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MSJC Receives Funding to Help Struggling Students Succeed

October 21, 2020

Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) has been named one of 34 California Community Colleges eligible to receive funding from the California Community Colleges Finish Line Scholars Program designed to ensure students can stay on track to complete a degree or certificate, or transfer to a four-year college or university. 

Over a five-year period, scholarships and emergency financial aid will be distributed to students at these colleges that are in three regions of California with the lowest percentage of adults who have college degrees. The Inland Empire comprised of Riverside and San Bernardino counties is one of the three regions. 

"We're here to help our students achieve academic success despite the adversities they face during this challenging pandemic," said Dr. Roger Schultz, MSJC Superintendent/President. "This funding can prevent our students from dropping out of college and instead enable them to succeed academically and pursue long-term careers to support themselves and their families. We're grateful for this funding from the Finish Line Scholars Program."

Funding for the current 2020-2021 academic year will be distributed to students as emergency financial aid as they struggle to stay enrolled in the face of an economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants of up to $150,000 will be made to the colleges by the Foundation for California Community Colleges. MSJC will be developing a process to distribute its funding.

In future years, the same colleges will be eligible for annual grants to support scholarships and emergency financial aid. 

  • Scholarships of up to $18,500 per year will help students go all-in to reach the finish line of their goal, whether that is to complete a certificate or degree or transfer, and can be used to cover expenses such as textbooks, equipment, transportation, housing and food.  
  • Emergency financial aid will be flexible to help students overcome short-term financial barriers. Up to 20 percent of funds, in future years, can be used for that.

The Jay Pritzker Foundation has pledged an extraordinary $100 million, over a span of 20 years, to support this program. The full pledge to the Foundation for California Community Colleges is expected to be the largest philanthropic support for community colleges in the nation to date.  

The three regions have the lowest rates of educational attainment of adults. They also have a high percentage of students without access to broadband, students living below the poverty line, high school students who receive free or reduced price lunch, and other factors that make them a priority. Increasing the number of people who have a college education in these regions will help decrease poverty and increase local opportunities. 

Mt. San Jacinto College serves about 27,000 students annually in a district covering 1,700 square miles from the San Gorgonio Pass to Temecula, with campuses in San Jacinto, Menifee, Banning and Temecula.