Foundation awards thousands in scholarship funds

By Roxana Amparo, News Editor

A variety of scholarships are annually offered to students through Contra Costa College Foundation Scholarships.

Some of the grants are exclusively for CCC students who need the financial help but are unable to apply or be accepted to FAFSA or are struggling to pay off their classes.

CCC Scholarship Program Coordinator Jennifer Dement said it is important to begin asking for reference letters, writing a personal statements and fulfilling scholarship requirements.

Applications for 2015 CCC Foundation scholarships must be submitted on Monday, March 9 at 12 p.m. in AA-203.

Although there is a process to completing the application, Dyment said getting applications ready early is worthwhile.

She said the first application might be a challenge for some students because it is difficult to write about themselves, but it pays off in the end.

She also advises students to share the qualities that make them unique, filling out the writing portion of the scholarship applications and to “just brag.”

Engineering major Sixto Turcios will be applying for some of the scholarships to ease the stress that comes with paying for tuition and books.

“I will be taking tough classes (next year), so scholarships will benefit me by taking some financial weight off of my back,” Turcios said. “It’ll give me extra time to focus on what is really important, my education.”

Dyment said there are 65-70 scholarships that range from $250 to $2,000 available for students.

There are two different kinds of scholarships available to students online: CCC Foundation Scholarships and outside scholarships, such as the Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship.

The Foundation scholarships include department and program scholarships, such as business department and history program scholarships.

Outside scholarships are from external organizations and businesses that offer scholarships for CCC students.

Applying for scholarships requires students to invest hours to write an essay and collect reference letters.

Dyment said it pays off if the student spends 10 hours working on scholarships and is selected. “Once you apply for one scholarship, you can multiply and apply for more.”

A selection committee made up of faculty, staff, Foundation board members and even private donors select the winners of the scholarships.

Some scholarships come from outside sources and have their own requirements, she said.

“Finance is the biggest issue,” Dyment said. “But scholarships allow students to graduate with less debt.”

Students submitted their Kennedy-King Scholarships last Wednesday. It was available to students enrolled in the Contra Costa Community College District.

Mechanical engineering major  Christian Tavera said it was his first time writing a personal statement but he said he is “grateful” he did because it made him eager to test his luck and apply for more.

“Once you apply for one, you can apply for more,” Tavera said. “It is like the domino effect.” He said he applied for the Kennedy-King Scholarship.

Dyment said reference letters may be “tweaked” to meet other scholarships students apply to.

She said scholarships that are applied to the most are the general scholarships, which usually grant a student $750, according to the scholarship age.

Sy and Beverly Zell Scholarship is another grant provided by the CCC  Foundation. It draws in applicants with $1,000 in awards.

According to CCC’s website, the general scholarship award is $750.