Guardian Scholars: Former Foster Youth

Students at Former Foster Youth Luncheon

Providing Support for Former Foster Youth 

The Guardian Scholars Program and the NextUp Program provides services to current or former foster youth (FFY) attending Sierra College. Our goal is to equip and empower them to not just do well academically, but also navigate the many life and financial challenges that are barriers to their success.

Flo Charlie and Britney Slates are happy to answer any questions. Just email 


Guardian Scholars Program Eligibility

  • Complete Sierra College Application through CCCApply
  • Must provide court dependency letter with at least one day of foster care experience from 0-18 years old (e.g. foster home, group home, or placed with a relative by the court) to GSP office
  • Complete FAFSA/DREAM application
  • Complete Program Application
  • Complete an intake appointment with Guardian Scholar’s Counselor

Continuing Students Eligibility Requirements

  • Maintain continuous enrollment at Sierra College
  • Meet with a GSP Counselor three times per semester
  • Maintain a 2.0 GPA or above
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 units
  • Participate in at least one program activity or workshop provided by the Guardian Scholars Program
  • Agree to staff monitoring of academic performance and progress
  • Attend academic intervention services as recommended by the GSP counselor
  • Abide by all college standards for appropriate conduct and community behavior
  • Meet with mentor once a month (for freshmen students; optional for second year students)


Professional staff and peer advisors, in partnership with a variety of on-campus departments and external agencies, work to best meet their academic and personal needs. Collaboratively, our goal is that these Former Foster youth realize that college is an option, and turn their dreams into reality by offering:

  • Counseling Services (Academic, Personal, and Career counseling)
  • Financial Aid Priority Processing (FAFSA application assistance, grants and scholarships)
  • Funds to buy required textbooks
  • Semester meal card/grocery card
  • Transportation assistance (parking permit/bus passes/Gas Card)
  • On-campus housing (ten dorm beds each semester for qualified FFY students)
  • Room bedding and furnishings for students who are selected to live in the dorm/residence hall
  • Care-Packs filled with basic hygiene and school supplies
  • College Transfer Assistance (transfer counseling services, college tours, referral to University reps)
  • Graduation Cap and Gown and GSP Stole
  • Each Semester recognition ceremony for academic success (for students above 2.0 GPA)
  • Referrals to campus and community resources
  • Access to Campus Food closet/CalFresh
  • Access to Scholarships
  • Access to Emergency Fund (based on available funds)

NEXTUP also known as CAFYES (Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support)

NextUp provides enhanced support services to eligible current or former foster youth whose court dependency status was established or continued on or after his/her 16th birthday and no older than 25 years of age at the beginning of the academic year.

Sierra College is among 1 of 26 Community Colleges in California that was awarded funding by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to provide additional/enhanced support services for foster youth attending postsecondary education. The purpose of the NextUp Program is to strengthen the capacity of community college districts to support the higher education success, health and well-being of some of the nearly 13,000 current and former foster youth who are enrolled in California's community colleges.

NextUp Initial Program Eligibility:

  • Be enrolled in EOPS; and
  • Be enrolled in at least 9 units (or approved for less by DSPS); and
  • Have court dependency status that was established or continued on or after your 16th birthday; and
  • No older than 25 years of age at the beginning of the academic year.

In addition to receiving EOPS services, NextUp students at Sierra College will receive the following enhanced services:

  • Emergency housing assistance
  • Monthly NextUp grant
  • Additional funds to buy required textbooks
  • Additional funds to buy required school supplies
  • Monthly vendor cards for transportation and food
  • Enhanced one-on-one support from Counselor, Counseling Assistant and Financial Aid Technician
  • and much more

How to Apply:

Fill out the application:

GSP Application

If you need help, we are located on the
Rocklin Campus in L144. (Winstead)

Anyone can get involved

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Mentoring
  • Job placement and internships
  • Housing placement
  • Professional services
  • Workshops and training

Make a Gift to Guardian Scholars Program

The Sierra College Foundation handles gifts. More information is available at this Foundation web page.


Why We Are Here

In 2014, Sierra College decided to update its Student Equity Plan to ensure that groups historically underrepresented in higher education have an equal opportunity for access, success, and transfer as defined by the California Community College (CCC) Board of Governors student equity policy (1992). In efforts to provide a challenging and supportive learning environment for students having diverse goals, abilities, and needs, Sierra College collaborated with the Sierra College Research and Planning Office to utilize several research methods to assess the five state-defined success indicators for all students. Out of the five state-defined success indicators as well as additional locally defined indicators for all students, Former Foster Youth showed disparate impact and required intervention in all areas reviewed.

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

  • 65% emancipate without a place to live.
  • Less than 3% go to college.
  • 51% are unemployed.
  • Many of these youth lack life skills.
  • Government loans do not cover college expenses during the freshman year.

Annually at Sierra College, 75 – 125 FFY pursue their dreams of higher education:

  • Most arrive on campus with their worldly possessions in a black trash bag.
  • Many without a place to live.
  • And even if they are provided housing, they do not have bedding, towels, hygiene items, food, school supplies, and other necessary items.
  • They face a minimum of $2,000 per year for books, parking permit, and school supplies, etc.
  • Their cost of living exceeds $4,000 per semester.

Contact Guardian Scholars

Rocklin Campus L 144