The Auen Foundation

Auen Foundation grants will help students in financial “gap”

While col­lege is an excit­ing time for many stu­dents, oth­ers have the stress­ful real­ity of financ­ing their edu­ca­tion to sup­port their dreams. Two grants from the Auen Foun­da­tion aim to alle­vi­ate that bur­den for some local col­lege stu­dents caught in what is termed a “gap.” This is where many stu­dents fall when they don’t qual­ify for state and fed­eral need-based aid, but have dif­fi­culty pay­ing for col­lege expenses, par­tic­u­larly when unfore­seen cir­cum­stances arise.

Many stu­dents are above the income thresh­old, but are still strug­gling to pay for school and the cost of liv­ing,” said Peter Stur­geon, with the Col­lege of the Desert (COD) Foun­da­tion, which received a $50,000 grant to assist stu­dents in its rig­or­ous nurs­ing pro­gram. “This is espe­cially dif­fi­cult for those peo­ple sup­port­ing more than just them­selves. Many of our nurs­ing stu­dents are sin­gle par­ents and vet­er­ans, look­ing to improve their lives and the finan­cial secu­rity of their families.”

These funds will help stu­dents who are prob­a­bly already mak­ing sac­ri­fices and fac­ing chal­lenges to attend uni­ver­sity,” said Dr. Sharon Brown-Welty, Dean of Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Palm Desert Cam­pus, which received a $50,000 grant ear­marked for emer­gency assis­tance for qual­i­fy­ing students.

As stu­dents apply for these emer­gency grants, CSUSB Palm Desert Cam­pus admin­is­tra­tors plan to col­lect addi­tional data to deter­mine con­sis­tent obsta­cles that impede on col­lege stu­dents’ suc­cesses. It is already known that the col­lege attain­ment rate in the Coachella Val­ley is less than 30 per­cent for all adults, and only 12 per­cent for His­panic adults, which make up 40 per­cent of the com­mu­nity. Under­stand­ing how to attract and sup­port addi­tional stu­dents is a com­po­nent of how the Auen Foun­da­tion gift will fur­ther assist CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.

The Auen Foun­da­tion believes in the impor­tance of higher edu­ca­tion in our com­mu­nity, and we con­tin­u­ally look for ways to part­ner with our local col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties,” said Catharine Reed, Senior Pro­gram Offi­cer of the Auen Foun­da­tion. “A col­lege edu­ca­tion is becom­ing increas­ingly crit­i­cal for job secu­rity, and we want to sup­port those stu­dents in our area who are mak­ing a com­mit­ment to achieve that goal.”

Each insti­tu­tion has its own appli­ca­tion process to qual­ify stu­dents for grants between $1,500-$2,500 per cal­en­dar year to sup­port imme­di­ate and short-term chal­lenges that hin­der indi­vid­ual suc­cess. Fund­ing is allo­cated on a case-by-case basis, but pos­si­ble uses may include text­book and other course sup­plies, short-term trans­porta­tion needs, sup­port for house­hold basics in extra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stances, or tem­po­rary child­care resources.

An incred­i­ble 60 per­cent of our stu­dents qual­ify for max­i­mum fed­eral and state finan­cial aid, and 36 per­cent of our stu­dents live at or below the poverty line. For stu­dents scrap­ing to assure they are in col­lege, the expenses of books and even food and trans­porta­tion can be addi­tional bar­ri­ers we are work­ing to over­come by estab­lish­ing this pro­gram through the gen­er­ous sup­port of the Auen Foun­da­tion,” said Dr. Brown-Welty.

Sup­port of higher edu­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly in fields related to med­i­cine and ser­vices aimed at meet­ing the needs of mature adults and their fam­i­lies, aligns with the Auen Foundation’s mis­sion to enhance the qual­ity of life for the aging population.

For more infor­ma­tion about these emer­gency schol­ar­ships con­tact the inde­pen­dent insti­tu­tions. CSUSB Palm Desert Cam­pus is located at 37500 Cook Street, Palm Desert; visit or call (760) 341‑2883. For Col­lege of the Desert, located at 43–500 Mon­terey Ave, Palm Desert, visit: or call (760) 346‑8041. D