CSU Fresno -- September 15, 2003

Higher Education Consortium Teams Up with 'Dollars for Scholars'

A major effort to boost financial support for college attendance in the Central Valley will be announced Wednesday, Sept. 17, at California State University, Fresno.

President John D. Welty will recognize a new partnership between the university, the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) and California Dollars for Scholars. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Smittcamp Alumni House.

California Dollars for Scholars is part of a national network of community-based, volunteer-led scholarship groups that helps manage, expand and maximize the benefits of a new or existing scholarship program.

Fresno State will join about 500 postsecondary educational institutions, called Collegiate Partners, who have pledged to maximize the value of - or even match - Dollars for Scholars awards by providing matching funds.

The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, a nonprofit organization of 23 public and private institutions of higher education from Stockton to Bakersfield aimed at promoting programs, policies and performance designed to increase higher education attainment in the Valley, will work with Fresno State and community organizations in maximizing scholarship dollars.

Welty, CVHEC president, said he hopes other members will become Collegiate Partners. He said providing scholarship funds and information about sources of scholarships, is important in light of the Higher Education Consortium's findings that financing college is a major concern.

In examining reasons behind why students in the Central Valley lag behind the state in college attendance, the consortium has learned that many of parents and students overestimate the cost of a college education and underestimate the availability of scholarships and financial aid.

And a statewide study has found that only 28 percent of the students in the CVHEC region who qualify for Cal Grants submit an application. This means many Valley students are missing an opportunity to receive money to help pay for college, Welty said.

By working in collaboration with Dollars for Scholars to help communities raise scholarship money for their students, the consortium hopes to help improve the college-going and graduation rates in the Valley.

The collaboration follows the consortium's involvement last year in a series of "Cash for College" workshops designed to help students and parents apply for financial aid.

Dollars for Scholars began 45 years ago in Fall River, Mass., when Dr. Irving Fradkin proposed that if every resident of the town donated $1, they would have a sizable scholarship foundation for their students. Today, Dollars for Scholars chapters exist in over 1,200 communities, sometimes defined by a single neighborhood, church, school or interest group.In addition to scholarships, chapters are expected to provide academic support for their students.

In 2001, Dollars for Scholars chapters nationwide raised nearly $44.4 million. The volunteers of California's 60 active chapters awarded nearly $1.5 million in scholarships during the 2002-2003 school year, a 21 percent increase over the previous year. Dollars for Scholars currently has three chapters in the Central Valley: Madera Dollars for Scholars, Farmersville Dollars for Scholars and Woodlake Educational Foundation Dollars for Scholars.

Other Collegiate Partners in the Central Valley include California State University, Bakersfield, Fresno Pacific University and University of the Pacific.

The Central Valley Higher Education Consortium was established in March 2000 and largely funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation. Allen Carden, executive director, said his organization, a coalition of the community colleges, the California State University and University of California campuses in the San Joaquin Valley are working hard to let students know that "college is the next step in their lives."

The consortium's Web site, www.collegenext.org, provides information on college enrollment and information for prospective students, for parents, school counselors and others. Also on the site is information about financial aid and scholarships is available; links to the three Valley CSU campuses, the 11 community colleges and UC Merced.

Additionally, links to two private universities in the Valley, University of the Pacific in Stockton and Fresno Pacific University, are provided. And if none of those schools interests a prospective student, links to the entire CSU and UC are available.

For more details about California Dollars for Scholars, see www.californiadollarsforscholars.org. More information about the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium and Dollars for Scholars is available by calling the consortium toll-free at (877) ITS POSSIBLE (487-7677).

Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster (559) 278-2795 or (559) 269-5261 or Cheri Cruz (559) 292-0576

Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
[Bakersfield] [Chancellor's Office] [Channel Islands] [Chico]
[Dominguez Hills] [Fresno] [Fullerton] [Hayward] [Humboldt] [Long Beach] [Los Angeles] [Maritime Academy] [Monterey_Bay] [Northridge] [Pomona] [Sacramento] [San Bernardino] [San Diego] [San Francisco] [San Jose] [San Luis Obispo] [San Marcos] [Sonoma] [Stanislaus]