“Is this really happening? Are you serious?”
These were the reoccurring questions from students who were in disbelief as they received emails stating they would be awarded the ASI Basic Needs Scholarship.
Out of 750 applicants, 46 Cal Poly Pomona students were each awarded $3,000 to support their academic endeavors from Associated Students Incorporated (ASI). Recipients of the scholarship included first-year students, returning students, transfer students, masters students, and doctoral candidates.
“I am beyond grateful for receiving this scholarship from [ASI],” first–year business administration student Naman Pandadiya said. “This scholarship will help me tremendously when buying textbooks and software needed for class. It’ll put my parents at ease, so they don’t have to pay out of pocket or have to take out a loan for my college education.”
ASI Associate Director of Student Government Ashley Joseph and ASI Commercial Services Coordinator Sandra Solano collaborated to use the funds from the formerly known Lost and Found Scholarship to create the ASI Basic Needs Scholarship.
“To be able to convert the funds from the Lost & Found Auction and Thrift Shop to a scholarship is so wonderful,” Solano said. “I am so proud to be a part of the process because I love giving back to students.”
The purpose of the new scholarship was to alleviate some of the financial burden students faced when they entered virtual instruction due to COVID-19. All current CPP students were eligible to apply.
“Normally, you need some sort of GPA requirement or have to be a certain year or major for scholarships, but there was no real requirement for this besides needing help,” Joseph said. “I think that’s why so many students applied and were so receptive.”
ASI Basic Needs sorted through hundreds of applications reading each individual’s story. Students shared stories of struggle with homelessness, food insecurity, and other unforeseen losses. But they also shared moments of triumph and success which exhibited the amazing resilience of our CPP community.
Initially, only three students were going to be selected to receive the scholarship. However, due to a high volume of applicants, and the special basic needs allocation approved by the Board of Directors, the scholarship committee decided to increase the number of recipients to assist as many students as possible. ASI Student Government led the charge in funding this increase to maximize their efforts toward student success.
Last fall, the ASI Board of Directors unanimously approved to funnel approximately $2 million—previously identified in savings—toward ASI and university basic needs programs. Of that $2 million, four percent or $135,000, were reallocated to the ASI Basic Needs Scholarship. The additional funds allowed for more students to receive the support they needed.
“Words cannot express how grateful I am in receiving this scholarship and how it will benefit my needs for schooling,” fourth–year biological sciences student Hina Hasan said.
“I am incredibly grateful for this scholarship as it will greatly support my education at CPP and relieve some financial burden these COVID times have brought,” transfer nutrition student Irania Llamas said.
Moving forward, the scholarship will continue to be awarded each academic year but will return to its original plan of awarding three students $3,000. To apply for the ASI Basic Needs Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year, please visit the Bronco Scholarship Portal. The deadline to apply is March 2, 2021.
In addition to the ASI Basic Needs Scholarship, ASI also established Poly Pantry 2 Go, an outdoor, no-contact, appointment-based food distribution service for all CPP students and families. To register for an appointment, visit here.
“Our student body is known to be dynamic, resilient, and astonishing—who has and is currently enduring trying times. Your resilience and will has encouraged us all here at ASI to advocate in large spaces, tackle difficult conversations, and ensure that all students feel empowered at Cal Poly Pomona. At the end of the day our calling, purpose, and passion is to serve our students.”
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“Everything we do is for our students,” Solano said, “because they are our number one priority.”
“We here at ASI are so passionate about impacting student lives and want to see all of our students succeed,” Joseph said. “It’s amazing that our Student Leaders led this charge and that really shows what a dynamic group of students they are.”
As always, we are #CPPtogether.