Cynthia Moreno - Vida en el Valle
William Jessup Wants School to Mirror Area
ROCKLIN -- Aurora Alarcón, a México City native and sophomore at William Jessup University, is the kind of student the small, private Christian university wants.
"There aren't too many of us (Latinos) here yet, but the population is slowing growing," said Alarcón, 20.
Alarcón decided to attend William Jessup over UC Davis after receiving a $5,000 scholarship from the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce two years ago.
"For me, it came down to the scholarship money," said Alarcón, who will graduate in two years with a psychology degree. "It helps out tremendously. Because of the financial aid I have been able to receive, I will graduate with hardly any debt."
William Jessup will need a lot more Latino students like Alarcón if it wants to become a Hispanic-serving institution in the next few years. Latinos currently represent 10 percent of the university's 936 students (graduate and undergraduate). University officials hope to increase that to 25 percent.
"Latinos are the emerging culture of America and we want our existing Latino student population on our campus to continue growing. We have always welcomed diversity and we would like to be considered as a university of choice for Latino students who are choosing a place to pursue higher education," said Eric Hogue, the university's vice president of advancement.
The university has partnered with The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (the country's largest Christian Hispanic group) to outreach to Latino students.
"We are expecting William Jessup to become a Hispanic serving institution in the next few years. We are not naïve to the fact that 50 percent of Latino students are not graduating from high school and many face financial obstacles and forego college," said the Rev. Sam Rodríguez, conference president. "My dream is that every Latino student pursue higher education and to consider William Jessup in that process."
Hogue believes William Jessup is an affordable alternative to rising fees at UCs and CSUs.
"We consider the size of our university as an added benefit. Compared to a public university education, here at William Jessup, classes are small and intimate, our faculty is able to build strong relationships with their students and really get to know and engage with them in their intellectual pursuits. Not to mention, the majority of our students graduate in just four years," said Hogue.
Money, said university officials, should not be a problem at William Jessup where tuition is approximately $21,900 a year. Nearly 98 percent of its students receive some type of financial aid, and 86 percent receive private scholarships and grants.
Last year, the university gave $5 million in scholarships. William Jessup offers one student a $5,000 scholarship each year for four years through the Hispanic Chamber. The conference offers another $5,000 scholarship.
"I want every Latino student to have the resources to be able to go to college. Finances should not be a deterrent. There is help available and there are resources at this university to help them pay for college," said Rodríguez.
Alarcón will graduate with hardly any debt.
"This university tries to help you if money is an issue, and they ensure it does not become an issue," said Alarcón.
William Jessup also delivers when it comes to jobs upon graduation, said Hogue.
"We want them to be spiritually challenged and be exceptionally employable once they graduate. Last year, 61 per cent of our graduates who walked across the stage had a job at commencement. The growth and maturation here is tremendous," said Hogue.
The university offers degrees in business administration, children's ministry, English, history and liberal studies. It also offers a school of Professional Studies at its campuses in Rocklin and San José, including a teacher credential program.
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