TIFTON — The United States Department of Education recently awarded Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College a $2.1 million College Assistance Migrant Program grant from the Office of Migrant Education.
Scott Pierce, director of sponsored programs at ABAC, said the five-year CAMP grant is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to provide support to first-year college students of migrant and seasonal workers within the area of agriculture.
The CAMP grant is dedicated to meeting the academic, social, emotional and financial needs of its students, college officials said in a statement. The program pays for tuition, room and board, books and a small stipend for student participants.
“This is a really great program for South Georgia,” Pierce said. “At a funding level at just over $2.1 million over five years, it’s a healthy boost to our local economy. It goes a long way toward meeting the educational needs of our migrant and agricultural communities. We are very proud of our College Assistance Migrant Program here at ABAC.”
CAMP is more than a scholarship, college officials said. It provides mentoring and tutoring services throughout the year, with additional tutoring for previous CAMP students.
“CAMP is more than just a program to me," Julie Ramirez, an ABAC biology major who is a former CAMP student and presently serves as a mentor, said. "It quickly became a family. It has allowed complete strangers to become friends and family.”
ABAC student Lizbeth Cortez, when remembering her year in CAMP, said, “CAMP isn’t just a program; it’s a helping hand, a sturdy shoulder, a rock to lean on, a listening ear through its mentoring, tutoring and guidance service.”
To be eligible to participate in CAMP, students must meet certain criteria including: must have worked in migrant or seasonal farm work within the last 24 months, be a citizen or permanent resident, and be eligible for federal financial aid.
Prospective applicants must complete documentation necessary to be accepted into ABAC and CAMP. With room for 30 students each year for incoming ABAC freshmen, the CAMP program is accepting applications for the 2021 fall semester.
“Most of the CAMP students do not have the resources to maneuver through the educational system, and this is where CAMP plays an important role in their college lives,” said Olga Contreras, director of multicultural education at ABAC. “Through the guidance of the CAMP staff, students are introduced to a world in which they nor their parents, thought was possible.”
Ana Ortiz, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business at ABAC, said, “Being a part of CAMP was a fantastic experience. Apart from aiding me financially, the program also provided me with many opportunities to grow as a student and as an individual. CAMP guided me through my first year of college, and it set me on the right path to continue my success in the years to come.”
Interested persons who have questions about CAMP can contact CAMP recruiter Nancy Carrera at email@example.com or at (229) 391-4884. Dr. Kenneth Smith, associate director for CAMP at ABAC, is also available for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (229) 391-4883.