Scholarships, grants abound

By Cindy Pantoja, Opinion Editor

The 2019-20 scholarship application season has started and with more than $180,000 in funding available in scholarships through the Contra Costa College Foundation, students should already be filling out their applications.
Any money is good money when trying to pay for college and scholarships offer students free money — usually awarded on a competitive basis.
Recipients have to demonstrate hard work, volunteerism, leadership and community service in order to be selected.
“Students are at the center of this scholarship process,” Foundation Development Officer Sara Marcellino said. “This is money donated from people who want our students to get an education.”
At CCC, there are three ways to get a scholarship — through the Contra Costa College Foundation, the Kennedy-King Scholarship and external (off-campus) scholarships.
According to the campus website, CCC Foundation Scholarships are a financial resource provided to students by the generosity of local businesses, community groups, alumni and a variety of other private donors.
Currently, the Foundation offers 70 scholarships for students who want to study at CCC and for students who plan to transfer to a four-year university.
The Foundation scholarship application process begins Nov. 1 and closes Feb. 18.
Students have to fill out one online application at and the system will match them with the right scholarships.
Only students who submit a complete application will be considered candidates for Foundation scholarships. lists the Bernard Osher as one of the scholarships offered by the Foundation and awards one student $1,100. The recipient must be enrolled at least half-time (six or more units) and have completed 24 or more units at CCC.
The Kennedy-King Scholarship is a fund that awards recipients with an annual $5,000 scholarship. It is for students who will transfer to a four-year accredited U.S. college or university to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Students can download an application at and have until Feb. 18 for submittal.
“I don’t know about scholarships, but I would like to know more because I’m about to transfer,” business management major Frenchie Lee said.
External scholarships are a financial resource offered by organizations outside of the CCC Foundation. These scholarships may be offered to students at the local, regional, statewide or even nationwide level.
The Horatio Alger Association Scholarship is listed on as a trusted external scholarship.
It awards $10,000 to a student who will graduate from a high school in California in 2019 with a minimum 2.0 GPA and can demonstrate financial hardships.
This past May, The Advocate reported about a malfunction in the system which granted scholarships with specific criteria to the wrong candidates.
It left students, such as those in the nursing department, without the opportunity to get specific scholarships.
A new requirement criterion was added to the selection system last term and the website is expected to work as it should this term.
“We are constantly working on the website trying to make it user-friendly. Over the summer, we were able to address and fix previous problems,” Marcellino said.
Scholarships come to those who apply early and take the time to fulfill all the requirements. It is a task that requires time and effort.
Many on campus know that students struggle with this process and workshops are available to help.
English department assistant professor Maritez Apigo said, “In our workshops, English professors help students with any stage of writing the UC personal insight questions.
During the spring semester, we will be offering the same services to students on their scholarship essays.”
The workshops are held in the Library and Learning Resource Center.
Students need to be registered in English 875N-2854, which is free, in order to use the services offered in LLRC-121.
Students often get caught up in the application process and it is estimated that filling out an application takes about two hours.
However, there are other requirements such two letters of recommendation, college transcripts and proof of community service work that would take more time to acquire.
Apigo said, “Don’t procrastinate. Let your true self and personality come out in your responses. The universities want to get to know you in a personal way. It’s something they can’t do from your transcripts and other parts of your application.”