On a recent weeknight in a New York City high school classroom, 17-year-old Egady Torres sat surrounded by his parents, siblings and other students as he waited for a volunteer to call him into a computer lab and help him fill out the forms that might unlock the resources he needs to pay for college.

The process, said Torres, was “a little scary.”

Torres isn’t alone in finding the form — called the free application for U.S. Department of Education’s federal financial aid, or Fafsa — daunting. He was one of dozens of students at a workshop hosted by nonprofit New York Cares, which has already helped more than 900 families with the process this year.

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