Saddleback College has received $240,000 from Sue and Bill Gross to establish the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program for scholarships to help students in the “forgotten middle” – students who have an unmet financial need yet are ineligible for a full Pell Grant or other government assistance to pay for college – successfully complete education and career training at Saddleback College and secure skilled jobs. The scholarships will not only provide much-needed funding to help students pay for their college education, but will also address the profound increase in available jobs that require education or training beyond high school, but often less than a bachelor’s degree.
“Ideally, students should have the freedom to learn and train for gainful employment without dealing with the stress of finding the money to pay for college,” said Sue Gross, Gross Family Foundation President. “These scholarships are an investment in our students and an investment in our regional economy by supporting the need for a skilled workforce.”
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “We are very grateful to Sue and Bill Gross for this generous donation that will help our students acquire viable skills that help them succeed and contribute to the economic vitality of our region. Saddleback looks forward to implementing this scholarship program that we believe will be a model in our state to strengthen the Career Technical Education pipeline to Orange County employers and beyond.”
The scholarships will cover the cost of attendance in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Saddleback College, which can be completed in two years or less and provide an opportunity to earn a living wage in Orange County. During the two-year demonstration phase of the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program, students in the following CTE programs will be eligible for scholarships: automotive technology, cinema/television/radio, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, and nursing. With the $240,000 initial donation, Saddleback expects to support a minimum of 40 students over a two-year period.
Scholarships will be available to current Saddleback students, veterans, displaced workers, and other adult learners who possess a high school diploma or general education development credential and are currently enrolled in one of the selected CTE programs. High school seniors with a 2.5 or better grade point average will also be eligible if they have completed at least one course in a defined CTE career pathway through a Regional Occupational Program, a CTE program at Saddleback College, or a local high school academy. Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 2.5 or better GPA.
Recipients of the Sue and Bill Gross Scholars program will be named at the annual Saddleback College scholarship ceremony on May Friday, May 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. in the Saddleback College Gymnasium.