While 92% of the students ScholarMatch serves are the first in their family to attend college, there are many different factors that can end up influencing their college decisions: from geographic location to field of study to affordability.
Unsurprisingly, affordability is the most significant factor in dictating whether higher education is a viable option for first-generation students as they continue to be disproportionately impacted by economic fluctuations and shifting resources in the education landscape, including changes to the Pell Grant and work-study eligibility criteria. These factors combined contribute to a growing trend among first-generation students opting for the community college pathway as they begin their postsecondary journeys.
With that in mind, ScholarMatch is focused on collaborating with organizations that are attempting to end the monolithic view that has plagued first-generation students and are instead exploring different approaches to better serve them. This program year, we are proud to announce that we’re partnering with the Genentech Foundation to create and launch an impactful strategy that supports transfer students majoring in STEM fields — particularly since many of our students are interested in pursuing careers in STEM and healthcare fields.
Through Genentech’s Health Equity and Diversity in STEM Innovation Fund, ScholarMatch was selected as one of 31 groundbreaking projects to receive a three-year planning grant thanks to our efforts in addressing structural and systemic inequities in higher education and based on our track record in supporting the advancement of BIPOC students.
“We are thrilled to receive this award from the Genentech Foundation in support of our Community College Transfer Pathway pilot project, which will help ScholarMatch create and launch an impactful strategy for supporting community college STEM majors from low-income backgrounds,” stated ScholarMatch’s Executive Director Karla V. Salazar.
ScholarMatch is working with Education Northwest in the research and program design phases of this initiative. Education Northwest is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with an established reputation for conducting high-quality research and evaluation at every level of the education system for more than 55 years. Education Northwest’s team of researchers will conduct a series of interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders this fall and winter.
We are excited to collaborate with Genentech to foster a more diverse pipeline of healthcare and science professionals beginning in community college that will help prepare them to become leaders in their field and contribute to a more pluralist society.
Learn more about our work and how you can help us make a difference for future generations at scholarmarch.org.