The article below originally appeared on the MercuryNews.com and is being reprinted with permission.
Sixty community college students in San Mateo County each will receive a $6,000 scholarship for up to two years, thanks to the largest single scholarship donation in California community college history.
Hillsborough philanthropist Ted Kruttschnitt created the program with a $372,000 annual gift to benefit students at Skyline College, Cañada College and College of San Mateo.
To run the program, Kruttschnitt, a retired businessman, also has promised $12,000 annually to fund the Kruttschnitt Aspire Scholarship Program at the San Mateo County Community Colleges Foundation.
The scholarships will benefit students working toward transferring to a four-year college and facing extreme financial need. In San Mateo County, 80 percent of community college students work and often must reduce their class load. The scholarships will enable recipients to switch to full-time enrollment, a predictor of academic success. The Kruttschnitt program also will fund workshops and support services.
While one-third of University of California graduates and more than half of California State University graduates began at community colleges, only 1 percent of financial aid for higher education is directed toward community college students, according to the community colleges foundation. Kruttschnitt hopes to enable more students to transfer to four-year colleges, according to Jill Greenberg of the foundation.