By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña
Hundreds of local students were awarded scholarships this month through a program that provides scholarships to students in various grade levels.
For the 2018-2019 school year, the Community Scholarship Program of the San Diego Foundation – a community foundation that allows donors to create foundations of their own – gave more than $2.6 million in scholarships to 876 students.
The Community Scholarship Program is one of the largest programs outside of university scholarships in San Diego County that provides financial aid to students.
The program awards scholarships to high school, college, and graduate students, as well as adults who are pursuing a higher education for a second time.
Of the many roadblocks first generation college students need to overcome when pursuing a higher education is a lack of financial resources, which can most often deter students from attending college or leave them with a large amount of debt after graduation.
Based off research, the Public Policy Institute of California found that students from underserved communities are greatly underrepresented in colleges and universities.
According to a San Diego Foundation press release, among the recipients for the 2018-2019 school year, “66 percent are the first in their families to attend college, and 76 percent are considered low-income students based on Expected Family Contribution data.”
For one of the scholarship awardees, Galilea Marin of Southwest High School, the scholarship signifies the key to the door of success, Marin said in a press release.
“Not only will this scholarship uphold the cost of my education, but it will ensure an overall peace of mind and happiness knowing that I have the financial support necessary as the first generation in my family to attend college,” Marin said.
Unlike scholarships given to students pursuing specific careers, the Community Scholarship Program awards students pursuing different of career paths.
In more than 20 years, the program has awarded more than $30.4 million to thousands of students, according to the release.
“As the cost of higher education rises, a significant deterrent to pursuing and finishing a degree is affordability,” Connie Matsui, interim chief executive officer at the San Diego Foundation said in a release. “The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program helps remove this barrier for San Diego youth and their families, enabling hundreds of students to achieve their educational goals every year.”
Aside from announcing their winners for this upcoming school year, the foundation also announced the Community Scholars Initiative – a partnership with several key players that will focus on helping hundreds of low-income and first generation students pay for college.
The partnership is with the College Futures Foundation, Reality Changers, and the Sweetwater Unified School District.