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Mountain View-Los Altos Community Scholars seeks to improve the economic mobility and quality of life of local, high-potential, underserved youth by providing scholarships to make college accessible and individual mentoring to make a four-year degree achievable.
MVLA Community Scholars annually offers need-based four-year college scholarships and mentoring to up to 15 graduating seniors of the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District. Scholarships range from $1000- $5000 per year, depending on the college the student is attending and financial need. Grants may be used for tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and/or living expenses.
Founded in 2000, we have served over 150 students. For every student we help, we help their families and friends and extended community as well. Many of graduates now work and live in their home community, serving as role models, speakers at the high schools, and special mentors to our current Scholars. Currently we have 54 students in the program, mentored by 49 community volunteers.
Scholars strives to provide a life-changing opportunity to graduates of the high school district who may not otherwise choose to attend college, or who are at risk of dropping out due to the financial and transitional challenges of attending college.
We create a community of students and adults dedicated to helping our Scholars achieve their academic goals. Our founding assumption is that with the confidence of the community behind them, our Scholars are more likely to succeed.
Our grants provide "Gap Funding" - that amount between the cost of education and what a student receives in Federal, State and private grants, and student loans. The amount a student still needs to pay can limit the choice of colleges, require a student to work often 25-30 hours per week, and/or force the choice to opt out of college altogether. Funds are primarily used for tuition, room and board, books and supplies. Funds may also be used for living expenses or a computer.
Our mentors work closely with their Scholars, helping them set budgets and determine how they will get through school on the award package offered by the college, helping them to best manage their time (e.g. balancing work and studies), and providing support and encouragement. These mentors, as our students often report, are "what kept me in school."
Students are selected based on the following four criteria:
1) Financial need (average household income is < $50,000)
2) Academic readiness and performance (average GPA is 3.0)
3) Personal characteristics (e.g. perseverance, initiative, responsibility)
4) Life-changing potential of the program (e.g. first generation college student)
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