Sue and Bill Gross Contribute an Additional $250,000 to Saddleback College for Scholarships to Students in the “Forgotten Middle”

Saddleback College is pleased to announce that Sue and Bill Gross have contributed an additional $250,000 to the Gross Scholars Program, which benefits students in select Career and Technical Education majors who have shown an unmet financial need. Now totaling $490,000, the program will enable 80 students to receive scholarships to help them prepare for skilled jobs.

The scholarship program, established earlier this year with a $240,000 contribution from Sue and Bill Gross, makes available scholarships for 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 – who successfully complete education and career training at Saddleback College and secure skilled jobs. The scholarships not only provide much-needed funding to help students pay for their college education, but also address the profound increase in available jobs that require education or training beyond high school, but often less than a bachelor’s degree.

“The additional funds will enable Saddleback to expand investment in students and strengthen our regional economy with a trained and skilled workforce,” said Sue Gross, Gross Family Foundation President.  “These scholarships will help to alleviate some of the financial burden many students carry as they juggle college and family life allowing them to focus on their training and ultimately getting an in-demand, good paying job.”

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “We are delighted that Sue and Bill Gross  have contributed additional funds to help our students succeed in Career and Technical Education programs that lead to rewarding jobs with competitive salaries.”

Current scholarship recipient and nursing program student Michelle Saldana shared, “I have been very busy holding a leadership position in the California Nursing Student Association on campus, as well as working 30+ hours a week for my two part-time jobs. With this scholarship, I will now be able to leave one of my jobs and focus my time and attention to my main priority, my education.”

Bara Loeum shared that the financial support has allowed him to fulfill his dream to attend college and pursue a career in the automotive field. He plans to use his education to become a master technician. “Receiving the Sue and Bill Gross scholarship makes me even more determined to maintain high academic standards and follow my lifelong dream,” he said.

The scholarships 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 provides 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 will be eligible for scholarships in CTE programs including automotive technology, cinema/television/radio, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, and nursing, with additional programs to be added.  With the additional $250,000 donation, Saddleback can now double the number of students served from 40 to 80.

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.

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