$150,000 in Student Success Awards up for grabs

The application pool for the annually issued Associated Students’ Student Success Award is considerably smaller this year. In its initial year, the Student Life office received 200-300 applications for the scholarship, which awards students $500 to $5,000 based on campus involvement and grade point average, among other criteria. This year, there were only 50-60 applicants as of Monday afternoon’s A.S. meeting.

“I think there just hasn’t been enough outreach and education on it, so what we’re focusing on is boosting outreach for this week specifically,” says Hasun Khan, director of budget management. For the rest of the week, directors will present the award in their classes to boost publicity.

A.S. has also rid applicants of a letter of recommendation requirement, publicized the award in this publication, publicized it online and through emails according to Khan and Director of Student Assistance Hamza Sabri. Sabri, however, attributes the lack of applicants to rules regarding applicants’ eligibility.

“None of the people that applied or received awards last year are eligible, and so a lot of people that would have applied now, can’t,” says Sabri.

In addition to that, there’s only so much that the directors can do. “At the end of the day, I can’t force students to apply. All we can do is put the information out there. If people don’t want to actually use it and get free money, then that’s up to them,” said Sabri

Despite the low number of applicants, A.S. just approved adding $50,000 to the original $100,000 to be distributed among award recipients. According to Khan, it is simply a cushion to avoid violating fiscal policy, and is there as “discretionary funding.”

“Last year we had to add $20,000 in emergency funds. We had to determine whether or not we were going to give more students money, and at the end of the day it’s their money so they obviously should be able to get it if they’re putting in such an effort.”

The award is funded by the $19.50 A.S. fee. $10 of the fee goes to Activities and Services for students, and what goes toward this scholarship is under a restricted budget “specifically allotted toward student success,” according to Khan. “It’s coming from students and it’s being paid to students.”

It came from an initiative from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office that sought funding that ensures students’ success on campus, possibly through basic services and scholarships like the Student Success Award. The award was first announced last spring.

The deadline to apply for the Student Success Award is Friday, April 10th.