San Jacinto College will expand its scholarship offerings for local students using donation funds from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott, Chancellor Brenda Hellyer said during SJC’s annual State of the College address Nov. 12.

Beginning with the class of 2022, any student who lives within the college’s taxing district at the time of their high school graduation can attend SJC as a Promise scholar. The funds are used to pay all tuition costs after financial aid as well as to cover the cost of books and supplies.

Scott, former wife of Amazon Executive Chair Jeff Bezos, donated $30 million to SJC earlier this year. Of the donation, $10 million is being used to create an endowment for the scholarship, Hellyer said.

“This is truly a program built on promise,” she said during her remarks. “It is my sincere hope that this Promise program will encourage students and their families to think seriously about the benefits of earning a college credential.”

Promise scholars have three years to complete their degree, and they each also have a coach for support. The Scott donation was also used to create SJC’s 21Forward Scholarship, which provides free tuition to recent graduates from six ISDs within the SJC taxing district.

More than 2,500 students have taken advantage of the scholarship so far, Hellyer said Nov. 12.

Scott announced her $2.7 billion worth of donations in a June 15 blog post, where she detailed how she, her husband and “a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors are all attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change.” A total 286 institutions received funding, including nine other colleges and universities in Texas, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

She, along with husband Dan Jewett, looked for two- and four-year institutions that were successfully educating students who come from chronically underserved communities, Scott wrote in the post. The college is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution as defined by the U.S. Department of Education.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the support, and it really does go to show you that the work we're doing here ... is not going unrecognized,” Hellyer said Nov. 12, adding the donation will change lives for years to come. “We really want to change the socioeconomic trajectory of our community.”

Click here to learn more about scholarship opportunities at SJC, including a scholarship for students attending prior to fall 2020 who were impacted by COVID-19.