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Two ECC Seniors Win Final-Semester Scholarships to Finish Their Degrees

Posted: November 14, 2016, 3:06 pm

El Centro College has awarded seniors Nicolas Figueroa and Alfredo Rodriguez OneMain Financial Completion Scholarships, enabling them to complete degrees in Business Administration and an Associate of Science in December 2016.

“I try hard in my studies,” said Figueroa. From graduating 11th at his high school to now earning a 3.7 GPA at El Centro, he strives to always do his best. He said the OneMain Financial Completion scholarship will help him finish his associate degree and then transfer to The University of Texas- Austin and major in Finance. “Then I plan to be financial analyst.”  

“I’m a current student at El Centro College completing the ultimate requirements to transfer to Baylor College of Dentistry or Texas Woman’s University,” said Rodriguez. “Your financial support has helped me tremendously to accomplish these requirements and be able to transfer fall of 2017. Because of this scholarship, Rodriguez was able to complete a week shadowing a dental hygienist.

The Completion Scholarship, funded by OneMain Financial and administered in five community colleges by reform leader Achieving the Dream, provides $3,000 to students who are close to finishing their degrees.

Figueroa was born in Mexico and came to the states at the age of three. He grew up speaking Spanish at home and English at school and is fluent in both languages. He also grew up loving to learn at school; his mother, whom he says is his biggest fan, enrolled him in the Head Start Program at a very young age and he quickly became a top student.
“Growing up in a traditional Mexican home where the father is the only bread winner, and mother the housewife, I had to face some hardships.” By the age of eight, he began working with his dad every weekend from before sun up until after the sunset. Figueroa said his dad wanted him to know what laid ahead if he didn’t get an education. “His whole purpose was to make me value an education, and I guess it did work.”
Nicolas FigueroaNicolas Figueroa
Rodriguez came to the U.S. six years ago and currently lives with his brothers and mother. His parents separated when he was in ninth grade and his father has not helped financially support the family. “One day I told him I wanted to attend college; he told me I was not made to go to college.”

“My journey has not been easy, but I am glad because it has made me the person I am today,” Rodriquez said.

El Centro College was selected to participate in the completion scholarship program through a competitive process, based in part on its recognition of the financial challenges students face in completing their studies and the need for financial interventions that will help ensure their success.

“I hear incredible stories all the time about students making hard choices in order to continue their studies, including skipping meals, rationing gas money and picking schedules to minimize the cost of trips to campus,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “I’m so pleased to be working with OneMain Financial and El Centro College to remove financial hurdles that could have stopped exceptionally dedicated students from completing their degrees.”

According to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2015, the average tuition and fees for students at public community colleges was $3,435. However, this figure represents only 20 percent of the actual true costs for students when considering housing, transportation, food, and child care.

“OneMain believes in the power of education to improve the economic wellbeing of students and their families,” said Sheldon Caplis, Director of Community relations at OneMain Holdings, Inc. “We are pleased to support deserving students at the colleges participating in the Scholarship program and help them reach their career goals.”

According to Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, a 2009 report by Public Agenda, six in 10 community college students work more than 20 hours a week, and more than a quarter work more than 35 hours a week. The report also notes that more than 50 percent of those who left higher education before completing a degree or a certificate said that the “need to work and make money” while attending classes is the major reason they left.

For more information on the OneMain Scholarship winners, please contact Dr. Greg Morris, Vice President of Academic Affairs, at cmorris@dcccd.edu or 214-860-2019.
Alfredo RodriguezAlfredo Rodriguez