The Fiat Lux Scholars Program at UC Merced was launched in the spring of 2010. It was initially supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The program's first semester consisted of two staff members and 57 first-year students. During the second semester of the program’s existence and the first full-academic year, the program served 87 students: 18 second-year students and 69 new incoming freshmen. The 2011-2012 academic year was the last year of funding through the FIPSE grant for the program and it served 69 second-year and 34 first-year students.
The program continued with funds received from the Student Fee Advisory Committee at UC Merced. It also received funding through a Texas Guarantee (TG) Philanthropy Grant that allowed the program to not only continue but to expand to serve more students with the addition of staff members. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the Fiat Lux Scholars Program served more than 300 first- and second-year students. The program staff now included a team of three professional staff and five student staff members who served in a peer-mentor capacity as Lead Scholars.
During the academic year 2013-2014, the Fiat Lux Scholars Program served nearly 400 first through third-year scholars.
During the academic year 2018-2019, our program served 109 first-year students in our Living Learning Community as well as second, third, and fourth-year students. Our student staff serve in four roles: Student Coordinators, Lead Scholars, Academic Scholars, and Community Scholars.
During the academic year 2019-2020, the Fiat Lux Scholars Program served 138 First-Year students in our Living Learning Community which is our highest number of students served up to date. In addition, we also served 92 Second-Year students, 51 Third-Year students, and 21 Fourth-Year students.
During the academic year 2020-2021, the Fiat Lux Scholars program served 103 first-year students, 84 second-year students, 73 third-year students, and 37 4th years virtually while students transitioned to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the program's short history, changes have been made from the number of students served, number of staff who lead the program, and the structure of the program. The goal of the Fiat Lux Scholars Program remains to empower, support, and connect students at UC Merced through a structured system of resources and intrusive advising that promotes campus engagement, familiarizes participants with the culture of higher education, and motivates them to achieve academically and persist in college.