While students are busy studying for their first exams, Yuba Community College District’s financial aid offices are filling with scholarship, grant and financial aid opportunities for nearly every type of student and interest.
After moving out of their parents’ homes many students are just starting to learn how to balance a job and checkbook around paying bills with a roommate. Eventually, these students ask themselves: “How am I going to pay for school?” Becoming uncomfortably familiar with the phrase, “starving student,” many find themselves tightening their belts as they study for the next quiz.
“Its sad when you hear about students who’ve given up on getting an education simply because they figured they couldn’t afford it,” a former Woodland Community College student remarked. “There are scholarships and grants out there just waiting to be awarded to students who need it. All they have to do is talk to someone. I did, and now I inform others.”
There are scholarships available for a variety of majors and field interests, like the Association of California Water Agencies scholarship, which will be awarding three $3,000 scholarships this spring to people who demonstrate commitment to the field of water resources.
The American Chemical Society Scholars Program states its goal is “to promote diversity in the chemical sciences.” By providing funds for Hispanic-American, African-American, and Native-American students, this scholarship is one of many funds available to minorities.
There are also programs that are based on specific criteria, such as the First in My Family Scholarship, which is offered to Hispanic-American students who maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average, are the first in their family to attend college and have financial need.
Students should continue to check in with the financial aid office on their campus because sometimes special funds become available through private groups or programs to promote interest in a study, like the $500 scholarship offered by The American Iris Society, Region 14.
If the students cannot find scholarships or grants that apply to their needs, major, or ethnic group, there are usually programs available for students who have family in the military. Students can also be awarded a scholarship if they are members of groups like the Kiwanis Club, or belong to certain churches.
Other scholarship funds exist to aid those who are in immediate need or overcoming a disaster, like the funds available for students who were affected by Hurricane Katrina and who are currently attending Yuba Community College. There is also The Sallie Mae 911 Education Fund, which explains its criteria as “open to children of those who were killed or permanently disabled as a result of the terrorist attacks (on September 11, 2001), and who are enrolled as full-time undergraduate students.”
Students who cannot make the trek to the financial aid office may also look up scholarship and grant information on the YCCD Financial Aid website at http://www.yccd.edu/financialaid/index.html. Listed on the site are several pages worth of possibilities. If the list doesn’t provide any opportunities, it is best to speak with a financial aid representative, as they have access to information about upcoming grants and scholarships which may not be posted yet.
A psychology student at Woodland Community College explained, “I work full-time in the fast food industry, and I am also a part-time student. I struggled a lot last year to pay for my school. I never even thought about getting financial aid to help.” But as she opened the envelope containing her financial aid check, she yelled, “Oh my goodness, it’s so much more than I thought!”
Imagine the possibilities when students can shift all of the stress spent worrying about paying for school onto cramming for the big midterm.