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Sierra College Foundation launches scholarship campaign

Every dollar donated to 'Climb Higher' campaign will be matched by Bernard Osher Foundation
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As tough economic times increase the demand for scholarships, community colleges struggle to keep pace with students’ growing needs. Students unable to make ends meet are often forced to abandon their education. To meet the ongoing needs of students, Sierra College Foundation, the Rocklin college’s fundraising arm, recently launched Climb Higher: The Osher Matching Scholarship Challenge. The Bernard Osher Foundation will match every dollar donated to Sierra College for this campaign by 50 cents. Individuals, businesses and service organizations can establish an eternal “Named” scholarship for $13,334. Donors will be able to name their scholarship, set the criteria and select their scholarship’s winners. The Osher match will bring the funding to $20,000. With a guaranteed 5 percent interest, the endowed $20,000 scholarship ensures continually awarding a $1,000 scholarship every year. Those not interested in establishing a “Named” scholarship can contribute any amount to the campaign. All donations are tax deductible. “This is a tremendous opportunity to help Sierra College students,” said Sonbol Aliabadi, executive director of the Sierra College Foundation, in a press release. The campaign is designed to establish a permanent fund for scholarships, offering long-term relief to the rising costs that prevent many students from completing their education. The scholarships can go toward tuition fees or purchasing textbooks, equipment and other instructional supplies. “Sierra College’s services are in high demand, especially now because of the economic downturn,” Aliabadi said. “More people are going back to school or delaying their entry into a four-year college or university. The need for scholarships has increased and we would like to increase our ability to support students in financial need.” The Osher Foundation challenged Sierra College to raise $650,000 by June 30, 2011. If the challenge is met, the college will be able to offer an additional 50 scholarships, which guarantees 65 scholarships of $1,000 each in perpetuity. Sierra College is one of the top-ranked community colleges in awarding associate degrees in the state and boasts the highest student transfer rate to four-year universities in Northern California. For more information or to donate to Climb Higher, visit www.sierracollege.edu/foundation, call Aliabadi at (916) 660-7020 or email foundation@sierracollege.edu. ~ Sena Christian