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Program History

The UC Merced Fiat Lux Scholars Program 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.