In the Media
League of Women Voters’ Civic Social features Access To Town Meeting Committee progress report
May 17, 2022
By SUBMITTED ARTICLE
WESTFORD — Access to Town Meeting Committee Chair Diane Wood will present the committee’s research and recommendations at the League of Women Voters’ virtual Civic Social at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the link to join the meeting.
Last September, the Select Board appointed a committee of 11 residents to investigate and recommend actions the town could take to increase attendance at Town Meeting. Recently, the Access to Town Meeting Committee presented its recommendations to the Select Board. Residents have an opportunity to learn more about those recommendations, and the process the committee went through, at the Civic Social.
The recommendations fall into several categories: make meetings shorter, more efficient and predictable; mitigate common barriers to attendance; optimize general town communications; educate residents about Town Meeting; and longer-term recommendations. The committee solicited input from town residents through a community survey that yielded more than 800 responses, as well as input from a questionnaire from more than 40 other towns conducted through the Massachusetts Moderators Association. In addition, the committee conducted in-depth interviews with a number of town officials.
Town Moderator Angela Harkness, along with town leadership, are currently reviewing the dozens of recommendations made by the committee with plans for implementation. For more information, visit westfordma.gov/1436.
MCC to host virtual walkthroughs on applying for financial aid
Middlesex Community College strives to help make getting an education more affordable for students. This includes guiding them through completing their Free Application for Financial Assistance (FAFSA). The Middlesex Office of Financial Aid will host two virtual FAFSA Walkthroughs through uAspire to prepare students to fill out the form.
“It is so important for MCC students to know that financial aid is available to them and that many often receive more assistance than they would realize upon applying,” said Kimberly Tibbetts, MCC director of financial aid. “By partnering with uAspire, the college is creating another avenue for students to gain a better understanding of what the FAFSA is, how to complete it, and why financial aid is beneficial for them.”
The uAspire FAFSA walkthroughs will provide an overview of the FAFSA, as well as how to complete the form and get financial aid. Both sessions will take place online at 6:30 p.m. May 26 and June 15.
In addition to the two virtual events, MCC students can text the platform to meet with a uAspire adviser and receive a response within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. Advisers are also available via a phone call and on Zoom. Free and confidential for students, the nonprofit helps keep students informed from the start of their education to the completion of their degrees.
“One of the biggest barriers our students face in getting an affordable education is not having the information or resources to guide them,” said Deborah Marsella, MCC associate director of financial aid. “The uAspire Walkthroughs and advisor services are more ways to get the word out on the value of financial aid and how students can access it.”