Bold Hearts. Brilliant Minds.

A former foster youth enters a door displaying a UCR Guardian Scholars sign

Former Foster Youth


You Belong at UCR

Former foster youth receive dedicated support from the moment they apply to UCR. Get admission and enrollment assistance from our Guardian Scholars Program. Connect with an admissions counselor during the application process. Find out how you can afford a UCR degree with help from our Financial Aid office.

Guardian Scholars Program

Before you apply to UCR, connect with our Guardian Scholars Program. It provides a network of resources to students ages 16–25 who are transitioning from the foster care system to adulthood in order to facilitate their successful pursuit of higher education. Guardian Scholars serves nearly 150 current and former foster youth on campus, and operates under the Office of Foster Youth Support Services (OFYSS).

Services include:
  • Admission and enrollment assistance, such as tracking UCR applications and explaining any unique circumstances to admissions counselors (ex., lower grades during placements)
  • Financial aid help, scholarships, textbook assistance, and access to emergency funding
  • A material and emotional support network
  • Access to on-campus, year-round, and family housing
  • Mental and physical health resources
  • Mentoring and quarterly check-ins
  • Monthly social and team-building activities, including luncheons and cultural outings
  • Making sure every Guardian Scholar receives holiday and birthday gifts

Find out if you’re eligible for Guardian Scholars. Complete this form and email it to

Attend a university committed to your success. Apply to UCR today!


Several students share a laugh among blooming rose bushes on the UCR campus
“The first thing I really liked about the [Guardian Scholars] program was that everybody was treated like family.”


Byron, Physics



“I just don’t know if I would have come this far without the support they’ve given me.”


Aisa, Sociology

Applying to UCR

Though you will connect with Guardian Scholars before you apply, you will still go through the same basic application process as other prospective students.

Prospective first-year students can apply for fall admission to UCR, while prospective transfer students can apply for winter or fall admission. The winter application period is July 1–31 and the fall application period is Nov. 1–30.

Learn more about applying to UCR as a first-year student.

Learn more about applying to UCR as a transfer.

Financial Aid

Learn how affordable a UCR degree can be! Our Financial Aid office can help you get the aid you need to afford your degree, and maybe even graduate debt-free! In 2023-24, 85% of UCR undergraduate students who applied for aid were awarded aid, and 97% of undergraduate students who were awarded aid received need-based scholarships and/or grants.


To be considered for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. Be sure to submit your FAFSA by March 2 in order to be considered for the maximum aid available. You can find out about your financial aid award on your account.

Guardian Scholars Program Scholarships

The Guardian Scholars Program provides qualified program participants scholarship support of up to $5,000 a year.

Additional Scholarships

There are many scholarships, fellowships, internships, prizes, awards, and loans available to qualifying UCR students, including National Prestigious Scholarships and Awards and UCR Foundation Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards.


Resources & Support

UCR offers dedicated programs and resources for former foster youth. Get guidance from faculty and student mentors. Excel in your courses with the help of a tutor or study group. Connect with a wellness department to take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. Develop as a leader in a campus organization.


  • Academic Success

    Ease into life at UCR with the guidance of faculty and student mentors through first-year and transfer student learning communities. Boost your academics with services and free tutoring from the Academic Resource Center (ARC)

    Incoming students can also register for Student Life's First Year Mentor Program and connect with trained student leaders who can answer questions and provide support throughout the first year at UCR. 

  • Admitted Students

    If you're admitted to UCR, you can ensure a smooth transition by following the next steps for admitted first-year students, fall transfers, and winter transfers.

  • Basic Needs

    Balance school, work, relationships, and more without having to worry about basic needs, like when and how you're going to eat. Campus resources are available to help you stay well-fed and healthy.

    R'Garden is accessible to students, staff, faculty, and community members to harvest for free! 

    Basic Needs resources include:

    • Community programs, such as CalFresh which provides qualifying students with up to $291 a month to buy healthy, nutritious foods.
    • Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT) – Offers assistance with rent, utilities, WiFi, and phone bills.
    • Housing Assistance
    • R’Pantry – Provides emergency non-perishable food, personal hygiene, household care, and childcare items. Also connects students to on- and off-campus food resources and provides programs and workshops to improve health and wellness.
    • And more!
  • Campus Safety

    Safety is a top priority at UCR. We have a 24/7, on-campus police department, an emergency notification system that sends text alerts, a no-tolerance policy against sexual violence, and secure residence halls with video surveillance, restricted card access, and live-in staff. At night, our Community Service Officers patrol halls and parking lots, and Campus Safety Escorts accompany students across campus.

  • Career Center

    The Career Center is your headquarters for the professional advice, skills, and strategies that will lead you to your ideal career.

    • Handshake to find on- and off-campus jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities
    • Career Workshops to build skills (e.g., resume and cover letter writing and networking your way to a job). 
    • Career Fairs
    • Connections with top employers
    • R’Professional Career Closet to select professional attire and prepare to be competitive as you transition from education to employment
    • And more!
  • Ethnic & Gender Centers

    Discover community, find mentors, and develop as a leader with UCR's Ethnic & Gender Centers. Learn more about UCR’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Financial Wellness Program

    Learn how to make smart money management choices now and plan for the future with our Financial Wellness Program . Take part in free workshops and access online budgeting and credit resources. 

    UCR's Financial Office also has Solutions for Money Emergencies to cover lost/reduced income, a catastrophic event, school-related expenses, child care, and more!

  • Health, Well-being & Safety

    UCR focuses on all facets of well-being. We offer many campus resources to help you meet all of your goals, such as support groups, tutoring, community service, employment, emergency food resources, sports, and health care — which is all included in your tuition.

  • Case Management

    Case Management is made up of case managers who are the path-clearers and problem-solvers for UCR students dealing with mental health, academic, relationship, food insecurity, and other stressful crises. They provide resources, linkage, education, and expertise to empower students to break down barriers, clarify needs, and navigate complex processes to get back on track to reach their goals. 

  • Student Life

    Have fun and make friends! Student Life offers incredible social opportunities with concerts, music festivals, fun fairs, cultural celebrations, guest speakers, film series, theater productions, poets, performers, and more than 500 student organizations!

  • For Student Parents

    UCR welcomes student parents and offers support with a wide range of resources and accommodations. 

    • Center for Early Childhood Education (ECS) – For students, staff, faculty, and/or members of the community who need child care services. 
    • Lactation rooms – Offers privacy, a refrigerator, plush seating, and sanitary provisions.
    • Oban Family Housing – Offers one- and two-bedroom apartment homes adjacent to the campus. UCR’s ECS and Riverside’s public and private schools are nearby. 
    • R'Kids – For students, faculty, and staff with children, are expecting children, or will have children. Parents can discuss experiences, learn from each other and offer advice, while their children are involved in activities and entertainment.
    • SRC Babysitting – Provides a wide variety of educational games, activities, and services while parents/guardians exercise and take part in Student Recreation Center (SRC) programs. 
    • SRC Youth Programs – Promotes a healthy and safe lifestyle using positive experiences, sports, activities, games, and educational instruction.
  • Transportation

    Visit Transportation Services Transportation Services to learn about parking, public transportation (and student benefits), electric vehicle charging stations, UCR's Bike/Walk Program, and more.

  • Undergraduate Education

    Undergraduate Education cultivates student success by providing academic support, experiential learning, and research opportunities. Challenge yourself in our rigorous University Honors program. Participate in research projects with our renowned faculty. Intern for a government agency or NGO in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. Create and facilitate your own 1-unit course with R'Courses. Ace your classes and prep for graduate school exams with help from the Academic Resource Center.

Learn more about the resources available at UCR to all first-year, transfer, out-of-state, and international students.