Guardian Scholars Program

Assisting Former Foster Youth with Living, College Expenses

Every year in California, an estimated 4,000 foster youth transition from dependents of the foster care system into emancipated adulthood at age 18. These former foster youth generally grow up in numerous homes with few life skills or tangible items to call their own.

In fact, this is the reality:

  • 65% emancipate without a place to live
  • Fewer than 3% attend college
  • 51% are unemployed
  • Many lack life skills
  • Oftentimes, government loans do not cover college expenses during freshman year

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Meeting the Challenge

Each year at Sierra College, 75–125 former foster youth pursue their dreams of higher education, but most arrive on campus with their worldly possessions in a large trash bag and many are without a place to live. 

If they are provided housing, they lack many basics, such as: bedding, towels, hygiene items, food, school supplies and other necessities. On top of this, they face a minimum of $2,000 per year in costs for books, school supplies and various college fees. This puts their cost of living at more than $4,000 per semester.

Help Us Reach Our Goal

Our goal at Sierra College is to help these youth through the Guardian Scholars Program by raising $1 million. The funds will be used to help our former foster youth students to overcome barriers to success, realize that college is an option, and turn their dreams into reality by offering:

  • Scholarships
  • Housing stipends
  • Book and food vouchers
  • Bedding and furnishings
  • Care-packs filled with basic hygiene products and school supplies
  • Laptops, flash drives, calculators, and other equipment

How Scholars Program is Making an Impact

Offering support to former foster youth decreases their stress level and creates a sense of belonging. Additionally, it has proven to increase student retention rates.

Plus, their grades also improve because they are able to concentrate on their studies. And, perhaps most importantly, it lets the students know that someone believes in them and cares enough to invest in their success. 

With your gift, a student learns. Through your support, a graduate takes the next step. From your generosity, a dream is attained.

“Thank you for your help! I have been worried and wondered how I would ever make it through college without any help. Now, with your generosity and the kindness of your heart, my dream of going to college is a reality.”

-Rachel, Guardian Scholar recipient

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    Gifts to Sierra College Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. The contribution deductible for tax purposes is limited to the amount that exceeds the value of any goods and services received by the donor.