Students unaware of scholarship options, pathways

Low number of students applied for 2014 scholarships

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

Continuing and transferring students who have yet to take advantage of scholarship opportunities have the chance to in the upcoming year.

Contra Costa College offers a wide variety of scholarships ranging from $200 to $10,000, but students lack interest in taking the initiative to apply for the available scholarships.

Students do not invest time in searching for available scholarships, though the information is all right there, La Raza studies counselor and professor Alfred Zuniga said.

Last year there were only 450 applications submitted in total, scholarship program coordinator Jennifer Dyment said. About $200,000 was given to the 90 students who turned in various applications for the 2014 scholarships.

In addition to a small amount of scholarships applications being submitted, there were various majors whose scholarships received no applications at all. These included journalism, political science, speech, anthropology, economics, sociology and foreign language.

Although the money is there, students are not taking advantage of it.

Student Lidia Brand said that so many students apply for the same scholarships, but she is not as competitive as other students. Scholarships are not an option she considers. They are not aware of the scholarship opportunities that are out there for them.

Students do not often seek help in finding and applying for scholarships, Zuniga said.

Applications for 2015 began Nov. 11 and will continue to be accepted until March 9. They must be submitted by no later than noon of that day. There is no limit in the number of scholarships students can apply for.

Students interested in applying for scholarships can verify which ones they meet the requirements for, and which are more convenient for them.

There are more than 60 scholarships, which the CCC Foundation provides. Their prizes range from $250 to $1,500. There are also scholarships funded by external organizations, which have been approved by the college. Those include individual donors, organizations, businesses and foundations. Some scholarships have up to $10,000. Aside from scholarships available for the different majors, the scholarships all come with minimum GPA requirements that vary so students must be sure to meet the GPA requirements for their scholarship selections.

A student must write an essay and submit two reference letters to complete the application. It is highly recommended to ask for letters ahead of time, and right now would be a great time to begin, Dyment said.

The benefit with this requirement is that the reference letter does not have to be limited to the students’ professors.

They can come from anyone who is a part of CCC’s staff.

It can also be a family member or anyone that can give a better understanding of the student. This can be an employer, club leader, coach or someone for whom the student has volunteered. It is required that the application is turned in completed by the due date. Late applications will not be accepted.

There is a panel of judges in charge of choosing the recipients.

The group is made up of faculty, board members and volunteers.

When the recipients of the scholarships are selected, they are notified through their Insite Portal emails.