by Christine Salinas, Manager of Grants and Communications

Wondering what makes Pivotal scholars graduate college at 10X the rate of other foster youth? With 90% of our scholars starting their college journey at a local community college, it’s clear that high-quality partnerships with our community colleges are critical to their success. San Jose City College (SJCC) stands tall as an example of a great community college partner.

SJCC has two programs that are vital to the success of foster youth enrolled at its campus. First, the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS) is a state-funded program that helps low-income and academically disadvantaged California residents – including foster youth- to succeed in college. EOPS provides students with early registration, personal and academic counseling, transfer assistance and, grants and book assistance, and even caps and gowns when the time comes. While these may seem like services that all colleges provide, this is not the case.

The second program supporting foster youth at San Jose City College is the Guardian Scholars Program, an extension of state-funded EOPS. Guardian Scholars encourages the enrollment, retention, and transfer of “current and former” foster youth at SJCC. We love that SJCC has a full-time faculty counselor dedicated to working with foster youth. They’re the only community college in Santa Clara County with this dedicated staff person. While SJCC staff provide educational counseling and financial aid registration assistance to these scholars, Pivotal coaches work in partnership with them by ensuring that each youth understands the appropriate processes and procedures.

Our Pivotal coaches are part of a dynamic team that breaks the barriers students face on and off-campus through this strong partnership. The SJCC Guardian Scholars/Pivotal team holds intentional meetings to evaluate how services impact youth, collaborates on the next steps to improve scholar success, and co-facilitates drop-in sessions and events for new and returning students.

Working side-by-side with partners like San Jose City College, Pivotal scholars have the support they need every step of the way! Thank you, SJCC, and all of our community colleges for these life-changing partnerships!