Pierce College’s Foundation has been offering scholarships to help students achieve their academic goals; however, lack of submissions has advisers questioning students’ interest and eligibility.
Students can submit applications now through April 7. The winners will be announced at the Student Awards Brunch the morning of commencement on June 6, 2017.
Associate Professor of political science Denise Robb encourages students to apply for the scholarships before the deadline approaches.
“Often, students don’t know there are scholarships available,” Robb said. “You can apply to as many as you want in that section.”
According to the Pierce College Foundation website, there are eight different scholarships available that students can apply for ranging from $250 to $500.
The scholarships that are listed are the General Scholarship Fund, Saunders Initiative Scholarship, Larry Horn Memorial Scholarship, Spanish American Institute (SAI) Scholarship, Ken Weiser Memorial Scholarship Fund, Mona Field Scholarship, Marilyn and Stewart Robb Memorial Scholarship and Gold’s Inspiration Scholarship.
According to Robb, there are additional scholarships that are not listed on the website, but are offered by the department. The student can refer to their department chair if they are interested in applying.
“I know there’s only eight mentioned here, but I remember last year’s ceremony; it goes on for hours,” Robb said. “I know sports has their own scholarships, then dance department, journalism department, math departments and so on.”
Most of the scholarships require that the applicant be a full-time student (12 or more units), maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and write a one-page essay in which they describe the reason why they deserve the scholarship.
“We’ve had scholarships where no one applied, and the money just sat there and didn’t get used,” Robb said.
English Professor Marra Kraemer said the foundation struggled with getting applicants last year.
According to Kraemer, only four students applied for the English scholarship last year.
“We would like more students to apply, but the challenge is they think they don’t qualify, which the matter of fact is they do,” Kraemer said.
The Ahmadian Follett Scholarship is the English department’s scholarship. According to Kraemer, the student would need to have taken an English 21 course to qualify for that scholarship.
“I think there’s a confidence students get when they receive a scholarship. They feel like they represent their discipline,” Kraemer said. “That can often take students really far in their major.”
Pierce College Financial Aid Director Anafe Robinson said scholarships are an additional resource for students to help pay for expenses.
“There’s thousands of scholarships out there,” Robinson said. “Students shouldn’t be afraid of applying. What I have seen in the past is students are not taking advantage of scholarships, and sometimes there’s scholarships out there that haven’t been utilized or awarded because there haven’t been enough applicants.”
According to Robinson, applying for scholarships will not affect pell grant or financial aid applications. However, it may reduce the unmet need students receive if the student wins a scholarship.
“If the student receives a scholarship, we will add that as an award,” Robinson said. “It’s not really reducing; it’s in a different bucket. You’re not really losing out, it’s just reducing for need-based financial aid. Only need-based financial aid programs will reduce if you are receiving additional scholarships, which is fine because you want free money instead of taking out loans.”
According to Kraemer, they are looking for students who have a strong work ethic, have displayed dedication to learning and academic writing and English and have overcome obstacles during their semester.
“We’re not looking for that student who gets As, but how they apply that class to their future academic goals,” Kraemer said. “They may not be an English major, but maybe they’re finding what they’re learning in English 21 to help their writing in their classes.”
Students interested can find the eligibility requirements online at http://foundation.piercecollege.edu.