Sue and Bill Gross Give $250,000 for SMC CTE Scholars Program

The SMC Foundation received a $250,000 gift from the William and Sue Gross Foundation to establish a Scholars Program for students in the “forgotten middle” pursuing a Career Technical Education degree or certificate at Santa Monica College, in skilled occupations with strong employment prospects. Eligible students may apply for scholarships in CTE programs including broadcasting, fashion design & merchandising, accounting, computer science, cosmetology, early childhood education, energy efficiency, technical theatre, and many more.

An Early Childhood Education lab class at Santa Monica College.

LA Mode, the SMC Fashion Design & Merchandising program’s annual runway show.

An SMC Entertainment Promotions & Marketing Production intern at Spike TV.

SMC Technical Theatre students at work.

November 22, 2016

The Santa Monica College Foundation received a $250,000 gift from the William and Sue Gross Foundation for students in the “forgotten middle”—who have an unmet financial need and are ineligible for a full Pell Grant or other government assistance—pursuing a Career Technical Education (CTE) degree or certificate at Santa Monica College (SMC), in skilled occupations for which strong employment prospects exist.

“We believe in creating change by encouraging more individuals onto pathways toward careers that will provide for them and bring self-fulfillment,” said Sue Gross, President of the William and Sue Gross Foundation, “and we are particularly pleased to partner with Santa Monica College—a college that is equally attuned to the needs of their local economy and of their diverse student body.”

SMC Superintendent/President and SMC Foundation board member Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery said that the gift will “not only impact the lives of the SMC students who will benefit from it, but also that of their families’ and future generations.”

“Training students in skilled occupations is a top priority for us and creates a virtuous circle where the greatest beneficiaries are our students and the regional economy,” added Dr. Jeffery, “this generous gift will make it possible for many students—for whom it would otherwise be a great difficulty or even an impossibility—to enter that circle.”

During the two-year “demonstration phase” of the scholars program, students will be eligible to apply for scholarships in CTE programs including broadcasting, journalism, accounting, computer science and information systems, cosmetology, animation, early childhood education, energy efficiency, digital media, and many more areas.

“The SMC Foundation is deeply grateful to Sue and Bill Gross for their assistance in establishing this scholars program,” said Lizzy Moore, SMC Interim Dean of Institutional Advancement. “Santa Monica College has such a wealth of CTE programs that provide a high-quality education, and exceptional instructors who partner closely with industry experts—and it is wonderful that many more students can now get that working edge.”

Scholarships are available to current SMC students as well as veterans, displaced workers, and/or emancipated foster youth who possess a high school diploma or general education credential and who enroll as a new student in one of the specified programs at SMC, as well as to graduating high school seniors with a 2.5 GPA or better who have completed at least one course in a defined CTE career pathway by way of a Regional Occupational Centers and Program, a CTE program at Santa Monica College, or a local high school academy.

Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 2.5 or better GPA, and must be registered in at least six units in a designated CTE program. Applicants must not have a discipline hold on their records, or have earned a baccalaureate degree. Candidates for scholarships will compete for awards by completing an extensive application process. For more information on the criteria and selection process, please contact Lizzy Moore at 310-434-4215 or visit

SMC now offers 38 CTE Associate Degrees, 36 CTE Certificates of Achievement, and 43 Department Certificates—these prepare students for direct entry into a skilled career in two years or less. For more information, please see

# # # #