Scholarship application process streamlined

By Gabriel Quiroz, Advocate Staff

Scholarships can have a huge impact in a student’s life. They can make the difference between having time for study and quality time with family or working countless hours to pay off tuition.

Livingson Azode, an international student from Nigeria majoring in mechanical engineering, said, “I know how difficult it can be to raise money for school as an independent. I can’t get a lot of scholarships because I’m not a citizen.”

The new online application for scholarships is helping Livingson to apply for scholarships that would be more relevant to him. Livingson said he is currently working on campus to pay for his tuition, but will hopefully get a scholarship so he will have more time to study and money to go towards his tuition when he transfers in Mechanical Engineering.

Michiko Wagner is a biotechnology major at Contra Costa College who received a scholarship from the San Pablo Economic Development Center. This scholarship paid 50 percent of her tuition.

Michiko said, “Without the scholarship it would have taken me more time to achieve my goals and I would have to work more and sacrifice my family time.” She applied for her scholarship because, she said, “I wanted more time to study and go to school. I want to take advantage of the resources available to me and graduate debt-free.”

Mia Henderson-Bonilla is the scholarship coordinator for CCC and is responsible for managing both on and off-campus scholarships. Henderson-Bonilla said the biggest project currently is the change from paper to online scholarship applications.

The change allows students to apply to over 80 scholarships at one time by answering six essay prompts, giving information about their GPA, extracurricular activities and unofficial transcript.

The scholarships are divided into departments, specialized programs and memorials.

Department’s scholarships include math, English, biology and others departments. Specialized program scholarships include the ASU, EOPS and other groups on campus. Memorial scholarships are on behalf of faculty members who have died. Among the over 80 scholarships available are opportunities for incoming freshmen, current students and transfer students.

The scholarships award amounts can range from $500, such as in the “cccwheresmycheck” scholarship that is meant to  make students feel empowered to fund their educational goals at Contra Costa College, to a new $3,000 scholarship for the culinary department called the Arizmendi Culinary Scholarship, from the Arizmendi Bakery in Oakland.

This scholarship pays for the entirety of tuition, supplies and books for a culinary student completing their second year in the culinary program. There is also the $5,000 William Worley Memorial Scholarship, which has a requirements that a student who has been accepted to transfer to a four-year college or university for the upcoming fall term and be a full time student.

Scholarships can be found at

Henderson-Bonilla said, “You have to put in work, but it’s worth it in the end and now that it’s online it’s a lot more streamlined and easier to apply for multiple scholarships. Even if you don’t win it, is still good practice for the future.

“Scholarship writing can help you with resume writing and developing professional skills for future job experience. The deadline for scholarships is (Thursday).”