Member Stories

Union Plus Helps CSEA Mom Send Son to College

CSEA member Susan Portener encouraged her son to apply for the Union Plus scholarship after learning that he wanted to go to college. Her son, Andrew, earned a $1000 scholarship which he applied to his first semester tuition. 

Susan Portener’s son, Andrew, has always worked hard and been a high achiever. When Andrew told his mom that he wanted to go to college at the University of California, Los Angeles, she knew she would do everything she could to send him there.   

An educator since 1982, Portener has been an active member of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) for the past 15 years. She first learned about the Union Plus Scholarship Program when Andrew brought home his college application materials. He applied and earned a $1,000 competitive Union Plus scholarship.

“It helped a great deal,” recalls Portener, who works as a special education paraeducator at the James Madison Elementary School in Indio, California. “Along with a scholarship from our chapter (CSEA Desert Sands Chapter 106), it went toward his first quarter tuition.”

The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation. Since 1991, the program has awarded more than $4.3 million to students of working families – more than 2,900 union families have benefited from the program. Current and retired members of CSEA, as well as spouses and dependent children, are eligible to apply.  

For Portener, the scholarship Andrew earned through Union Plus was another in a long list of reasons that she values being a member of CSEA. 

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