As Scholarship Deadline Looms, Applicants Scarce

Nairi Chopurian
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The deadline for scholarships for the spring semester is March 22, and as it draws nearer it is surprising that the scholarship office still has any scholarship applications sitting on its desk.

GCC now has 17,000 students. Yet in the past, only an average of 2,000 applications were taken each year, and only 600 on average – a meager 3.5 percent of the student body -. were returned, according to Angela Battaglia, coordinator of the scholarship program

Only 50 applications have been turned in, says Battaglia. She expects about 300 more to be turned in by the March 22 deadline. There are 300 applications left from the fall semester, which are to be reconsidered for the spring semester.

“One reason,” said Battaglia “is that some students don’t like to type.” She said students have come in numerous times trying to convince the scholarship office to type up the application for them. Some students are unsure of whether or not they qualify for a scholarship. Time restraints, laziness and even stubborn pride, may also play a role, she said.

Still, Battaglia said, she and her staff do what they can to reach the students.

“I am always sitting at a table during the student fairs, answering questions and talking to students,” she said. The staff provides information that includes talking to the Alpha Gamma Sigma Club, sending letters out to students and asking teachers to make announcements in class. But applicant numbers still remain low. Still, the staff is always open to new ideas for how to get the word out.

“Some students don’t bother because they argue, `I’m never going to qualify or get anything anyway,'” said Paul Schlossman, dean of student affairs.

The application process is fairly simple, Battaglia said. Students fill out an application, which is then reviewed by a committee. The committee matches the applications with the criteria specified by each sponsor. It is the job of the committee to determine if the applicant receives a scholarship.

In September, applying for a scholarship will, if awarded, last all year. The March 22 deadline will carry through the spring semester only. Most scholarships, said Battaglia, are higher in pay when you are considered “transferring” or, are about to transfer.

The number of scholarships increases by 10 or 12 each year.

Scholarships candidates must have completed 12 units and have a GPA of at least 2.5. Of about 230 scholarships, 70 percent of the applicants receive some portion of the approximate $300,000. available.

“It’s still just a matter of coming in and filing out an application,” said Schlossman.

Information for private scholarships is available in the class display case outside the Student Center’s exit. The scholarships include the L.A. Times Fund for journalism majors; the Talbots Women’s Scholarship Fund, which awards $100,000 to women who earned their high school diploma or GED in the last 10 years; and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) scholarship, which will award scholarships to qualified students in water resources-related studies.