Students seeking information on financial aid for college can get free access to a computer on-line service geared toward minorities at the Golden State Minority Foundation's Resource Center in Downtown.
The center, which opened last month, offers high school and college students computer access to several on-line outfits, including the Minority OnLine Information Service. The Washington-based service provides information to help minorities find scholarships, financial aid and federal grants.
The computer system, which was donated by John Foley, president of the computer company ByteWorks, also offers access to CompuServe, Prodigy and America Online.
The center's library of books about scholarships and financial aid also includes college catalogues. A copy of "Free Application for Federal Student Aid," which lists financial aid and scholarship requirements for all Southern California colleges and universities, is also available at the center.
Students who come to the center can research information on college financing. Student questions are answered by Ivan A. Houston, executive director of the resource center.
"Most colleges provide scholarship and financial aid information to appeal to the majority of students," Houston said. "Sometimes, this practice overlooks the minority student, whose need for monetary assistance is usually much greater."
Students can learn about little-known scholarships, such as one offered by an East Coast college to students who have been turned down for student aid elsewhere, said Maxine Tatlonghari, a Golden State spokeswoman.
"You have this huge amount of different scholarship opportunities," Tatlonghari said. "You can come in and say, 'I'm interested in such and such. Could you point me to the right direction?' "
While a 1994 study showed that more African Americans and Latinos are attending college, these students tend to drop out sooner than other students, Tatlonghari said. A primary reason, according to the study by the American Council of Education, is a lack of funding, Tatlonghari said.
The resource center, 1055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1115, is open to minority students currently enrolled in classes with a valid school identification. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays.
Information: (800) 666-4763.