BOS Votes to Increase AG Scholarship Awards for 2015

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Ag scholarship

EL CENTRO — The County voted Tuesday to use Ag Benefit dollars to award qualifying college bound ag students with scholarships.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors passed a request from the Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner, Connie Valenzuela, which allows the County to match Ag Scholarships for students.

The Board approved 4-0, giving a 100 percent match for qualifying scholarships, up to a maximum of $45,400.

The County plans to give these funds to organizations, not individual students, Valenzuela said. This action relieves the County from reviewing and analyzing individual student applications, she said. Scholarship programs that fund agricultural related students already have filtering processes in place.

“The organization applies for funds (from us),” Valenzuela said. “They must specify that (the funds) are for agriculture related majors.”

The County need not determine if the funds from these scholarships will go directly to the receiving individual or the receiving school. The awarding organizations will determine that, Valenzuela said.

In a May 5 meeting, the Board previously approved scholarship criteria for the Agricultural Benefit Fee Academic Scholarship Program. “The written scholarship announcements and criteria of each organization were collected and reviewed to ensure that the scholarships met these criteria,” Valenzuela said.

In that meeting, the Board approved a general guideline of $35,000 per year for education and scholarships, though it was noted to be a general guideline only and subject to change, said Valenzuela.

Yesterday, the Board increased the total amount of the County match to $45,400.

In a letter from Valenzuela to the Board, she posited that “a total of up to $45,400 in scholarships from qualifying scholarship programs have been or will be awarded this year.”

She said, “The California Agriculture Pest Control Association will not choose the recipients of their scholarships until later this month, so the home county of the recipients are not known yet.” The recipients could be from Imperial County, however if they are not, “the total (scholarship awards) will be $41,000,” Valenzuela said.