Santa Monica College is providing emergency assistance grants to SMC Nursing Program students experiencing serious financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The First Response Fund — created by the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) in partnership with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office — provided $4,545 to be used for the grants, with additional assistance from the SMC Foundation.
Second-year nursing student Cecilia Sevilla, who received a $500 grant, said the money “is going to be a big help to cover bills for utilities and groceries for me, my mom, and my little brother. It’s been difficult trying to look for jobs.” The first in her family to attend college, she said she chose SMC because, when she was researching nursing programs that were affordable, “it kept coming up as the best. What I really appreciate is the way SMC and the people here, like Michelle Aragon, are such a great support to us students.” Ms. Smith plans to finish her studies at SMC, then transfer to earn a BSN [Bachelor of Science in Nursing] at either CSU Fullerton or CSU Long Beach.
“The funding provided to nine of SMC’s nursing students is a testament to finding solutions to bridge the incredibly challenging employment gap so many of our students are facing,” said Lizzy Moore, SMC Foundation President and Dean of Institutional Advancement. “We are grateful to FCCC for making this opportunity available at such a critical juncture in our nursing student’s academic journey.”
“Thank you to Lizzy Moore and the Santa Monica College Foundation for facilitating this process,” said SMC Associate Dean of Health Sciences Eve Adler. “This is a great help to the hardworking students in the Nursing Program who look forward to completing their education and joining their colleagues on the front lines of this pandemic.”
Students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 were identified through a survey created by Health Sciences counselor Ana Montes de Vegas. Housing insecurity, food insecurity, and loss of income were some of the areas the survey covered. Students were chosen to receive grants based on their level of need for direct aid.
The First Response Fund was the first one established from the Campaign for Relief and Recovery through the California Community Colleges to “support students, families, and communities affected by COVID-19. The fund’s purpose is two-fold: to help students who are facing adverse financial impacts of COVID-19 with their ability to stay enrolled and complete their CCC education, while also helping address California’s pressing need to advance students in specific health care fields into its health care system.”
The Santa Monica College Nursing Program, approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), prepares students for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a Registered Nurse. SMC students completing the program are encouraged to transfer to a college offering BSN programs.
Submitted by Grace Smith