Scholarship Applications



The Mary Graham Children’s Foundation (MGCF) recognizes that helping ensure a smoother transition from foster care to a successful and independent life is to have a stable financial situation and solid support system.

We help with this transition by providing

• financial assistance to help students pay for college and trade school related expenses (including but not limited to tuition, books, living expenses and transportation)
• social support and guidance from a volunteer adult mentor*
• social gatherings throughout the year for students to meet other students with similar experiences*

We recognize that financial situations change from year to year and sometimes from semester to semester, and if that happens, students are encouraged to reach out to us. For example, if a student ages out and no longer receives AB12 support or transfers schools mid-year, they may qualify for (increased) financial support.

*Students who do not qualify for financial support are still welcome and encouraged to be part of the Program.

Scholarship Program Policies

Updated 2.5.2024


The Mary Graham Foundation is a private non-profit organization and is not affiliated with any public agency, nor does the Foundation receive or distribute public moneys outside of grant funding. Funding is made at the sole discretion of the Foundation Board of Directors.

Funding is provided to each student on a case-by-case evaluation. No funding is provided until ALL other funding sources are awarded. Note that these amounts are guidelines only, and that students are not guaranteed to receive the amounts below.

Community College $500 – $8,000 per year
California State University system $2,000 – $10,000 per year
University of California system $2,000 – $12,000 per year
Private 4-Year University $2,000 – $12,000 per year
Vocational/Technical school $8,000 – $10,000 per year

Individuals who were a dependent of San Joaquin County Foster Care system at any time during their minor years (age 0 to 18).

If placed outside of San Joaquin County during dependency, youth would still be considered eligible to apply for the Mary Graham Foundation scholarship.

Applicant should have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA in high school and/or college if already attending.

Applicant must be enrolled in school full-time (12 units or more) at the time the scholarship is awarded.

Applicant is required to have applied for all financial aid available. Proof of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submission is required.

Students are required to reapply every term and complete a new budget form.

DEADLINES FOR APPLICATIONS (New and Returning Students)
New and returning student applications and additional required documents must be uploaded to the MGCF online portal by the dates indicated below.

Fall Semester: June 30
Spring Semester: November 15
Summer School: April 1

Failure to submit all the required documents by the deadline may result in denial of scholarship funds.

When possible, students are encouraged to work part-time during the school year to supplement their income. However, it is the Foundation’s expectation that work will not interfere with school attendance or grades. Therefore, applicants need to consider this when calculating financial needs throughout the school year.

Students attending a four-year college are expected to live in on-campus housing; however, should they choose to live off-campus, housing assistance may be requested and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Students attending two-year community college or a vocational school may be provided housing assistance if they are attending full-time and on-campus housing is not offered.

Students may be awarded a monthly stipend, as determined by the Foundation, to assist with living expenses. Tuition and all school-related expenses will be paid directly to the school. Rental assistance, car insurance or similar expenses will be paid directly to the landlord or creditor.

HOW TO APPLY – New Applicants
Applications must be made through the MGCF online portal at under Scholarships. Completed applications must be submitted via the scholarship portal along with:

• A copy of the student’s most recent transcripts
• Proof that the student has filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
• Copy of the student’s Ward of the Court letter

• Tuition and student-related fees
• Books and school supplies
• Housing and related living expenses
• Groceries
• Certain medical expenses

The Executive Director will review applications and determine if they meet eligibility criteria. The applications will then be forwarded to the Scholarship Committee for review.

The Executive Director will schedule a face-to-face meeting between the student and Scholarship Committee. This is an informal meeting designed to get to know the student.

REQUIREMENTS – New Applicants
Upon being accepted into the scholarship program, students must follow the requirements of the program and guidelines set forth by the Foundation.

Applicants must sign the scholarship Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Release of Information forms, as well as complete a Foundation budget form before funds are released. The MOU states that the scholarship recipient must:

 Provide complete and accurate information about income and expenses on the MGCF Budget Form. Failure to do so may result in a reduction or cancellation of scholarship funds.
 If requesting funds for rent, a copy of the lease will be required.
 If requesting funds for utilities, cell phone, car payments, car insurance, etc., a copy of the last two months of bills will be required.
 Sign a release of information form that authorizes an assigned mentor, or Foundation staff to obtain transcripts and enrollment information from the college or trade school if the need arises. Scholarship funds will not be released to the student’s school until this form is signed and received by the Foundation.
 Complete at least 12 units and maintain a 2.0 GPA or better each quarter/semester or successfully complete vocational training coursework.
 Send a copy of grades to the Executive Director no later than 10 days after they are received.
 Provide student ID number and student portal login and password to the Executive Director.
 Submit renewal scholarship application, grades and proof of continuing enrollment, along with any proof of financial aid for the following school year to the scholarship coordinator by the given deadline.
 Correspond with mentor at least once a month.

HOW TO APPLY – Returning Applicants
Applications must be made through the MGCF online portal at under Scholarships. Completed applications must be submitted via the scholarship portal along with:

• A copy of student’s most recent transcripts
• MGCF official budget form

• Tuition and student-related fees
• Books and school supplies
• Housing and related living expenses
• Groceries
• Certain medical expenses

Scholarship recipients must maintain an overall GPA of 2.0. If a student’s GPA is lower than 2.0 for one semester, they will continue to receive approved funding but will be placed on probation for the following semester. If, during that semester, the student does not bring GPA up to the 2.0 GPA minimum funding may be declined.

Help With Student Loan: In the special circumstance that a student’s scholarship is denied due to probationary status, and the student take a student loan(s), they may apply to the Foundation after they have completed school to repay one semester’s worth of the loans. Note that the most a student can receive under these special circumstances is the amount that the Foundation awarded for the student’s last semester (likely the probationary semester). Repayment of a student’s loan is considered on a case-by-case basis and is NOT guaranteed.

Scholarship Information

Beginning with the Spring 2023 semester, the Mary Graham Scholarship applications and renewals will be submitted through an online portal. New and returning schoalrs must create an account in order to submit all future applications. Click on the application link to access the online portal.

The Mary Graham College & Trade School Scholarships are available to help former foster youth pay for the education and training they need to establish a career, so they can become financially independent and stable. This scholarship is a determined by each individual student’s need. The Foundation determines need based on the information in the official MG Foundation budget form. A complete form includes a copy of the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) award.


MG Scholarships are awarded based on financial need. They are designed to fund unmet need, they are not in recognition of GPA or other achievements. To qualify, an applicant must:

• have been in foster care in SJC and/or must have been in foster care and be a current resident of San Joaquin County.
• be enrolled in school full-time (12 units or more) at the time the scholarship is awarded.
• have unmet financial need.
• have applied for financial aid and provide the FAFSA award paperwork (or application form if an award has not yet been made). Scholarships will not be awarded to anyone who has not applied for financial aid.

New Applicants

Students applying to the Foundation for the first time should complete an application and include a copy of their FAFSA award. If the award information is not yet available, proof of submission should be included. Each new applicant will be required to participate in an informal question & answer get together as part of the process. Interviews will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date.

Deadlines for new applicants are
– Fall Semester: June 30
– Spring Semester: November 15
– Summer School: April 1

Returning Students

Returning students (those who have been part of the Program within the past 12 months) should complete the Renewal Application and submit it by the following dates.

– Fall Semester: June 30
– Spring Semester: November 15
– Summer School: April 1

Ongoing Funding

The MGCF Scholarship is a renewable scholarship.

Other information

• Awards are made for the academic year and are renewable each year.
• To remain eligible, students must maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA in addition to attending school full-time and having unmet financial need.
• A renewal application, budget and FAFSA award must be submitted before awards are made.
• It is the student’s responsibility to provide all required paperwork by the posted deadlines. Late submissions with no communication with the Foundation, may result in reduced funding and delayed response from the Foundation.

New Applicants Only

Scholarship Application

Returning Applicants

Application Renewal

Current Applicants

Special Request Form

Current Applicants

Summer School

Jessica's Story

Jessica Tacdol was one of the first recipients of a Foundation scholarship. Jessica’s story is one of survival, hard work, and success, and truly represents the hope that our programs are all about. Jessica graduated from California State University, Stanislaus because of our donors generous support. 

Jessica entered the foster care system at just 18 months old, and at age 10, was a resident of the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter for a few months. After many trying years and several placements, she was aged out at age 18.

Defying all odds, Jessica graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Jessica plans to pursue her credential at Stanislaus and wants to become a high school counselor.

As a scholarship recipient, Jessica’s tuition and educational expenses were paid in full. “It’s more than just tuition though,” Jessica said. ‘They bought me a computer to help with my schoolwork. They’ve given me gift certificates for groceries, . The’ve helped with rent when financial aid didn’t cover it.” When a hardship arises, Jessica discusses her needs with her mentor who was assigned to her as a scholarship recipient. “I like the mentorship they provide. My mentor and I have gotten really close, they did a good job matching me with the right person. They said I could do it, and not that I’m almost finished, it feels really good.”


There is a significant void in the care of foster youth when they turn 18 and “age out” of the foster care system. These youth are literally thrown out into a world with no family to fall back on, minimal financial resources, and limited education and job skills. Without guidance and financial support, the chances of these youth becoming successful and self-sufficient adults are low.

Studies confirm that former foster youth are at risk of poverty, homelessness, drug use, mental health problems, and criminal activity. The statistics show:

  • 40% of the homeless population consists of former foster youth.
  • By age 20, only 38% are employed and fewer than half have ever held a full time job.
  • Nearly 33% had been incarcerated and/or arrested.
  • Although 70% of foster youth have hopes of attending college, only 10% actually enroll.
  • Well below 1% of foster youth actually complete their college education.

The Mary Graham Children’s Foundation is improving these odds by providing many bright, motivated young adults with an opportunity to further their academic and life skills, which will ultimately provide the financial and societal support they need to build success in their future. The Foundation’s Trade School + College Scholarship Program makes it possible for former foster youth to attend a college or trade school of their choice. The Foundation truly believes that all young adults deserve a chance to pursue their educational dreams.

The Trade School + College Scholarship Program is unique in that it pairs each scholarship recipient with a mentor to provide an invaluable service: intellectual, emotional, and day-to-day support that most of our youth would otherwise not have. The mentors help the students follow their academic plans and provide the motivational support they need to achieve their goals.

Our programs provide our students with an all-encompassing package that helps them achieve success. We are continually impressed by the positive outcomes of our program. 

Partner with us and invest in the future of our local foster youth.

For more information on the scholarship program or to see if you qualify, please call Rebecca Fisher at (209) 403-5654.