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Columbia To Benefit From Unprecedented Donation To Community Colleges

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Columbia, CA — The California Community College system is receiving a historic $100-million donation to help fund student scholarships over the next 20 years.

The donation from the Jay Pritzker Foundation will initially target areas of the state with low college degree attainment. California has 116 community colleges, and both Columbia College and Modesto Junior College are among the 34 eligible to receive $150,000 in year one. It will fund scholarships and financial assistance as part of a Finish Line Scholars program.

Columbia College President, Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, says, “This is fantastic news and we look forward to learning more about how this can help our students at Columbia College, both now and in coming years. It’s great to know the donors and the Foundation For California Community Colleges (FCCC) are specifically targeting regions and communities like ours, where students face so many hurdles in preparing for better jobs and better futures. As the value of a college degree is expected to rise even further in the post-COVID world, this grant is going to help our students in the years to come.”

More details will be forthcoming from the Columbia College Foundation and FCCC regarding how scholarships will be dispersed.

Columbia College Foundation President Jeff Warren adds, “We’re excited to learn of this incredible gift and what it might mean for our students. This is an amazing opportunity, and it matches the top priority at our foundation – providing direct support to our students to help them reach their educational goals. We work with so many community donors and partners who will be thrilled to know this is coming and this gift will add to their past and future contributions.“

Columbia College notes that participating schools can expect similar funding for at least the first five years of the grant to be used for emergency assistance and scholarships. The $100-million figure is the single largest pledge ever to community colleges in the nation.