Ronald Spencer

Ronald Spencer is originally from the southwestern United States, and he now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home.  He is also a Laguna Pueblo and Navajo Native American, and a United States veteran.  

Ronald was a re-entry student when he first started attending Merritt College in Oakland, California.  He recently graduated with his associate degree in social and behavioral sciences, and he’s now heading off to the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall, where he plans to major in psychology. 

To help fund his community college education, Ronald received the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), the Pell Grant, and a veteran’s stipend.  He first learned about the availability of financial aid while applying for college, from a friendly staff member at Merritt College who walked him through the process. 

“Financial aid was key to me obtaining a higher education at Merritt College,” Ronald said.  “It has helped a great deal in purchasing school supplies and some living expenses.  If it were not for financial aid, I would not be able to afford college and my opportunities for employment would be severely limited due to a cumulative hand disability.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Ronald plans to continue on to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology.  His ultimate goal is to conduct research and counseling with indigenous peoples affected by intergenerational traumas.

While he’s not in class, Ronald also enjoys spending time with his family, and volunteering in the community.

“If you are thinking of college, but don’t think you can afford it, you should at least apply and find out for sure,” Ronald said.  “Be assertive and don’t count yourself out.”