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Mission Scholars uses comprehensive college admissions guidance, mentorship, and career development training to help exceptional, low-income students reach their full potential and become a force for change in our communities.

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Too many students in our community are getting left behind in their pursuit of higher education. Half of the students in Santa Barbara’s public school district live below poverty level, and in 2021, only 41% of low-income high school seniors graduated with the minimum requirements needed to enroll in a UC or Cal State university. Mission Scholars seeks to level the playing field, providing high-performing, underrepresented students access to the same level of support that their wealthier peers receive. When our Scholars flourish, so does our community.

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Founded in December 2018, Mission Scholars provides college admission and financial aid expertise, college mentorship, and career development training to underrepresented students in South Santa Barbara County. A Mission Scholar student receives seven years of comprehensive, wrap-around support, from sophomore year of high school through college graduation.

Only 11% of first-generation college students graduate by age 24. Our comprehensive approach is what is needed to not just ensure college admissions success, but to help our Scholars thrive in college and graduate with a secured professional path. As a result, 92% of our Scholars are on track to graduate college within four years.

Class of 2023 Success


of Mission Scholars' Class of 2023 are enrolled in 4-year universities


of their four-year cost of attendance is covered by scholarships


Every $7,500 contributed by our donors yields more than $150,000 in scholarship value
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Each Mission Scholar receives:

  • Academic and extracurricular advising in high school to strengthen their college admission candidacy
  • Individualized guidance on college entrance exams
  • An extensive list of college recommendations that are affordable and and diverse
  • Workshops and individual coaching sessions through every step of the college application and essay process
  • An individualized scholarship plan to ensure four-year college affordability
  • Thorough guidance on all required financial aid forms
  • Financial literacy workshops and budgeting advice to afford the college experience
  • College transition workshops, including academic study skills
  • Professional development workshops throughout college
  • Individualized summer internship matching opportunities with local and national corporations
  • A volunteer college coach to provide mentorship throughout college
  • Access to career advisors and panels

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