By Daniel Flores
By Daniel Flores
The Community Foundation formed a new scholarship to help local high school seniors attend a private university.
The Community Scholars program allowed local students to complete the first two years of college at RCC. Participants were then guaranteed a seat at the University of California, Riverside.
The new program differs from its predecessor in that students don’t finish their bachelors degrees at the University of California, Riverside. Instead scholars must choose to transfer to either California Baptist University, La Sierra University or the University of Redlands.
The Community Foundation provides 10 students with $2,000 their first two years. They are then awarded $2,500 per year upon transferring. To be eligible a student must graduate with a 3.0 GPA from a Riverside-area high school. They must also complete certain required courses while in college.
Cal Baptist is affiliated with the Baptist church and La Sierra has ties to Seventh Day Adventism.
Although administrators lifted a mandatory chapel attendance rule in 1972, the University of Redlands still maintains loose ties to the American Baptist Church.
RCC Chancellor Salvatore Rotella said that despite their religious affiliations, he thinks the participating universities’ commitment to the liberal arts is indisputable.
“They are more dedicated to teaching,” he said. “They have smaller classes and they have time to dedicate to students.”
Although most students support the idea of encouraging academics through scholarships, some seem weary about public funding being used to send students to private universities.
“I just don’t feel comfortable with scholarships that send students to colleges that are related to a certain religion,” said RCC student Shelly Marlow. “I think there should be a great distinction between religion and government. But a program like this makes the line fuzzy.”
Students have a choice whether or not to attend a university with a religious affiliation.
“If students are against the idea, then obviously they won’t come to us,” said La Sierra President Lawrence Geraty.
A student does not have to belong to or believe in any sort of faith system to attend either Cal Baptist and La Sierra Univeristy or the Univeristy of Redlands.