To apply for the Guardian Scholars Program, students must be offered admission to UC Merced and have a valid "Student ID". 


Students should also meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Reside in foster care or guardianship prior to their 18th birthday.  

  • Receiving AB-12 funding.

  • Eligible for a Chafee grant.

  • Eligible for ILSP services.

  • Identify as homeless/unaccompanied youth. 


If you are not sure you qualify, please contact our office for assistance.  Failure to meet these criteria does not necessarily mean an automatic disqualification.  Each student's individual situation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  



In order to apply for Guardian Scholars, you must submit the following 3 documents, either by email or in person. 

Personal Statement

Topic: "How has your lived experience shaped your outlook for your higher education goals"?  This should be 2 pages long and include your full name and Student ID in the top right-hand corner of both pages.   

Letter of Recommendation

This letter should address your ability to benefit from joining Guardian Scholars.  It can be from anyone of your choosing including: a social worker, teacher, coach, pastor, friend, family member, etc.


This can be completed two different ways.  
1. You may submit a completed Chafee Grant Eligibility Form
2. You may submit a letter from your Social Worker, Independent Living Skills Program Coordinator, or anyone else who can verify your foster care  and/ or homeless status.
Guardian Scholars Program
c/o University of California, Merced
5200 N. Lake Rd.; KL-222
Merced, CA 95434


All Guardian Scholars are expected to complete the following:

  • Attend and participate in the Guardian Scholars Orientation.

  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

  • Complete a Learning Contract if academic progress is not met.

  • Receive mid-term progress reports each semester.

  • Meet with the Program Coordinator at least once per semester.

  • Meet with a Student Coordinator at least twice per semester.

  • Meet with an Academic Advisor at least once per semester

  • Notify the Program Coordinator of any changes in your contact information.

  • Inform the Program Coordinator of any obstacles to your personal well-being or academic success.

  • Attend at least one workshop and once social per semester.

  • Represent Guardian Scholars at official functions when able to do so.

  • Follow all university, residence hall, and community rules and laws.