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Anthony Schaw made the most out of his PCC-Linfield scholarship opportunity

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Thanks to a special scholarship agreement between two institutions of higher education, Anthony Schaw’s dream of attending a private university came true.

A partnership between Portland Community College and Linfield University allowed Future Connect students like Schaw a chance at attending a private college. The agreement provided three PCC Future Connect Program students scholarships to attend Linfield and earn their bachelor’s degrees. After a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the institutions are renewing the project next fall and this time they are doubling the amount of scholarships to six.

Anthony Schaw

Anthony Schaw.

For Schaw, the Linfield scholarship was a dream come true. The opportunity made it possible for him to attend a respected private university as it covered all of his tuition expenses and half of his housing costs. Schaw would earn his Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree through PCC, allowing him enough credits to graduate within two years at Linfield for a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

This is his story of how the access and support provided by the scholarship changed his academic career for the better.

What did you study at PCC as part of Future Connect?

Anthony Schaw: At PCC, I studied to obtain an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AAOT) degree because I knew I wanted to transfer to an Oregon university to obtain my bachelor’s degree. My Future Connect coach told me that completing an AAOT would satisfy a lot of the lower-division requirements that universities have to ensure I had junior standing when I transferred.

This was really important to me because I wanted to make sure I could graduate within two years at my university and complete as many of my prerequisites as possible at PCC due to its more affordable rate. During my time at PCC, I decided that I wanted to get my bachelor’s degree in business administration. My (Future Connect) coach recommended to me that I complete my lower-division business classes also at PCC, such as accounting and economics. 

How did you hear about the Linfield scholarship opportunity?

Schaw: From Margarita (Hernandez), the transfer support specialist for Future Connect, and my coach. I remember attending a Future Connect field trip visit to Linfield’s campus and learning more about the scholarship opportunity available to students. We also got to attend a workshop about how to write scholarship essays and met with current Linfield students, most of whom were first-generation and students of color, who talked about the support that is available to first-generation students at Linfield.

I knew after that visit that I had to at least apply for the scholarship opportunity as I started to consider Linfield as a possible transfer school. I began attending Linfield in the fall of 2019 and graduated there in the spring of 2021. 

How did it go at Linfield?

Schaw: While I was at first nervous about starting somewhere new after attending PCC, I decided to take part in different opportunities and activities that are available to students as a way to meet new people. I took on a work study job at the financial aid office, joined the Linfield Latinx Adelante club, and participated in activities for the Linfield First-Gen Program. All of these opportunities allowed me to make new connections and form new friendships at Linfield, which made being away from home for the first time in my life easier.

I appreciated the amount of support I received from Linfield like the small class sizes that I was used to from my time at PCC and the career networking opportunities available to students, such as summer internships. We became friends and we would often study together or go to campus events. I am grateful to Linfield for all the different opportunities it gave me.

How big a difference did this opportunity make in your academic career?

Schaw: The Linfield Future Connect scholarship made a huge difference in being able to attend Linfield. Before learning of the scholarship, my original plan was to transfer to a public university, most likely Portland State, as I viewed it as the most affordable option for myself. I had thought of Linfield as a nice dream school but out-of-reach for me as a low-income, first-generation college student.

I also never thought of living on-campus as I did not think I could afford it. However, the scholarship made attending Linfield much more attainable as it covered all my tuition expenses and half of my housing costs. This allowed me to experience living on-campus and attend a private school with a good financial aid package. In fact, my Linfield-Future Connect scholarship provided me with the best financial aid package out of all the schools I applied for, including public universities like Portland State. 

What was the key resource or experience for you at Linfield?

Schaw: I think the key aspect of this scholarship was that it allowed me to experience a small, private school setting, which I never thought I would ever have had the chance to experience. I came to appreciate the small college environment as it reminded me of what I had liked so much about PCC, such as the small class sizes and getting to know your instructors. I was worried about transferring to a large university and attending classes in large lecture halls as I do not know how well I would have done in them as I am someone who does well by being able to interact with my instructors and classmates.

I am glad to know that Linfield offers such a great scholarship to Future Connect students and it just reiterates how incredible the program is at helping low-income, first-generation college students to garner the recognition of a small, private college like Linfield. I also learned that Linfield is committed to helping first-generation and students of color through the many programs and activities they offer to create a welcoming environment, including transfer students like me. It’s this support that made attending Linfield an enjoyable experience where I was able to interact with a diverse group of people and further my education.

Thank you, Anthony!

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Public Relations Manager at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic, Wo... more »