Copper Mountain College’s “FULL RIDE” Greenleaf Scholarship Open for Morongo Basin Students

High school students across the Morongo Basin who are graduating this year have a once in a lifetime opportunity available to them this winter – they can apply for the Greenleaf Scholarship.

The Greenleaf Scholarship is not your ordinary scholarship, though there’s nothing wrong with those. This scholarship provides a “full ride” for the recipient, covering nearly all expenses associated with going to college, including tuition, textbooks, fees, and standard living expenses like food, lodging, and transportation, while the student attends Copper Mountain College and then transfers to a university to complete their bachelor’s degree.

During a time when the cost of obtaining a college degree can be a significant challenge for many students and families, Copper Mountain College helps keep a college education affordable. There are numerous avenues of support for students who want to obtain a degree to keep their costs at a minimum. Students can obtain any of dozens of certificates to prepare for a career, or associate degrees that transfer to many CSU and UC universities to further their studies, at a very low cost.

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The Greenleaf Scholarship takes that one giant step further for a Morongo Basin student every year. It covers their costs while attending Copper Mountain College, and then continues to cover their costs while pursuing their bachelor’s degree at a university. It’s a full ride scholarship, made possible by The Roy Greenleaf, Jr. Education Fund, established by the estate of F. Roy Greenleaf, Jr., and administered by the Copper Mountain College Foundation.

“F. Roy Greenleaf, Jr., came to the Morongo Basin in the 1970s and started a community bank,” said Sandy Smith, executive director of the CMC Foundation. “His arrival coincided with the beginning of the fundraising for the building of what has become Copper Mountain College and he became a major donor to the CMC Foundation. The college’s library is actually named in his honor.”

Greenleaf developed a close relationship with Friends of Copper Mountain College, now the CMC Foundation, Smith explained. “Mr. Greenleaf set up a trust for his estate with the CMC Foundation as its sole beneficiary,” Smith noted. “Roy died in 1996, and his wife Beverly passed away in 2000. With her passing, a $2.5 million endowment was turned over to the CMC Foundation to fund the Greenleaf Scholar Program.

GreenleafScholar2: Copper Mountain College’s 2015
Greenleaf Scholar, KamalJot Singh, with the 2022 Greenleaf Scholar, Julianna Jimenez.
Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain College.

We’ve been good stewards and continue to honor the Greenleaf’s wishes.” Some students may worry that their grades aren’t high enough to qualify them for the Greenleaf Scholarship, but Smith explained that GPA isn’t the only factor considered for the scholarship.

“Mr. Greenleaf was pretty specific about what a Greenleaf Scholar would be, including that they’re a responsible student interested in learning; a student who is well respected by their peers, teachers, and administrators; a student who is success oriented and a hard worked both in, and out, of school; and, a student who shows a desire to return to the Morongo Basin upon completion of their education,” Smith detailed.

In 2002, Jillian Burkett from Yucca Valley was named the first Greenleaf Scholar. Burkett completed her associate degree at Copper Mountain College and went on to San Diego State University to complete her teaching degree. Since that time, Greenleaf Scholars from all across the Morongo Basin have gone on to obtain their bachelor’s degrees at universities from UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara to UC Berkeley, Cal State Long Beach to Cal State San Bernardino and BYU. They have obtained degrees in everything from Physics and Educational Counseling to Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Accounting, Applied Statistical Science, Electrical Engineering, Psychology, and more.

Greenleaf Scholars have gone on to have careers in education and counseling, serving in the Air Force and working in start-up companies. Yvonna Mullen, the 2017 Greenleaf Scholar graduated from UC Berkely in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Resource Studies, and Vanessa Reyes, the 2019 Greenleaf Scholar, followed her in December with a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies.

Yvonne Mullen Graduation UCB 2023: Copper Mountain
College’s 2017 Greenleaf Scholar, Yvonne Mullen, graduating from University of California Berkeley in May 2023.
Photo courtesy of Yvonne Mullen.

Applications for the Greenleaf Scholarship are open through February 21. All applications must be completed online at

For more information, please contact the Copper Mountain College Foundation at (760) 366-3791 extension 4200.

Apply for the 2024 Greenleaf Scholarship
Who should apply?
Graduating high school seniors who are:
• Hard working
• Involved in the community and school
• Goal oriented
• Willing to live and work in the Morongo Basin after college
Applications are due by February 21, 2024
Apply at:
For information: (760)366-3791 extension 4200
All applications must be completed online.

CMC’s mission is to provide educational opportunities for diverse desert communities and beyond through a comprehensive curriculum and support services that demonstrate a passion for the success of every individual student. Copper Mountain College offers high quality, affordable instruction that enables students to attain mastery in basic skills and career development, and build pathways to associate degrees, certificates, university transfer, and personal enrichment. For general information about Copper Mountain College, please visit

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