Only 14 of the 80 Las Positas exclusive scholarships are available to most students.
Many students want to apply for a scholarship, and the Las Positas website lists 80 LPC exclusive scholarships in total. However the majority of students find that they are only eligible for a few of the them.
Of the scholareships only 19 are available to the majority of the student population. Even these require GPAs ranging from 2.0 to 3.5, and five require a financial need. 34 are for veterans or dependents of veterans. The rest are restricted to students that meet certain criteria that can range from completing a fencing class, to being a STEM major, to transferring to a four-year school.
LPC scholarships are funded by donations, to which donors set the criteria for the scholarship. The LPC Foundation solicits and handles these donations.
“The donors know what area of the college they want to donate to and the donor sets the criteria for the scholarships.” Kenneth Cooper, President of the Las Positas College Foundation, said.
Though most scholarships have multiple applicants to choose from, some scholarships have no applicants, meaning no money will be awarded. These particular scholarships get no applicants because they are too specialized.
“The scholarships are too restrictive for part-time students, particularly ones that are major-related,” Brittaine North, a sophomore STEM major said.
One of these specialized scholarships requires you to have taken a fencing class, which has not been offered at Las Positas in the previous 2022-23 school year. Another requires you to be a math tutor employed at the LPC tutoring center for at least two semesters. Furthermore, students who might be eligible for such scholarships aren’t aware they exist.
Lydia Penaflor, Financial Aid Scholarship Coordinator, says the financial aid office is trying to reach students who are eligible for the limited scholarships so there are more applicants.
“The Financial aid office will contact the groups of students that meet the requirements of the scholarships that few students applied for by contacting the instructors in those areas,” Penaflor said.
According to Evelyn Andrews, the Veterans Center Coordinator, 22% of the available scholarships are for veterans only, as most donors have ties to the US military and can decide the criteria. However, the percentage of veterans scholarships is higher than the population of veterans on campus. About 150 of the 450 veterans attending LPC receive VA educational benefits, which include paid-for tuition and a $3117 monthly housing allowance.
The problem is that the criteria for many of the scholarships is too restrictive, leaving out many deserving students. Of 6800 students at LPC, over 1600 qualify for the Promise Grant waiver which is given to students with low income. There is a large need for scholarships for these students, but adding requirements, like only being available to one major, limits accessibility.
The Las Positas Foundation should work with the donors to change the scholarship criteria so more students would be eligible. Though some donors have a fixed idea of who they want scholarships to be available to, the foundation should be stricter with what criteria donors can set. Scholarships should be available to most students based on merit and financial need, not only those that meet strict criteria.
Alan Lewis is a staff writer for the Express. Follow him @ormond1912