(Santa Ana, CA) - Twenty-five Santa Ana College students are about to have a brighter future. The Santa Ana College Foundation has officially launched its new Near-Completers Career and Technical Education (CTE) Scholarship for the 2020-2021 academic year. The scholarship, which will be awarded to 25 students, represents the Foundation’s ceaseless commitment to raise the game for not only Santa Ana College students, staff, and faculty, but the community and economy at large, by aiding vulnerable students with needed resources to cross the finish line in reaching their educational and employment goals. This scholarship was created by several donors that are passionate about getting these students to the finish line.
This impactful award is carefully tailored to ensure certificate completion of students returning or continuing CTE programs at SAC who currently need less than three classes or 20 percent of required units to complete. Scholarship applicants meet with a CTE counselor to aid in registration in required classes remaining for certificate completion.
Thelma Herrera, a Medical Assisting program student, is one of the initial 25 recipients of the scholarship. Herrera initially enrolled in classes in 2008 but dropped out, after losing herself in a life of drug use and gang activity. She ultimately spent time in prison.
She has since turned her life around and is on her way to completing her certificate. Her dream, she said, was to improve the lives of others. On her application for her scholarship, she said her dream is to “Put myself last in order to help someone in need.” With the odds stacked against her, working full-time and overtime while raising three children, Herrera re-enrolled at SAC in 2017 to attain her long-time goal of becoming a first responder.
Herrera applied for the scholarship after being laid off from her job of five years after COVID-19 took a toll on her industry. The $1,000 CTE scholarship is ensuring Herrera has the financial resources needed to persevere and complete her certificate by the spring 2021 semester.
To prepare students for a variety of professional careers, SAC offers more than 60 occupational programs and certificates, and will give scholarship recipients the ability to enter a new or better job in their field of choice with completely different leverage capacity upon completion. Whether students are looking for new employment or to level up in their current career, the scholarship aims to incentivize and motivate students to complete their certificates within one academic year and ultimately obtain higher-wage, in-demand careers.
The transformative power of scholarship in building stronger communities is evident, not only in Herrera’s story but in each of the other 24 recipients of this prestigious award. This award will directly impact SAC’s certificate and completion rates and will increase opportunities for students and the Santa Ana community as a whole.
“The partnership with SAC Foundation and our students with this scholarship is such a nod to the power of, 'together we can achieve more'," said Armando Soto, Associate Dean of SAC Counseling. “Based on individual student’s stories and circumstances, we understand that this scholarship will be the difference for them to complete their academic goals and life dreams. It is an honor to be a part of this process and I would like to thank Dr. Maria De La Cruz and Marisela Godinez for serving on the screening committee and the funders of the scholarship, who have provided this wonderful resource. We are so excited for our students and wish them our best.”
In collaboration with the SAC Dean of Counseling and the Career Development/CTE counselors, the Foundation scholarship team established key guidelines to safeguard funds, ensuring they are reserved for the most deserving of candidates. Strategically designed to incentivize near-completers to follow through, the award is disbursed in two $500 increments; once upon verification of enrollment in the fall semester, and once during the spring semester, proving all required credits for certificate completion are met. A direct relationship between financial need and certificate completion is required making this award exceptionally critical in the success of returning CTE students.
For additional information about the Santa Ana College Foundation, its commitment to supporting SAC students, and to learn more about scholarship opportunities available, visit sac.edu/foundation and rtgcampaign.org.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.