Brandon Silveira

 

Brandon Silveira entered the foster care system as a teenager.  During his sophomore year of high school, he learned about the availability of financial aid from an “I Can Afford College” flyer.  He knew that if he could get the help he needed to cover his expenses, a college education was within reach.  And, he could be the example he wanted to set for his younger sisters and brother.

Brandon started his higher education journey at Sierra College in Rocklin, California.  He was able to live in the on-campus housing at Sierra College, and he found a job right away in the cafeteria on campus.  To cover his college fees, housing and other expenses, Brandon received the Pell Grant, Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver and Cal Grant B, as well as the Chaffee Grant, which is specifically for former foster youth.  He also worked full-time to help offset the cost of attendance.

After graduating from Sierra College, Brandon transferred to California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science.  He’s now working full time, and he plans to apply for graduate school in the near future.   

“When I was in grade school, I always wanted to become a teacher because I enjoy learning and want to provide an environment for youth where they feel safe to learn and grow,“ Brandon said.  “More recently, I’ve been thinking about becoming a California community college counselor, because I also enjoy listening to others’ goals and giving encouragement.”

Without financial aid, Brandon says he would not have been able to attend college right after high school, or graduate from college when he did.  He encourages any prospective student to learn more about the different types of financial aid that are available, to stay on top of all deadlines, and to talk with someone in their college financial aid office if they need help or have questions.    

“I told myself: I can afford college because I saw the flyer as a high school student, and I believed it to be true as long as I put forth the effort,” Brandon said.  “Receiving financial aid gave me confidence and hope for a brighter future.  Along the way I also met people who invited me into their family, and the additional support from them as parent figures gave me even more confidence to succeed.  For that, I am especially thankful to the Hill, Yates, Halleck and Williams families.”

Brandon knows that being a college student is about juggling priorities – but, it’s all worth it. You have to be prepared, and stay focused on your goal.

“Find out ahead of time the cost of housing and other bills, and how much your financial aid will cover,” Brandon said. “Always put homework first no matter what event you’ve been invited to or what your friends are doing.  Get a job on or near campus because working helps balance a person, not to mention the extra money needed for basic necessities.  You’ll make the right friends and meet the right people by working towards your educational goals.  You can afford college, too!”