SDSU’s Fuel Potential scholarship campaign has raised more than $30 million, providing students opportunities to achieve lifetime goals.
From around the corner the bus finally appeared, more than 20 minutes behind schedule.
Already late for a retail job that he needed but did not want, Eddie Vasquez lugged his book bag on board in hopes of getting a break in his four-hour shift to finish preparing for an important midterm later that evening.
He never found a moment to study and bombed the exam.
When he started at San Diego State University earlier that fall, Vasquez carried the hopes of a family that had never graduated a college student.
Two jobs, a full-time class load and overwhelming pressure to succeed nearly crashed those hopes.
“I had to find a way to make everything work, but the lack of time and the pressure to meet the responsibilities were difficult,” Vasquez said. “It took a toll on my academics and I knew I had to make some changes.”
He quit his two off-campus jobs in favor of academic-related positions and he took a more practical approach to evaluating his own success. “If I needed to work to stay in school, I had to accept that it would affect my studies.”
Those changes helped, but it was a financial aid award from Compact Scholars that provided the biggest boost to his college experience.
“The scholarship helped lessen the burden,” he said. “Without the scholarship, I’d hope to still be in school. But I know it would be a tremendous struggle.”
It’s a sentiment likely shared among the 15,000 students who applied for SDSU scholarships this academic year, of which 1,360 received scholarship awards.
Katie Martin, first recipient of the SDSU Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship, hopes to own a non-profit for international humanitarian work or become a human rights lawyer for the United Nations. In the fall, she will intern in Washington, D.C., for the Panetta Institute for Public Policy.
“I am extremely lucky and grateful for the scholarships I receive,” said Martin, a sophomore honor student majoring in International Security and Conflict Resolution. “I can’t imagine the stress on my family, as well as myself in having to work more, if I didn’t have the scholarship money.”
SDSU leaders recognized the increasing financial demands burdening students and launched a scholarship campaign, called Fuel Potential, which has raised more than $30 million since July 2009.
"At this time in California, it is a real challenge to get the financial support that young people need to go to college," said Mary Ruth Carleton, vice president of University Relations and Development. "I am so very grateful to our donors for responding to this critical need."
If a kid wants to go to college,
they should not be deprived
because of lack of money.
R. Michael Pack, sits on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Diego, and founded the Pack Foundation, which supports an array of community and educational programs – including more than 80 scholarships for international business students in the College of Arts and Letters since 2003.
Pack, who worked to pay his own way through SDSU and earned a finance degree in 1970, said he appreciates the direct impact scholarships provide needy and deserving students.
“It’s wonderful that these kids have the opportunity that they may not have had,” Pack said. “If a kid wants to go to college, they should not be deprived because of lack of money.
Katie Martin, first recipient of the SDSU Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship
“You just want to give scholarships to all these kids, and you can’t give them to everybody,” Pack said. “Here they are, working fulltime to try to get into this (international business) program. If you can help them a little bit to do this, these kids are going to be grateful forever.”
Student Eddie Vasquez said he and other scholarship recipients he knows greatly appreciate the generosity of donors, adding that scholarship students do their best to make the most of the opportunity.
Vasquez is a student leader for SDSU Ambassadors, the university’s official student representatives, tour guides and orientation leaders. He is also on track to study abroad and aims to get a doctorate degree and one day become a university professor.
“Through these scholarships that the university offers, I find that these students’ personalities change,” Vasquez said. “They can finally reach their goals. And it probably wouldn’t be possible if these scholarships weren’t available to them.”
Give to Fuel Potential
The masterpiece never painted.
The cure never discovered.
The book never written.
The legacy of deep cuts to higher education is a future in which bright, promising students will never realize their dreams. Through your generosity, SDSU will be able to support the brightest young minds in their pursuit of higher education.
Learn more at sdsu.edu/fuelpotential.