VCCU awards inaugural First in Family scholarship to CSUCI first-generation student
Rayleen Meza will receive $24,000 toward completing a nursing degree
Rayleen Meza will receive $24,000 toward completing a nursing degree

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. (July 26, 2023) — Ventura County Credit Union is proud to announce it has awarded its inaugural First in Family Scholarship to Rayleen Meza, a Santa Paula High School senior who will be attending California State University Channel Islands as a nursing major in the fall, making her the first person in her family to pursue a college education. The scholarship, which is worth $24,000 distributed over four years, will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies and other expenses.

Rayleen graduated high school with a 4.8 grade point average, having completed 14 dual-enrollment courses, which allowed her to simultaneously earn credits at the high school and college level. She attended Santa Paula High School’s Human Services Academy, enabling her to explore career options in the fields of health, education and human services. Rayleen also completed more than 40 hours of community involvement and four internships in the medical field, including through the Health Occupations Pipeline Education (HOPE) administered by the Ventura County Health Care Agency. Her internship experience at Santa Paula Medical Clinic helped her discover a passion for pediatric nursing, which she intends to pursue as a career after college. Due to her participation in the Regional Occupational Program in high school, Rayleen became a certified medical assistant in June.

As a first-generation college student, Rayleen said her parents had little to no information regarding the cost of higher education and this scholarship removes an immense weight from their shoulders as she works toward a degree to enter the medical field.

“I would do anything just to be a nurse,” Rayleen said in her application video. “Once I become a registered nurse, I plan to also go to school to become a nurse practitioner, and hopefully, one day open a clinic and be able to help all those around my community, to share my knowledge and be there for them because I know as a small community, everyone needs someone they can rely on and I would love to be that leader.”

Rayleen said the VCCU scholarship was “an honor.”

This is the first year VCCU has provided this scholarship opportunity, which was available to graduating high school seniors with acceptance into CSUCI. The scholarship was designed to help Ventura County students with modest means who would be the first in their family to attend a four-year university. This VCCU scholarship will be awarded on a bi-annual basis moving forward. The winner will receive $6,000 each year for four scholastic years.

“College affordability is often what prevents a deserving student from attending college,” said Linda Rossi, VCCU president/CEO. “We’re proud to help a student be the first in their family to attend our local Cal State University.”

For more information about VCCU and its services, visit

About Ventura County Credit Union
Ventura County Credit Union was chartered in 1950. It is the largest credit union headquartered in Ventura County, with eight offices, more than 80,000 members and more than $1 billion in total assets. VCCU offers a complete line of loans, federally insured savings, 24-hour electronic access services and more. Call 1-800-339-0496 or visit for more information.