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Foster Youth

Foster Youth Programs

At Mesa College, we know the road to college can be complex for many of our students. That's why we're dedicated to helping you transition to and through college, no matter what your journey is. If you are a current or former foster care student, we have the community of support and services you need to realize your educational goals and create the future you want. We're here for you, every step of the way!

New to Mesa College?
Apply today and use our simple checklist for new or returning college students to learn how to apply, receive financial aid, and enroll in classes for an upcoming semester!
Get started at Mesa College

Visit the FAST Center, K-101

The Fostering Academic Success and Transitions (FAST) Center provides a place for foster youth to gather with other students who have experienced or are currently in care. Stop in to receive supportive services and access computers, study spaces, specialized workshops, a food pantry, and more. Find your community at the Fast Center!

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Join FAST Scholars

The FAST Scholars Program is funded by a non-profit organization, and it supports the educational goals and wellbeing of current and former foster youth. Receive counseling (academic, personal, and career), financial aid support, transportation assistance (such as bus passes or gas card), food assistance (such as grocery card or Mesa Food Store card), specialized workshops, and access to school supplies. We aim to connect you to the resources you need and the greater foster care community. Applications are submitted through the Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) Office; however, you don't need to qualify for EOPS to apply.

  • Determine your Eligibility: You may qualify for the FAST Scholars program if you meet all the following criteria noted below. 
  • Be a current or former foster youth. Student will need to provide foster care verification.
  • Examples: Letter from any of the following categories- Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson, County Child Welfare Agency, County Probation Agency, Independent Living Program, Foster Care Placement Agency, Transitional Housing Program-Plus, County Office of Education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, High School District, or a state or county child welfare agency outside of California. 
  • Financial aid campus of record must be San Diego Mesa College. 
  • Be enrolled in at least one unit at San Diego Mesa College. Once admitted, students may be encouraged to enroll in more units depending on the design of their education plan.
  • No age requirement. If a student is 26 or older at the start of the academic year, their eligibility to receive financial aid resources from San Diego Mesa College and also resources from outside agencies may be limited.

Access the EOPS Application

Join NextUP

The NextUP program is a state funded program and an EOPS program designed to support the educational goals and well-being of current and former foster youth. Receive over and above support including priority registration, book service, counseling (academic, personal, and career), financial aid support, transportation assistance (such as bus passes or gas card), food assistance (such as grocery card or Mesa Food Store card), specialized workshop, and access to school supplies. 

  • Determine Your Eligibility: You may qualify for the NextUP program if you meet all the following criteria noted below. 
  • Be a current or former foster youth whose dependency was established or continued on or after the youth's 13th birthday. Student will need to provide foster care verification. 
  • Examples: Letter from any of the following categories- Office of the Foster Care Ombudsperson, County Child Welfare Agency, County Probation Agency, Independent Living Program, Foster Care Placement Agency, Transitional Housing Program-Plus, County Office of Education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, High School District, or a state or county child welfare agency outside of California. 
  • Financial aid campus of record must be San Diego Mesa College.  
  • Be enrolled in at least nine units at San Diego Mesa College. Students enrolled in fewer than nine units may be accepted into the program if enrollment is part of an education plan designed to move the student toward subsequent enrollment in at least nine units. 
  • Be no older than 25 years of age at the commencement of any academic year in which the student first enrolls in the program. 

Access the EOPS Application
Learn more about Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS)

Donate

Donate To Support Foster Youth at Mesa
Your gifts help us support students as they experience financial setbacks that may otherwise force them to stall or give up on their educational pursuits all together. Help us grow our emergency funds for current and former foster youth and support their journeys at Mesa.
Learn how to give

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