The Oct. 1 application deadline for more than a dozen scholarships available to students at Pierce College is one week away, but despite efforts to advertise them, many scholarships may once again go unused.
The Foundation for Pierce College awards 13 scholarships, each worth $1,000, to selected applicants every spring. Two of those are given by the Reseda Women’s Club. In a break from its normal practice the foundation will award scholarships for the fall 2015 semester.
“This is a good opportunity for students because we normally don’t offer scholarships in the fall,” said Denise Robb, chair of the Foundation for Pierce College.
With prices of textbooks and class supplies at record highs, scholarships are meant to aid students with their college expenses. However, the number of completed scholarship applications remains low.
According to Alyssa Banarer, 23, the low number of applicants is due in part to a lack of advertising. A third-year art major at Pierce, Banarer said it was not until summer 2014 that she learned of the scholarships offered through the foundation.
“There could be a bit more advertising across the campus because this is important,” Banarer said. “Posters around the mall area or a booth set up during the first month of classes to spread the word would be great.”
However, Robb believes that the problem is not so much marketing as it is the students’ impression that the process is intimidating and highly selective.
“Many students feel that scholarships are only given to the ‘perfect students,’ and that they aren’t deserving,” Robb said. “They get discouraged and don’t apply.”
Due to the lack of applicants, the majority of the money has gone unused in the past. Robb said she gives extra credit in an attempt to encourage her students to apply.
“I love my students and want them to lead happy fulfilling lives, which is why I push them to apply,” Robb said. “These scholarships cover so many expenses that it would really make a difference in their lives.”
Doreen Clay, public relations manager at Pierce College, is one of the panelists who select the winning applicants and has noted that in recent years there has been an increase in applicants during the spring semester.
“There are a lot of applicants,” Clay said. “Sometimes there are more applicants than there are scholarships.”
To apply for the scholarships, go to www.foundation.piercecollege.edu and click on “Scholarships,” then download, print, fill out and submit the application before Oct. 1. Students with questions should contact the Foundation for Pierce College at (818) 710-4206.