Financing a Dream
New Scholarship Provides Fully-funded Scholarships for Business Students
Accounting students Alexa Koch and Bernice Rose have a knack for math but figuring out how they are going to pay for college won't require any special formulas or calculations.
The tuition and fees they will pay for the 2011-12 school year: $0.
Koch and Rose are the inaugural recipients of the D. Scott Mercer Scholarship, a fund aimed at high achieving students and military veterans in the College of Business Administration. Koch and Rose's scholarship is more than a 1-year gift. As long as they take a full-course load and maintain a 3.0 grade point average, the Mercer scholarship will continue paying for their education.
Recently retired business executive D. Scott Mercer (’76, accounting) created the scholarship earlier this year. After years of generously donating to the college and the university – most recently, he gave $300,000 for the new CBA complex – Mercer said he wanted to make a different kind of gift.
“This is more of what I want to do at this point in my life,” Mercer says. “I felt that I wanted my next gift to be a little more meaningful to some people’s lives.”
Alexa Koch: Aspiring CPA
Koch could be considered a dream applicant for any college. The Nuevo, Calif. resident earned a 4.33 grade point average in high school, scored well on Advanced Placement tests and was actively involved on campus.
When she had to decide on a college to attend, one factor loomed over every decision: cost. Koch’s parents have limited means to support her dreams and Koch knew she would have to bear sole responsibility for financing her education. She was fully prepared to take on student loans.
Everything changed after she received an email from CBA that announced several scholarships. She decided to apply and, a short time later, she received a letter in the mail.
“My mom told me I received a letter about getting a scholarship but I didn’t believe her,” Koch says. “I thought she was talking about student loans. Then I saw the letter and was really excited. It’s so good to know that I won’t have to be in debt with loans.”
Koch is already planning her life after Cal Poly Pomona. She hopes to earn her master's in accountancy and become a certified public accountant in the entertainment industry.
Bernice Rose: Veteran
Lack of money is what prevented Rose from completing her college degree in the 1990s.
The former Marine was a single mother of two young children living on government assistance when she began studying at Mt. San Antonio College. Although she earned her associate’s degree Rose decided to defer her goal of earning a bachelor’s degree so she could get a job and support her family.
Rose, an Azusa resident, excelled at her job as an accounting technician at Citrus College but knew career advancement would be limited without a college degree. Although money was still an issue, Rose walked onto the Cal Poly Pomona campus in fall 2010 determined to continue her studies.
Taking an extended break from the classroom hasn’t affected Rose. A standout in Mt. Sac classrooms, she continues to impress at Cal Poly Pomona. She earned all A’s in fall, winter and spring quarters last school year.
Rose says that the Mercer scholarship will not only impact her life but also send a positive message to her children.
“I try to stress to my children that education is very important,” says Rose, who received the Mercer scholarship designated for veterans. “I hope I’m setting a good example and show them it’s never too late to finish.”