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Alumni renew 'SOS' scholarship fund to help CSUEB students stay on the path to graduation


Bivek Wagle and Tricia Bumanglag received "SOS" scholarships in 2011 thanks to alumni donors. (Photo: Jesse Cantley)

  • August 28, 2012

This story was updated Sept. 5, 2012.

Alumnae Luanne Roticci ’87 and Liza Jane MacNaughton ’90 have committed to providing a second year of seed funding for Cal State East Bay's "Save Our Students" Scholarship fund, which distributes financial aid to upper division students struggling with the high cost of higher education.

In 2011, the University distributed 29 "SOS" awards to CSUEB undergraduates who were in danger of dropping out because of rising costs. The donors established the fund after learning about budget cuts to the CSU system last year that resulted in a last-minute increase in tuition fees systemwide. Tuition fee increases were announced just before the fall 2011 quarter.

“I know how an extra $1,000 or $5,000 can really make a difference for someone,” Rotticci said in 2011. She and MacNaughton also urged friends and colleagues to make additional gifts to the fund, in order to reach as many students as possible.

Through the SOS fund, 29 scholarships of $500 to $1,500 were awarded to upper division students to help them stay enrolled. Students like Bivek Wagle, Tricia Bumanglag (pictured), Thomas Rule, and Mindy Le were able to support themselves and their families while continuing to attend classes.

Scholarships like these help students pay for a variety of school-related expenses, including the cost of living in the Bay Area. “Books, tuition, rent, parking permit, the list goes on and on,” said scholarship recipient Gian Chhabra, a history student who moved to the area to attend CSUEB.

Tuition fees at the CSU have more than tripled in the past ten years, which has had a serious impact on students, said Anne Harris, interim vice president of University Advancement. Providing more private financial aid, particularly need-based scholarships for students within a few quarters of completing their degrees, is more critical than ever to our students and to Cal State East Bay’s mission of providing access to higher education and opportunity, she explained.

Application forms for SOS 2012 scholarships are available now through the Office of Financial Aid. Students must be upper division undergraduates close to graduation with a minimum GPA of 2.3, and a U.S citizen or permanent resident who has filed a current FAFSA. Priority is given to graduating seniors.

“We are grateful to our donors and friends who are coming together to meet an urgent need among our students and provide scholarship support,” Harris said. “With this fund we can make an immediate impact and help students stay in school and focused on their studies.”

Student applications were accepted in August, and scholarships will be awarded prior to the start of the fall quarter. Any additional gifts made to the SOS fund will be awarded to applicants continuing throughout the academic year.

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