Fort Lewis College will offer four $2,500 scholarships to students this fall majoring in public health.
The college is one of five institutions receiving scholarship funding as part of the Colorado Housing and Financial Authority Building the Future Scholarship fund. CHFA dedicated $1.2 million to institutions across Colorado, and FLC will receive $100,000 over the next 10 years.
Other schools to receive funding included Colorado State University-Pueblo, Colorado Mesa University, Foundation of Colorado Community Colleges and University of Colorado-Denver.
“We are honored to support students and future leaders in Southwest Colorado,” said Jaime Gomez, CHFA deputy executive director and CEO.
Megan Hererra, spokeswoman for CHFA, said schools an use the money to assist students within particular educational focus areas. But the organization’s focus is to invest in education to strengthen affordable housing efforts and community development.
Scholarship recipients must be Colorado residents, first-generation college students and demonstrate financial need. They also must have a 2.5 grade-point average or above to be eligible.
FLC spokeswoman Lauren Pope said the college evaluated different student needs and decided public health would be the best field to direct funding.
“Public health is a relatively new major, and we just don’t have as many scholarships dedicated to public health majors,” she said. “So this is really important for us to just work with partners to build up scholarship programs.”
Pope said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a need for more employees in the public health workforce. It became especially evident during the peak of the pandemic when hospitals and health care institutions struggled with staffing.
Also, more students became interested in public health fields during the pandemic.
“What we’re seeing as far as public health, and then health care in general, regionally, there is a shortage,” Pope said.
Students can apply for the scholarship by visiting the college’s scholarship portal on its website.