Santa Ana College Foundation Month Year
A History of Success, A Future of Promise

Professors Open Wallets for Students

Student Counselor Isaac Guzman knew something needed to be done about students dropping out solely because of financial constraints. He brought the matter to the attention of Dr. Sara Lundquist, Vice President of Student Services. Chemistry Professor Jeff McMillan was also frustrated due to the loss of several bright, low-income students from his class, dropping not from lack of interest but from lack of money. They came up with a generous, yet perfect solution as other faculty leaders and the SAC Foundation. Starting this fall, faculty, staff, Foundation Board members and community donors will fund a student’s courses for a full year—about $600 for a full-time schedule.

Referred to as Opportunity Scholarships, the funds will be awarded to students with extreme financial need. Instructors will recommend students who have demonstrated strong potential, but are struggling to pay for their coursework. They will be paired with a faculty sponsor, who will also serve as an informal mentor.

For a percentage of students who the college says do not qualify for any form of financial aid, the only way to subsidize their education is with private scholarships. These are hard to come by, and many promising students must work full-time to come up with their class fees, cutting severely into the time they can dedicate to their studies.

“It’s frustrating to know that I could get better grades if I did not have to work all of the time,” says Maximina Guzman, student government president and a former student of McMillan’s. Because she is not a citizen, she is not eligible for financial aid. The biology student pays her own way, working full-time at a hotel gift shop and moonlighting as a telemarketer. She studies between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. If she receives an Opportunity Scholarship, she hopes to cut down on weekend working hours.

“I’ve not heard of any other college with a program like this,” says Kalman Chaney, president of Campus Consultants, Inc., a New York company that helps students find needs-based aid from colleges and the government. “It’s really remarkable to see this commitment from faculty to the success of their students.

A Los Angeles Times story in mid-May featured the Opportunity Scholarships and generated some very  welcome attention, according to Dr. Sara Lundquist, SAC’s Vice President of Student Services. “We received an anonymous donation of $50,000 for Opportunity Scholarships. We are so appreciative that the creativity and compassion of our faculty spurred this generous gift. It will literally change lives.”

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photo Honoring Ken Purcell
as Former Board Chairman

Concluding a very successful tenure as chairman of the SAC Foundation Board of Directors, Ken Purcell passed the gavel to incoming chairman Tony Ellis on June 30, 2008. Ken will continue his service as a member of the board, which he began in 1991. He plans to focus on building an Athletic Hall of Fame to honor the outstanding sportspersons who have kicked, putted, batted, shot and dribbled their way to success through the programs of Santa Ana College.

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