Local students have another more affordable opportunity to further their education beyond high school after the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District signed an agreement last week with Grand Canyon University, a private Christian college. Superintendent Cali Binks signed the Participants in Learning, Leading and Serving Agreement on behalf of the district at the Nov. 9 board meeting. “We want to thank them for working with us,” Binks said. “We want to have a wide array of opportunities for our students to attend colleges of their choice and this makes the opportunity pretty seamless for our seniors.” “We are excited about the partnership so thank you for being here,” Board President Mike Snellings told Grand Canyon representatives. According to the agreement, tuition for Grand Canyon University, which is located in Phoenix, would not exceed $13,250 per academic year after the minimum scholarship package is applied. In order to qualify for a scholarship, students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA, said Yasmin Cardenas, a university admissions counselor for the Yucaipa area. “A 3.0 is the starting level for scholarships. If they have a 3.0, they are automatically accepted with a scholarship package. That scholarship pack-age is also renewable every single year,” said Cardenas, adding students would need to maintain a 2.5 GPA to retain their scholarship each year. Some students, though, may qualify for more than one scholarship, Cardenas noted. “This agreement in particular helps students get extra scholarships to our university,” she said. “Not only if they have a 3.0 (GPA) or above are they accepted with scholarships, they will get another scholarship on top of that with this PLLS Agreement. It is an amazing program to encourage students to pick a school they are comfortable with.” Grand Canyon University is the sixth college that YCJUSD has an agreement with. The others are private colleges University of Redlands, University of La Verne, Cal Baptist University and Azusa Pacific University, plus public university Cal State San Bernardino. Grand Canyon University's annual tuition rate was $16,500 for both in-state and out-of-state students in the 2020-21 academic year, according to its website. On-campus students pay an average of $8,100 for room and board and $1,700 in additional fees. “We are as affordable, if not more, than a Cal State or a UC (student) living on campus,” Cardenas said. Later in the week, Cardenas said she was planning to visit Yucaipa High School to go over the possibilities with students in one-on-one meetings, and the following week to work with counselors. “We are already putting this in motion as far as working with students,” Cardenas said. “With on-the-spot acceptances for these students, so they can see their scholarship package and they can feel comfortable with having another amazing option for their college.” Grand Canyon University had about 20,000 on-campus students in 2018, according to various websites, and another approximate 70,000 online students. Besides scholarships for students, Grand Canyon also offers opportunities for educators, paraprofessionals, classified staff and families. “Another amazing thing about this agreement is that educators in the Yucaipa school district will also be able to receive a discount if they want to further their education with Grand Canyon University,” Cardenas said. “We are trying to be in partnership with all aspects of education.” Grand Canyon University is also a NCAA Division 1 school in athletics. “One more exciting thing about Grand Canyon University is we are a (NCAA) Division 1 sports. We have a lot of students from this area,” said Cara Mendoza, university development counselor for online education who also attended the board meeting. Grand Canyon University is part of the Western Athletic Conference. Jaime Anderson, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, worked on the agreement with Grand Canyon University and introduced the item. “This adds an opportunity for our YCJUSD seniors with guaranteed admissions to Grand Canyon University. We are very excited about this partnership,” she said. Binks thanked Anderson for all of her work. “I would like to thank Dr. Anderson as she continues to get opportunities for our students,” Binks said. For more information, visit yucaipaschools.com.
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