Allan Hancock College Foundation Awards Scholarships to Help Students Transition From Noncredit to Credit Classes

Providing relief for undocumented students looking to start or continue their education

Apr. 14, 2017 -- Sumin Han moved with her family from Korea to the Lompoc Valley in 2014. She registered for noncredit classes at Allan Hancock College in 2016 to learn English. Han started to take credit classes this year, but like so many other students who transition from noncredit to credit, she was ineligible for in-state tuition and other financial aid because she was an undocumented student. The stress over how to pay to continue her education disappeared Monday when Han and five other students, who are transitioning to credit classes at Hancock, received scholarships awarded through the Allan Hancock College Foundation.

“The scholarship is very helpful,” said Han, who plans to become a nurse. “I am really thankful to be able to pay for my classes next semester.”

Han, Eli Escobar, Pedro Cruz, Nayeli Cambray Miranda, Adilene Luna Martinez and Yaneth Yepez were part of the college’s inaugural class of the Advance, Innovate, Maintain (AIM) Scholarship program. The scholarships ranged from $350 to $2,000. Students can use the funds to pay for tuition, books, and other academic fees.

“The scholarship alleviates my financial burden and will allow me to become more fluent in English and pursue my big goal of becoming a surgical nurse,” said Yepez, a mother of three. “I want to be an example for my children and show them how important education is to improve their quality of life.”

“I am very excited because I can pay to take classes in the summer and continue improving my studies to become an athletic trainer,” added Escobar, who plans to try out for the Hancock soccer team in the fall. “It feels nice to have my college support me like this. It feels like a dream.”

The AIM fund is a component of the U.S. Department of Education Title V AIM grant awarded to the college in 2014. The grant focuses on increasing basic skills and English as a Second Language (ESL) student success and advancement.

“Our message is that we are here to help you and support you,” said Nohemy Ornelas, Hancock associate superintendent/vice president, Student Services, during the awards ceremony. “We recognize you for all of the hard work you have done to get to this point and we want to encourage you to continue your education and pursue your dreams.”

The scholarships were funded through donations to the AIM Fund by community members and local businesses, such as Wells Fargo Bank.

“Wells Fargo prides itself in giving back to the community, especially supporting education,” said Vera Biely, vice president/ branch manager with Wells Fargo. “Hopefully, we can set a precedent to encourage community members and businesses to support students, who are trying to better their lives and continue their education at Allan Hancock College. Being a part of the AIM program from the ground up is very heartwarming, and it’s wonderful to see firsthand the benefits it brings to students.”

Because most noncredit students are ineligible for financial aid and in-state tuition, they pay $198 per unit to attend a California community college compared to $46 per unit for in-state residents. For many students, paying for a semester of credit classes is nearly impossible.

“The scholarships truly open doors to more opportunities,” said Dayana Zepeda, a noncredit counselor at Hancock. “The interest in credit classes is huge. Students tend to stay in noncredit though because they can’t pay for credit classes. This fund is a giant step in the right direction and will continue to open doors for more students who are eager to learn.”

The first six students to walk through the door opened by the AIM Fund said they were honored and even more determined to succeed.

“I feel lucky to keep taking classes at Hancock and chase my dreams,” said Han.

“I believe this shows everything in life may be hard, but it is not impossible,” said Yepez. “I am very grateful for the support from my family and my college.”

The college plans to award AIM scholarships on an annual basis.

The AIM Scholarship Fund is part of the college’s Love Your Club campaign, where community members can donate online to the fund. Donations can be made as part of the campaign through Monday, April 17, at

Contributions to the AIM Fund can also be made directly to the Allan Hancock College Foundation. To learn more, please contact the foundation at (805) 925-2004, email, or visit .

- AHC -

Students recieving their AIM Scholarships

The Allan Hancock College Foundation awarded scholarships to its inaugural class of the AIM Scholarship program Monday. Caption: (Left to right) Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D., Sumin Han, Eli Escobar, Adilene Luna Martinez, Pedro Cruz, Yaneth Yepez, Wells Fargo Vice President Vera Biely, and Nohemy Ornelas, Hancock associate superintendent/vice president, Student Services. Not pictured: Nayeli Cambray Miranda

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Last Modified Apr 14, 2017