Seven UC Davis undergraduates have the opportunity to receive tuition support from ASUCD in amounts of $500 or $1,000 this fall.
All students are welcome to apply, although ASUCD encourages students who are first-generation college attendees, who have endured personal hardship and who possess exceptional leadership skills, among other qualities. Since the scholarship aims to aid students who have extenuating circumstances, there is no minimum GPA requirement.
“ASUCD wants to ensure that this is a scholarship that every undergraduate is able to access,” said third-year international relations major Carly Sandstrom, who is leading the efforts in fundraising for the endowment and is the former External Affairs Commission chair for ASUCD. “Some students may not have the best GPA due to having to work three jobs to continue to go to school, and we do not want to exclude those outstanding Aggies who need the most financial support.”
ASUCD President Rebecca Sterling agreed.
“The ASUCD scholarship is unique to most other campus scholarships because it is accessible to every undergraduate student,” said Sterling, a fourth-year international relations and psychology double major. “There are many students that are highly qualified recipients, but are not able to receive them because their GPA is not high enough. We aim to bring relief to the many deserving students who are facing unique and extremely challenging circumstances,” she said.
The scholarship recipients are chosen by a committee comprised of six students: the ASUCD vice president, the Academic Affairs Commission chair, the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission chair, two ASUCD senators and the ASUCD Controller with oversight from the ASUCD business manager.
Third-year biochemistry and molecular biology major Michelle Perez was one of last year’s recipients and expressed her thoughts on the scholarship.
“Programs like their scholarship really can make the difference for students like me between being able to afford to attend college and not being able to afford to attend it,” said Perez, a full-time student, mother of an autistic child and part-time hospital worker. “Sadly, financial aid doesn’t cover all the costs. Tuition has increased and federal grants have decreased. To cover the difference, loans must increase, which means more debt for students. This shows how hard it is to afford a college education, especially for someone like me who is the only one working to provide for my family. Before the scholarship, I felt like I was running out of options, and when it was awarded to me, it felt like a godsend.”
The ASUCD Awards Endowment Fund was created in 1999 and has since grown to $300,000 in endowment. This year, the fund aims to raise an additional $100,000 in hopes of increasing the yearly scholarship amount awarded from $10,000 to $18,000. ASUCD has launched a matching campaign to meet every dollar donated up to $50,000.
ASUCD plans to raise the money through partnerships with departments such as the Fire and Police Department and the Mondavi Center, as well as various fundraising initiatives through ASUCD units, including the Coffee House.
“I think what ASUCD is doing is truly finding a way to serve students,” Sandstrom said. “Our tuition has doubled since 2005, and I think we need to find a way to give back to students to help alleviate the burden of tuition and fees as they continue to rise.”
The application will be posted Wednesday at the ASUCD website and will be available for two weeks, until Oct. 31.
STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at email@example.com.