The SDSU Guardian Scholars Program is committed to helping students exiting the foster care system, are wards of the court, under legal guardianship or unaccompanied homeless youth by providing a comprehensive, holistic support program to help them achieve the goal of a college degree. SDSU helps Guardian Scholars navigate the unknown waters of a college education through access to key campus resources when they are most needed. For a portion of these students, this support will include a significant scholarship to supplement their financial aid package and reduce reliance on student loans. In addition, arrangements have been made to provide Guardian Scholars living in the residence halls with on-campus housing between semesters and during the summer. SDSU’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) serves as the main resource for Guardian Scholars, offering ongoing services such as academic advising, tutoring, skills assessment, and math and writing labs. In addition, EOP counselors will link the students to other critical services available from departments and programs throughout the university that are prepared to serve the unique needs of former foster youth.
Foster Care Youth
There are approximately 6,500 youth in the foster care system in San Diego County. Each year 300 of these students leave the system when they turn 18 and their future prospects are grim. Fifty percent will end up unemployed, one-third will require public assistance, and one out of four will become incarcerated. The SDSU Guardian Scholars Program is a university-wide effort to turn these statistics around for former foster youth who have already overcome significant obstacles in order to pursue their dreams of a college education.
AVAILABLE COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES INCLUDE:
A portion of the SDSU Guardian Scholars will receive scholarships to supplement their financial aid and reduce the need for student loans. Donations have been made but additional benefactors are needed in order to expand the scholarship opportunities for Guardian Scholars attending SDSU. Unlike most college students, Guardian Scholars do not have families on whom they can rely for simple things that we all take for granted, like a basic wardrobe and a place to live during the summer. Without scholarship support, these students are faced with the choice of working too many hours or relying too heavily on student loans and credit cards.
Giving Students a Home
SDSU’s EOP provides a home base for the Guardian Scholars and serves to identify individual needs and get students the resources they need – whether health services, career planning, disability services or financial aid.
HOW TO BECOME A SDSU GUARDIAN SCHOLAR:
Who is Eligible for the SDSU Guardian Scholars Program?
SDSU is actively involved in outreach to seek applicants for the Guardian Scholars Program. If you think you might be eligible, or know someone who is, please see the contact information below.
Eligibility Requirements Include:
- Highly motivated former foster-care youth, students who are wards of the court, under legal guardianship or unaccompanied homeless youth
- Incoming freshmen or transfer students who meet SDSU’s eligibility criteria for admission (www.sdsu.edu/admissions)
- Admitted to the SDSU Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
- Complete the SDSU EOP Guardian Scholars Supplemental Application
- Considered “independent” under federal financial aid guidelines
- California resident
- U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- FAFSA financial aid application completed by the required filing date (www.fafsa.gov)
Step 1 Apply to SDSU using CSU application at www.csumentor.edu.
Step 2 Mark “YES” when asked if you are interested in applying to EOP on section 11 of the CSU Mentor online application.
Step 3 Because the above box is marked, the EOP application link will be included in the confirmation after completion of the CSU application (Students who did not mark this box can return to the CSU Mentor website to the EOP application section at http://www.csumentor.edu/admissionapp/eop_apply.asp and then complete the EOP Online application) Fill out all parts of the EOP application.
Step 4 On the EOP application mark “YES” to question 28, section (f) which asks if you are or were a former foster youth.
Step 5 EOP will e-mail you the SDSU Guardian Scholar Application.
Step 6 Priority deadline for returning the SDSU Guardian Scholar application with acceptable documentation of status is December 31st, 2014 (postmarked).
Step 7 Once the Guardian Scholars Application is completed, you will be provided with information on scholarship opportunities.
Step 8 Student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ by March 2, 2015.
Total Cost of Attendance: Calculated to include 12 months year-round housing and living expenses. Selected Guardian Scholars who live on campus will be provided with year-round on campus housing.
Students who exceed EOP income criteria: Students who exceed the income eligibility requirements may write a letter of appeal stating that they are former foster youth along with appropriate documentation. Contact Josephine Mojica for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 594-0140.
Promises 2 Kids Guardian Scholars Program
Promises 2 Kids sponsors a Guardian Scholars Program and provides some scholarships to those in the SDSU program. The requirements are the same as the SDSU Guardian Scholars Program except there is no age limit.
Students may participate in more than one Guardian Scholars Program and are encouraged to apply for each by the March 2, 2015 deadline. For more information about Promises 2 Kids, click http://www.promises2kids.org/
Strength of Us
StrengthofUs is an online community designed to empower young adults through resource sharing and peer support and to build connections for those navigating the unique challenges and opportunities in the transition-age years.
Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI)
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
(CCCCO) has sponsored a concerted effort called the Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) to bring issues affecting these youth to the forefront and to improve their ability to access postsecondary education and benefit from the support services that are available.
For more details, please view the FYSI Guide (pdf) .
For more information on eligibility, scholarship opportunities, how to apply to be an SDSU Guardian Scholar and any other issues related to the program, contact:
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“It is not enough to teach our young people to be successful...so they can realize their ambitions, so they can earn good livings, so they can accumulate the material things that this society bestows. Those are worthwhile goals. But it is not enough to progress as individuals while our friends and neighbors are left behind.” —Cesar Chavez—