Monthly Archives: October 2020

Historic $100 million gift to California Community Colleges targets Central Valley: Columbia College and MJC among 34 eligible colleges

Columbia College is pleased to announce that it is among 34 California Community Colleges that will benefit from a $100 million gift just announced to the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC).

California Chancellor Eloy Oakley announced the historic gift at a press conference Tuesday. It is a pledge from the Jay Pritzker Foundation to the state’s community college system over the next 20 years, and marks the largest pledge ever to community colleges in the nation. The funds will be spent for scholarships and emergency financial assistance for students as part of the new California Community College Finish Line Scholars Program.  More details will follow from FCCC and the Columbia College Foundation.

According to Tuesday’s announcement, 34 community college campuses, including Columbia College and Modesto Junior College, are eligible to take part in the initiative and will each receive up to $150,000 during the first year.  The program targets regions with low college degree attainment, including the Central Valley and many rural areas of the state. The goal is to help students in these regions complete their degrees.  This first year of funding will focus on student emergency assistance needs, and participating colleges can expect similar funding for at least the first five years of this program that can be used for emergency assistance and scholarships.

“This is fantastic news and we look forward to learning more about how this can help our students at Columbia College, both now and in coming years,” said Columbia College President Santanu Bandyopadhyay. “It’s great to know the donors and the FCCC are specifically targeting regions and communities like ours, where students face so many hurdles in preparing for better jobs and better futures. As the value of a college degree is expected to rise even further in the post-COVID world, this grant is going to help our students in the years to come.”

The Columbia College Foundation was also thrilled with the announcement.

“We’re excited to learn of this incredible gift and what it might mean for our students,” said CCF President Jeff Warren. “This is an amazing opportunity, and it matches the top priority at our foundation – providing direct support to our students to help them reach their educational goals. We work with so many community donors and partners who will be thrilled to know this is coming and this gift will add to their past and future contributions. “

YCCD Chancellor Henry Yong concurred.

“This will be a much-needed boost to many of our students,” Chancellor Yong said. “For some, this could be the difference between being a successful completer or a dropout.  I hope the generosity of the Pritzker Family will inspire many to contribute, and magnify the positive impact on our students and community.” 

October 19-23, 2020: California Community College Undocumented Student Action Week

In recognition and support of this statewide effort, Columbia College and the Columbia College Foundation affirms that we strive to make Columbia College a welcoming and supportive place for all students to achieve their educational goals.

In this week, we are highlighting the following services to support undocumented students in our community. Did you know?

  • The Columbia College Promise — providing two years of tuition free attendance for recent high school graduates — is available to California Dream Act students. This pilot program to date has assisted more than 570 local high school seniors to transition directly into college upon graduation, and has always been open to students using the Dream Act. We encourage all eligible students to access this pathway to a more secure future in our community. Learn more here: Columbia College Promise
  • California Dream Act students can apply for local scholarship support through the Columbia College Foundation and its community partners. We are currently working with interested donors to expand opportunities for undocumented student support. Learn more here: CCF Scholarships
  • The Columbia College Financial Aid Office can assist undocumented students who want to learn more about state financial aid available to them. Learn more here: Columbia College Financial Aid or California Dream Act

”We help several Dreamers every semester, usually students who grew up in our community, and now are working toward careers in health care, science and more,” says Kirsten Frye, Dean of Student Services . “Often they are first-generation students, very motivated and hard-working, but unsure of their options. It’s so important to let these students know our community and our state have programs to support their education.”

“Community Colleges provide much needed access and social mobility to those who need the most”, said Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay. “I am delighted that Columbia College is addressing this much-needed void in our community”.

 Learn more about Undocumented Student Action Week here: Supporting Undocumented Students – Community College League of Community Colleges.