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Stockton first-generation students eligible for Pacific’s Community Involvement Program scholarship

First-generation college students from University of the Pacific's Community Involvement Program in front of Knoles Hall
Alana Manning and Irene Hernandez-Martinez, graduates of Pacific’s Community Involvement Program.

If you’re a Stockton student interested in scholarship opportunities at Pacific, make sure to check out the Community Involvement Program (CIP). From the benefits of the program to how to apply, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this special opportunity for local, first-generation college students to thrive at Pacific while giving back to the Stockton community. 

Pacific’s Director of Enrollment, Access and Inclusion, Mario Fuentez, who is also a CIP alumnus, urges local students to take advantage of the opportunity.  

“CIP is such an impactful program that supported me to complete my undergraduate degree at Pacific and I didn’t need to take out school loans. And now, I want other Stocktonians to have this same life-changing experience as well.”

What is the Community Involvement Program? 

The Community Involvement Program is a need-based scholarship and retention program for first-generation college students from the Stockton community who show leadership potential. It was started in 1969 by a group of Stockton students and community members who wanted to increase educational opportunities for under-represented groups in the local community.  

“The purpose has been and still is to ensure that Stockton students have access to a quality undergraduate education that will provide them with an opportunity to improve their quality of life,” says Director of CIP Karen Collins. “When they have the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree, they are also likely to experience social mobility that will benefit their families and communities in Stockton.” 

The CIP scholarship pays up to $40,000 of tuition and fees per school year, providing access to a college education for low-income students. The program also provides opportunities for scholars to develop their leadership skills by mentoring and tutoring students in Stockton schools, as well as participating in other volunteer projects in the community.  

Community service 

CIP scholars engage in one of three mentoring programs:  

  • CIP CHASE Your Dreams Achieve Nothing Less, which serves local elementary schools 
  • CIP CHASING Transfer Success, which serves San Joaquin Delta College students 
  • CIP literacy promotion programs, which promote higher education and self-efficacy, as well as provide tutoring services 

Cynia Manning ’24, a political science major, says her volunteer work in CIP has encouraged her to “plant seeds within the Stockton community.”  

“I’ve established my own mentor program called Cohort Cares that creates an opportunity for incoming students in CIP to have support from current CIP students through workshops familiarizing them with resources at Pacific,” she says. “I’ve also served as a CHASE mentor, where I have helped mentor and assist junior high students outside of their classroom hours.” 

Cohort experience 

Beyond the financial aid benefits and community service opportunities, CIP also provides a supportive community to help you navigate your college experience at Pacific.  

“Each cohort forms a sort of learning community where they bond tightly during their undergraduate experience and after they graduate,” says Manning. “While at UOP they study together, often live together, socialize together, volunteer in the community together, and participate in other UOP organizations together.” 

Izzi Gomez ’24, who is currently working toward his Master of Accounting degree, says he attributes the success of his academic journey at Pacific to CIP.  

“As a first-year, being able to meet so many fellow scholars of all years and majors, I was really able to find my sense of belonging,” he says. “I felt like I had a second home filled with mentors who were eager to answer all and any questions I had and always gave amazing advice about college.” 

Qualifications to apply 

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident 
  • First-generation college student (neither parent/guardian has earned a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in the U.S.) 
  • Stockton resident for at least the past 3 years 
  • Apply for admission and be admitted to University of the Pacific as a new incoming first-year undergraduate student for the fall semester from a Stockton high school or as a transfer student from San Joaquin Delta College 
  • Awarded a Pell Grant 
  • Demonstrate evidence of involvement and volunteerism in the community 
  • Committed to using your education to improve the Stockton community 

How to apply  

Ready to apply? Here’s how it works. The application portal opens August 1 and closes February 13 (but if you are unable to submit your application within this timeframe, please email 

In order to apply, you’ll need to: 

  • First, apply to Pacific (create an account and login information) 
  • Second, apply to CIP (log in with the same login credentials as your Pacific application) 

In your personal statement, be sure to discuss your community awareness and involvement and why you are passionate about being involved in the Stockton community. It’s also a good idea to tell the person who is writing your letter of recommendation that you are applying to CIP and ask them to discuss your community involvement as well.  

Once you have submitted your application, you may be invited to participate in an on-campus interview. If you are accepted to become a CIP scholar, you will be able to attend a mandatory CIP retreat in August.  

Get in touch  

If you are interested in applying but are feeling uncertain or intimidated, don’t hesitate to reach out to the CIP program staff! They are eager to learn more about you and help you through the application process.  

“We are constantly in SUSD schools presenting CIP information sessions, but we also hold space in our offices or via Zoom to meet with students and their families one-on-one to go more in depth about CIP,” said Manning. “Additionally, the staff and CIP Scholars work together to facilitate application workshops and personal statement bootcamps to help demystify the process.” 

To learn more about CIP, please email or call 209.946.2436. 

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