October provided good news for Porterville College and its students when it was announced PC was one of 34 community colleges receiving grants as part of a $100 million donation for California community colleges to help students finish college.

“Over 20 years, the $100 million pledge will help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are well on their way toward a finish-line goal of completing a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university and emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships,” the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) said in a joint press release.

“This support is being made possible by a donation from the Jay Pritzker Foundation to the FoundationCCC, which serves as the official nonprofit auxiliary to the California Community Colleges. For the first five years, FoundationCCC will deliver grants to 34 community colleges in the three regions of California with the lowest percentage of adults who have college degrees as identified in the Vision for Success: Strengthening the California Community Colleges to Meet California’s Needs: the Inland Empire, the Central Valley, and the Far North.”

For the first year, FoundationCCC will grant up to $150,000 per college, and because of COVID-19’S impact on students, “100 percent of the first year’s grants may be used by colleges to provide students emergency financial aid.”

Porterville College president, Claudia Habib, said the college is still learning all the details but the grants could go longer than five years.

“For the first five years, they are going to give these funds to 34 colleges who are applying, so we have to submit the whole application,” Habib said. “We will receive $150,000 the first year. The gift could go from five years to 10 years.”

As PC is obtaining more information about the donation and grants, and will put out more information for students about how to apply for funds soon.

“The announcement just came out statewide (October 20), we’re submitting our paperwork and then we will be announcing it to students on how to apply for those funds,” Habib said. “But they are again targeted to those students who are close to the finish line, who are facing hardships. And the amounts could be different.”

The press release adds, “In future years, colleges may use grants

to provide a combination of scholarships and some emergency financial aid to students. The scholarship amount of up to $18,500 per student per year is intended to cover the estimated true cost of a student’s community college education which includes such costs as textbooks, instructional materials, transportation, housing, childcare, and food.”

“We are very pleased that we were selected, along with (Bakersfield College) and Cerro Coso, and other colleges in the Central Valley,” Habib said. “We have a lot of talent. We have a lot of students who want to get their education but, these are difficult times but in general, there’s high need in this area. So we’re very pleased to receive those funds. It’s going to help our students.”

Along with PC, Bakersfield and Cerro Coso, 12 other community colleges make up the Central Valley region: Clovis Community College, College of the Sequoias, Columbia College, Fresno City College, Madera Community College, Merced College, Modesto Junior College, Reedley College, San Joaquin Delta College, Taft College, West Hills College Coalinga, and West Hills College Lemoore.

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