KENTFIELD, CA—December 15, 2016—This week College of Marin (COM) and scholarship donors celebrated a record number of scholarships awarded to students, helping them overcome personal and financial hardships and pursue their academic dreams. The student scholarship reception highlighted the tremendous impact of financial support to the College.
“I’ve always wanted to go to college,” said Chelsea Hampshire, 27, a licensed hairdresser and first generation college student who is on her way to becoming a nurse.
Hampshire works part-time on campus as she finishes prerequisites for the nationally acclaimed nursing program at COM. Cost-of-living and health issues had been taking a toll, she says, and the “super-appreciated” funds have helped cover the cost of gas and expensive textbooks.
“I want to tell donors how much they help students help themselves,” Hampshire said.
So far COM students have received 224 scholarships worth a total value of $148,775 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. An additional $114,264 was awarded to 207 local high school seniors in honor of COM’s 90th anniversary. There are also a number of drama scholarships still to be awarded at the department’s upcoming banquet.
“We’re only halfway through the 2016-2017 fiscal year and we’ve already given out more than twice as much in scholarships,” said Marixa Barnett, who attended the biannual Scholarship Reception held Tuesday at the Kentfield Campus. As a College enrollment services associate, Barnett works directly with scholarship recipients and knows how important the funds are for students who are juggling the demands of working, family obligations, and going to school.
Part of the credit for the year-over-year increase goes to Academic Works, a new online scholarship database that facilitates the application process.
For Carlos Garcia Jimenez, a full-time business administration student who commutes to the College from his family’s home in the East Bay, the scholarships he’s received have made an enormous difference. Garcia Jimenez, 20, has been working about 30 hours a week while taking 19 units. Scholarships help cover his educational expenses, which frees up his earned income for rent and bills.
“It’s helped me focus more on school,” he said. “It had been kind of stressful, but when I found out [about the scholarships] I was really motivated to keep going.”
Generous donors have made it possible for aspiring music educator Lin-Yu Diaz, 32, to stay in school full-time, work part-time, and parent her two young boys. Diaz is a single mother who learned English as a child through singing with the Marin Girls Chorus.
“The scholarships have been absolutely instrumental in my education,” she says. “I’m learning how to conduct, to teach, to sing, so I can pass music on to kids,” Diaz says. “They help my entire life. Otherwise, I’d still be at a [coffee shop] making $10 an hour.”
“Every student’s story is different, but the financial gap in paying for college is still a reality for many College of Marin students,” said Linda P. Frank, executive director of development at COM’s Advancement Office.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the College can provide scholarship assistance and enable greater academic success for deserving students who want to graduate and give back to society,” Frank said. “What is particularly special is that the donor-supported scholarships instill in students a greater sense of accomplishment and the motivation to succeed.”