San José Aspires enables students to overcome barriers to academic success by providing a free online tool for learning opportunities and resources, individual mentorship and counseling, and a micro-scholarship program. Students receive financial awards as they complete different tasks connected to college and career readiness. Through the program, students may earn up to $5,000 to support their post-secondary educational goals.
“SJ Aspires showed me what it takes to get to college and understand the college application process. My parents didn’t have a college education—I’ll be the first in my family to go to college. I’m excited to use my scholarship next year!” - Jesus, incoming freshman, San José State University
Only 3 out of 10 San José students achieve any postsecondary success — certificate, associate, or bachelors degree— within six years of their high school graduation. Our students face many barriers to postsecondary achievement, including poverty, a lack of family or friends who can share college experience or advice, and limited professional guidance at high school. In Santa Clara County, 1 college counselor serves an average of 750 public high school students, meaning that students receive about 12 minutes of college counseling throughout their entire four-year high school career.
Looking ahead, SJ Aspires will provide students with a tailored curriculum, access to college and career advisors (both provided by our partner, Students Rising Above), and help them develop the academic habits and self-advocacy skills needed to succeed after high school. By identifying different college and career readiness milestones and incentivizing students to meet these milestones as they move through high school, SJ Aspires will allow students to adapt, change, and explore new interests as they connect their high school experiences to their post-secondary goals.
SJ Aspires is excited to expand to 800 students in the Fall of 2020. Currently, students who are in the 9th grade class (Class of 2023-2024) at Overfelt High School, the 10th grade class (Class of 2022-2023) at San José High School, and the 12th grade class at Opportunity Youth Academy (Class of 2020-2021) are eligible to receive awards through SJ Aspires.
Want to support this program? Donate to the Library Foundation today. Under Where to Give select Other and specify SJ Aspires. (You may also indicate in the comments that you would like your donation to go to SJ Aspires.)
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