The mission of the South Central Scholars Foundation (SCS) is to assist highly motivated, talented students from disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles County achieve academic and personal success in college and beyond.
Through scholarships, jobs, internships, and mentorship, the students of South Central Scholars develop their full potential and are becoming the future leaders, both within SCS and in the broader community. Our current students are becoming members of our enlarging community of volunteers and are serving as a resource to future students from South Central Los Angeles.
Target High Schools
C The Program currently works with students from South Central Los Angeles or surrounding high schools. To date, our scholars come from the following high schools:
Animo Charter-Inglewood, Archer School for Girls, Belmont, California Academy of Math & Science (CAMS), Carson, Compton Centennial, Crenshaw, Dorsey, Downtown Magnets, Foshay Learning Center, Franklin, Frederick Douglas Academy, Fremont, Gorman, Heritage College Ready Academy, Inglewood, Jefferson, Jordan, King Drew Medical Magnet, Locke, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES), LA Jordan, LA Wilson, Loyola, Leuzinger, Manual Arts, Marshall, Ouchi, Roosevelt, St. Bernard's, St. Mary's Academy, Trinity, Verbum Dei, View Park Prep, Wallis Annensberg, Washington Prep, and Westchester.
SCS believes that education is the most reliable and powerful means of creating upward mobility in the South Central Los Angeles (SCLA) community. There have been, and continues to be, significant inequities in educational opportunity in Los Angeles. Nowhere are the inequities more apparent than in South Central Los Angeles.
SCS assists motivated, focused and gifted students from SCLA who are seeking to improve and enrich their lives by obtaining a college education. The many obstacles that these students face are formidable. Our students come from dysfunctional broken homes, foster homes or are already homeless in high school. They live in a community awash in violence, crime and drugs. Their schools, both primary and secondary, have failed to provide them with even rudimentary math and English skills. Most of the public high schools that we work with in SCLA graduate from high school only 25% of their students. Most of our students do not have anyone in their family, their community or their school who can advise them about college. (The SCLA community lacks a "college-going culture.")
SCS has been successful in identifying motivated and gifted students in 39 inner city high schools. While these students are bright and talented, they have only limited knowledge of which colleges are best suited to them. They have only basic knowledge of career choices that are available to them. They are under-read, underexposed, undereducated, frequently misinformed and have usually stopped reaching out for help since none has been provided. Our students lack the financial resources needed for college. While they do qualify for financial packages (scholarships, loans and work study) from colleges that have accepted them, they have gaps in their financial packages including "unmet need" or "parental contributions." These gaps can prevent them from going to college.
How We Help
South Central Scholars provides a wide range of support to our students:
OUTREACH PROGRAM: SCS gets students to the colleges that are best suited to them. SCS discovered almost ten years ago that Ivy League Schools, the so called ABaby Ivies,@ and the small liberal arts colleges are more supportive in every way for our students . These schools have richer financial packages. Forty of them are Ano loan@ schools. These schools guarantee that our students will graduate from their schools without any loans. These are some of the most elite colleges and universities in the United States. These schools have smaller classes, more classes taught by professors, fewer teaching assistants, and richer diversity programs. These schools also graduate a higher percentage of their diversity students (greater than 90%) than larger state universities and even less competitive community colleges. SCS students love their college experience at these schools and gradually integrate into all aspects of these schools.
SCS makes presentations at 39 high schools, teaching the advantages of these schools to our potential SCS scholars and encouraging students to apply to these schools. If they are accepted to these schools, we arrange for a campus visit. With rare exception, students of SCLA then go on to matriculate at these schools. Ten years ago, we had one student in these schools. Now we have 100 students from SCLA in these schools. This is a major shift for our students as they usually do not even know where schools like Brown, Amherst and Williams are located.
COLLEGE READINESS: SCS puts on seminars specifically designed to close the gap between our students and their competition in college. Our seminars teach specific strategies to help close this gap. Classes include time management, appropriate academic loads, learning techniques, networking with professors, importance of study groups, career counseling, financial literacy, leadership and public speaking. Our summer seminars have increased our SCS freshman GPA from 2.7 before we began the seminars to 3.2 today. Of the students who attend this conference (75%), seventy four percent (74%) of them have not had a grade below AB@ in college. The average GPA for our senior students is over 3.5, indicating that they have not only caught their competition, but, in many cases, passed them by.
BRIDGE SCHOLARSHIPS: Our scholarships are intended to close shortfalls between the amount of money offered in the financial package from a university (grants, loans, and work study) and the actual cost of a student's college education. In some cases, these shortfalls would prevent students from attending college altogether. The shortfalls are particularly severe for the working poor where even an entry level job for a single parent can reduce all three parts of a student's financial package. All of our scholarships are for each student's entire academic career.
We also have classes for students to assist them in filling out their financial aid applications (FASA forms). We put emphasis on getting students to the Ano loan@ schools as they provide maximum financial help. SCS students are also given extra financial assistance for special situations ("Opportunity Fund"). This includes assistance with foreign study, computers, winter coats and boots, travel, classes for MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, etc.
Our Board covers all the expenses of SCS. Therefore, every dollar donated to SCS goes directly to a student scholarship or student service.
MENTORING PROGRAM: The Fund links students with caring, educated adults who can provide encouragement, guidance, advice and friendship. Students are partnered with mentors who have succeeded in careers in which the student has an interest. In addition to one-on-one relationships with mentors, group events are scheduled every one to two months to allow groups of students to share social, educational and cultural experiences with mentors and guests in a group environment. These activities help our students to stay connected to The Program and it creates a strong peer network.
SCS works with students to remove any obstacle that threatens their education. We work with students on financial problems, family problems, psychological problems (stress, anxiety, physical and sexual abuse issues), and academic problems (tutors and assistance from more senior SCS students). SCS tries to help our foster students and our homeless students find homes for the holidays and the summers.
JOBS/INTERNSHIPS PROGRAM: The Program provides students with unique summer job opportunities. These jobs not only supplement the income of our students but provide them with opportunities to explore fields in which they have an interest. SCS has provided students with jobs in medicine, medical research, law, publishing, advertising, engineering, finance, accounting and related fields. Through our jobs/internship program, students begin the process of networking with employers, building their self esteem and working on their career development. Our employers attempt to provide our students with increasing challenges and responsibilities to prepare them for their futures.
SUPPORT COMMUNITY: SCS has evolved into a community of volunteers who partner with our students to assist them in school and in life. Our students who have graduated from college have formed an Alumni Association, and have joined our community. The Alumni Association has a goal of reaching back to help SCS students and to try to create a college-going culture in the South Central community.
SCS is assisted by our network of Regional Directors who field problems on a local basis and coordinate solutions to these problems. Our Regional Directors oversee students at multiple colleges within their region. For example, in New York, our Regional Directors assist students at NYU, Columbia, Barnard and Cornell. Each college also has assigned to SCS a senior dean who works with us on any problems that our students encounter. This top down approach helps our students solve problems quickly and effectively.
History of the Program
The Program granted $52,000* in scholarships to 32 students at 2 high schools. This represents a $208,000 commitment to these students for 4 years. The jobs program provided students with an additional $55,000 in salaries.
The Program granted $65,000* in scholarships to 49 students at 6 high schools. This represents a commitment of $260,000 to these students for 4 years. The jobs program provided students with an additional $60,000 in salaries.
The Program granted $53,000* in scholarships to 46 students at 12 high schools for a commitment of $212,000. The jobs program provided students with $65,000 in salaries.
SCS granted $62,500* in scholarships to 56 students at 12 high schools for a commitment of $250,000. Our jobs program provided students with an additional $72,000 in salaries.
The Program granted $63,500* in scholarships to 56 students at 17 high schools. This represents a commitment of $254,060 to these students for 4 years.
The Program also granted $10,000* in scholarships to 20 students in graduate school programs. This represents a commitment of $20,000 to these students for 2 years.
The Program granted $99,800* in scholarships to 75 students at 17 high schools. This represents a commitment of $399,200 for 4 years.
The Program also granted $24,400* in scholarships to 15 students in graduate, medical, and law school programs. This represents a commitment of $48,800 to these students for 2 years.
The Program granted $75,012* in scholarships to 75 students at 21 high schools. This represents a commitment of $300,048 for 4 years.
The Program granted $37,500* in scholarships to 61 students at 28 high schools. This represents a commitment of $150,000 for 4 years.
The Program granted $104,500* in scholarships to 74 students at 23 high schools. This represents a commitment of $418,000 for 4 years.
*Scholarship commitments do not include monies provided to students for: test fees (MCAT, LSAT, GRE, etc.), airfare and travel expenses, medical/dental expenses, school supplies, personal supplies such as warm clothing, equipment such as computers, or internship stipends.