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4Cs Receives $30,000 to Start “PowerUp” Grant to Fill Student Financial Gaps

March 11, 2021

For more than 30 years, Sally Chapman Cameron served as a community college administrator in the Southcoast of Massachusetts, dedicating her career to promoting the life-changing benefits of higher education. Now retired and living in Barnstable, Cameron has turned her attention to supporting a new generation of students, personally funding a $30,000 grant to connect students at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) with money that supports unmet needs and helps keep them on a path to college completion.

The “PowerUp” grant provides critical gap funds to students who need money to address “small necessities” that can otherwise derail them from staying in college. Cameron says that throughout her career she has seen students who drop out because they can’t pay for a car repair, or an unexpected medical bill, or any number of life events that make continuing seem impossible. The PowerUp grant will cover gaps in funding not covered by financial aid, outstanding student balances that are prohibiting students from registering for classes, fees, books, technology, equipment and living expenses for students who demonstrate need.

“Community college students are the Cape’s future,” Cameron said. “They are our neighbors, our healthcare professionals and business people and entrepreneurs,” said Cameron. “These are people trying to improve their lives and escape poverty, but sometimes poverty can be an obstacle to staying in school. Because they are often stretched so thin, it’s too easy for them to be knocked off track by even the most minor of financial setbacks. Through this grant, I want to give those students a chance to hang on and finish their journey.”

At Cape Cod Community College, more than 60-percent of students are enrolled on a part-time basis, juggling work, family, and other personal responsibilities on top of their classwork.

“This grant is going to change the lives of so many of our students, and we could not be more thankful,” said John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College. “Looking across the country, we see reports that show that the vast majority of community college students simply do not have the means to sustain financial setbacks. When those setbacks come, they are often forced to choose between their education and their survival. The PowerUp grant is a lifeline to our students and we know it will keep many of them on track and moving towards Commencement.”

The PowerUp grant does not need to be paid back and will be available to any student who has completed at least 12-college credits. Students at the College are encouraged to apply, regardless of status, including those who classify as international, undocumented, and DACA. Funds from the PowerUp grant are being distributed throughout the Spring 2021 semester and will continue on through the Fall 2021 semester. Cameron hopes that the grant will rally others in the community to build on the growing need for student emergency funds.

“In our community, we benefit from the students and graduates of Cape Cod Community College every day,” she said. “Especially after this year of pandemic and economic downturns, it is to all of our interests to help them cross the finish line.”

Applications for the PowerUp grant are now being accepted. The grant is administered through The Educational Foundation of Cape Cod Community College, and support for the PowerUp grant is tax-deductable. For information on how to give to 4Cs, visit