category.

Applications and criteria information can be found here.

For additional information or questions please contact Paula Smalling

Deadline for all applications is April 30, 2022.