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New scholarship program has lower GPA requirement

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FARMINGTON — A new scholarship opportunity for San Juan College graduates looking to transfer to Fort Lewis College will launch in the fall, and it could include $1,000 in additional funds.

The college in Durango, Colorado, is launching a new reciprocal program for graduates of San Juan College which could award them with a merit-based scholarship to pay in-state tuition rates.

Currently, New Mexico students who graduate with an associate degree and have a 3.0 GPA can apply for the New Mexico Reciprocal Scholarship.

San Juan College students starting in the Fall 2019 semester with a GPA of 2.75 or higher can apply to transfer to Fort Lewis College at the in-state tuition rate.

Katie Nester, associate director of admission for Fort Lewis College, said out-of-state tuition typically is about $10,000 more a semester than in-state rates.

"It's important to honor the hard work of our neighboring students," Nester said

San Juan College President Toni Pendergrass said discussions with Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus about strengthening their partnerships started when he toured the New Mexico college not long after being hired in August.

"I would describe it as a strong partnership between Fort Lewis College and San Juan College," Pendergrass said.

There have been 494 students in the last 10 years who have transferred from San Juan to Fort Lewis, according to Pendergrass. San Juan College students are a majority of Fort Lewis College's transfer students.

"We would like to increase that rate," Pendergrass said.

For Fall 2018, 40 transfer students were confirmed for enrollment in the reciprocal scholarship program, according to Nester.

About 10 more students who applied to transfer in Fall 2018 would have qualified with the new GPA requirement, Nester said.

Fort Lewis College has made moves to accommodate transfer students, including hiring a transfer admission counselor to help provide support as their needs are different than incoming freshman.

An award is also available for honors students. Those who have a GPA of 3.25 or higher from San Juan College could receive an additional $1,000 scholarship for their first year, according to Nester.

Those seeking information on the scholarship program can contact a counselor at Fort Lewis College at 970-247-6710, or contact San Juan College at 505-566-3572.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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