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Contra Costa College student wins scholarship to cover textbook costs

on December 4, 2014

Mailen Rocha’s weeks are filled with classes in the mornings, babysitting in the evenings, work on the weekends, and schoolwork whenever she’s lucky enough to have a break.

As a second-year student at Contra Costa College, Mailen, 20, spends much of her time thinking about how she will fund her education.

Several weeks ago, one of Mailen’s favorite teachers at Richmond High School, Joe Vasquez, who taught her mathematics, alerted her about a scholarship that could pay to cover her textbook costs.

The nationwide competition for the “Cover the Cost” scholarship asked students to “creatively answer the question: ‘How do you cover the cost of textbooks?’” The contestants (who must be at least 18 and enrolled in any post secondary institution) entered a response by either submitting a short video or written essay.

Mailen gave the competition a shot and came away a winner. In her video entry, Mailen succinctly describes the lengths she has to go through to afford her textbooks. “Cover the Cost” awarded three winners $2500 each to purchase textbooks.

The Michelson Twenty Million Minds Foundation based out of Pasadena, CA, a “tech-driven innovator that focuses on developing and delivering tools that improve education access and affordability,” funds the scholarship.

In a statement, Dean Florez, current president of the foundation and former California State Senator of the 16th congressional district, said, “Textbook costs are skyrocketing and it has put an unnecessary financial burden on millions of college students nationwide.”

Congratulating the winners, Florez added, “Their touching responses have helped put a face to the issue of fast rising textbook costs.”

Once Mailen fulfills her general education requirements, she plans to transfer to an East Bay university to pursue a nursing career. At a time when tuition costs are rising throughout California, any savings for students like Mailen can help keep them in school down the road.

Although she declined to share personal details about herself, Mailen did say, “I still cannot believe that I won a scholarship, I’ve been having a lot of difficulty receiving financial aid. I still can’t believe that this is true.”

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