More Than 500 Scholarships Available

Agnes Constante

It might take hard work to make money, but with a GCC scholarship application, it’s hardly any work.

Students who submit applications by this Friday may qualify for some of the $300,000 available in scholarship funds.

Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and have completed 12 units at the college to be eligible. Transferring students who have met these requirements may also qualify for additional awards to help pay for costs at their transfer institutions.

Susan Borquez-Dougherty, the scholarship program manager, said she would like to see more students apply for scholarships offered at the college.

“Just by filling out one simple application that takes you 20 minutes, you have a chance at getting money to help you [pay] for school,” she said.

By completing and submitting one application, students are automatically considered for all scholarships that match their eligibility criteria.

More than 500 scholarships are awarded to students each school year. Award amounts range from $200 to $3,500.

Despite the current economy, Borquez-Dougherty could not say whether she expects the number of applicants this year to surpass that of previous years.

“Many students don’t know that we have a scholarship program,” she said.
Of the estimated 18,000 students attending GCC, fewer than 800 submitted applications last school year.

Information about scholarships has been posted on the college’s Twitter and Facebook to help spread the word. Flyers have also been posted around campus highlighting the simple scholarship requirements.

Borquez-Dougherty also makes presentations in student development classes to encourage students to submit applications.

“When I go to classrooms I always say, ‘Who wants free money that you don’t want to work for?’ And everybody raises their hand,” she said.

Psychology major Sally Morgan, who was a scholarship recipient for the spring and fall of 2009, said that students “should definitely apply [for the scholarships] because it’s only going to take you 30 minutes.

“Even if you get $200, you’re going to get $200 for [filling an application] for 30 minutes, where if you were to work, you only get paid $8 an hour or $9 an hour.”
Since no essay is required, “It’s an easy application,” she said.

Morgan used her award in the spring to pay for books she needed in the summer session. She allocated the award she received in the fall to help pay for school this semester.

Student Allan Beglarian has applied for the scholarship each semester since he began attending GCC. He said he has applied for the scholarship for four semesters.

“Every time I applied I was awarded something,” he said.
His awards helped him cover the cost of books and transportation.

When asked whether he thought students should apply, Beglarian said, “Absolutely. If you have the need . you’ll probably get something.”

There are many scholarship categories available to match the diverse student body of the college. Some are specifically designated for disabled students, nursing students, single parents, those belonging to certain ethnic groups and those who want to become teachers.

Other awards are designated for students pursuing certain majors, including nursing, business and aviation.

Scholarships are funded by outside organizations and private donors. Organizations include the Patron’s Club, comprised of retired GCC employees, which raises funds throughout the year to provide 50 scholarships to students. Some private donors include employees at the college.

Applications are reviewed by donors, who set the criteria for their scholarships, and the scholarship committee, composed of college faculty and staff.

Students wishing to apply must complete an online application on the GCC scholarship Web site. A letter of recommendation from an instructor, staff member or counselor must also be submitted online for applicants.

Awardees will be notified by regular mail in July. Recipients will also be posted on the main page of the scholarship Web site.

More information can be obtained by calling Susan Borquez-Dougherty at (818) 240-1000 ext. 5591. It is preferred, however, that inquiries be made by visiting the J.W. Smith Student Center (located to the left of the Sierra Madre building on the second floor), sending an email to [email protected] or visiting