Daily News

HCC Celebrates Grand Opening of Scholarship Resource Center

HOLYOKE — Feroza Sherzai holds the distinction of being the first Holyoke Community College (HCC) student to apply for a scholarship through the school’s new Scholarship Resource Center.

Sherzai arrived at the center on Jan. 31, just as the open house celebrating its grand opening got underway, and sat down at one of the center’s three computer workstations.

“This is a very good opportunity for students,” said Sherzai, a student in HCC’s academic English as a second language program. “I came here to fill out the application. I had a lot of questions.”

On hand to answer those questions was Laura Freeman, manager of Stewardship and Donor Relations for HCC and coordinator of the center. “She was very good,” Sherzai said. “She was very patient with me.”

The Scholarship Resource Center is the first of its kind among community colleges in Massachusetts. Its purpose is to make it easier for students to apply for scholarships available through the HCC Foundation.

“We’re here 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, to help with all things scholarship-related,” Freeman said. “It’s great to have this very warm, inviting, and inclusive space where students can come and get the assistance they need.”

Scholarship season for the 2024-25 academic year opened on Jan. 29 and continues through March 3. Each year, the HCC Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships worth about $350,000 to more than 300 incoming, current, and transferring HCC students. Students must be currently enrolled at HCC or have been accepted for the upcoming academic year to be eligible.

The center saw a steady stream of students throughout the four-hour open house, which culminated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon led by President George Timmons.

“This is such an exciting time for HCC, and we’re excited to continue to provide services that remove barriers to education,” he said. “What a great way to start your academic career and journey than here in this wonderful, new, lovely space. Not only is it functional, but it’s also social.”

Among the other students who came to the open house to apply for a scholarship was first-year student Sunrise Iaim Smith.

“I read that HCC had created a new facility where we can get support in applying and be able to ask questions during the application process,” Smith said. “I figured that’s a nice support to have. It’s not always easy navigating financial aid or understanding expectations when you’re filling out an application. Just having people who know the process there to support you makes it feel a little better, especially since it’s my first time.”

The Scholarship Resource Center is located on the first floor of the Donahue Building. The center is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students in need of assistance can drop in any time during office hours or schedule an appointment to meet with center staff.

Applicants need to fill out only one online form to be automatically matched with the scholarships they are most qualified to receive. There are scholarships for new students, current students, and students transferring to other institutions; scholarships based on financial need; scholarships for students in specific majors; scholarships for residents of certain communities; and scholarships that recognize academic achievement.

For more information or for assistance, email [email protected] or visit the center in Donahue 158. To view scholarship opportunities and begin the application process, visit www.hcc.edu/scholarships.