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Giving Opportunities

Your Donation Will Transform a Life

Within the region around California State University San Marcos, some 4,000 children are in the foster care system. Foster youth face very challenging circumstances following emancipation. About 75% of foster youth dream of going to college but only 3% will even attend college and half will not make it because they do not have the support and readiness to be successful.

The University has given former foster youth the opportunity to move beyond the past and create a new, brighter future by establishing the ACE Scholars Services program. The yearly funding is available because of generous donors like you. Please help ACE Scholars Services in giving these foster youth the opportunity to obtain a college degree.

For any young adult, the process of entering college, completing the necessary paperwork, and applying for financial aid can see overwhelming. Foster youth do not have the encouraging and supportive environment necessary for them to push themselves to achieve their goals. For foster youth who lack a support network to help guide them, the process is daunting. ACE Scholars provides the support these students need to succeed.

A Student's Story

Picture of Militza JimenezBorn in Venezuela, Militza arrived in the U.S. in 1993. As a former foster youth with little education, she knew she was at a disadvantage. However,  Militza wanted a better life for her and her family- she began teaching herself English and eventually enrolled in Palomar College. In 2003, she transferred to Cal State San Marcos where passionate and accessible faculty and staff opened up her mind to new concepts and ideas in neuroscience, sparking her imagination and a passion to do research. 

Now Militza is thriving: she is part of the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program at CSUSM. The goal of the RISE program is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral research who successfully complete Ph.D. degree programs in these fields. This Spring, Militza presented independent research that she designed and conducted at the CSUSM research competition. She is now working in a Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory on a research project in conjunction with SDSU and UCSD. These undergraduate research opportunities have strengthened Militza's candidacy for Ph.D. programs in cognitive neuroscience. She credits CSUSM for helping her make the connections and providing her with the experience and opportunity to fulfill her dreams of "helping people on a global scale."

Transform a Life Today

Your generous donation will contribute to our efforts to transform the lives of former foster youth through higher education at California State University San Marcos. ACE Scholars has held its retention rate at 88% consistently since 2010. Join us in our efforts to continue changing the lives of former foster youth.

Obtaining a college degree is costly for the average student, but for former foster youth, the cost is much greater because they have low income and do not have financial support from family. The cost of attendance for resident students at Cal State San Marcos is $23,662 for just one academic year. Even with financial aid, these students are left with over $80,000 in costs on average. One of our objectives is to have our students graduate with the lowest amount of debt. The average amount of student loans at CSUSM is $13,000 per student while the national average is $26,000.

With costs averaging $80,000, the 3% of foster youth that will even be able to attend college, may not be able to afford college. Your generous gift will more than transform a life; it will relieve these foster youth of the financial load college costs and allow these foster youth to feel support and encouragement they need to achieve a higher education.


To Make a Gift Online

Using our campus' secure online credit card form, you can transform a life with the click of a button through either a one-time gift, or a recurring gift. Follow these instructions to give online now:

  1. Click the green Give Online button below.
  2. Next, on the giving form, from the ‘I would like my gift to support:’ menu, select ‘Other’
  3. Then, in the 'Other Designation:' field, type in 'ACE Scholars Services'
  4. Near the bottom of the form under 'Recurring gift?' please select the 'Yes' bubble if you would like your gift to repeat automatically on a regular basis.
  5. Finish the rest of the form, and your gift will be complete. Thank you for your support! If you need additional assistance, please call University Development at 760.750.4400.

Give Online

To Make a Gift by Check
If you wish to make a gift by check, please mail your gift to ACE.
Checks can be made payable to CSUSM Foundation.


Mail to:

ACE c/o University Advancement,
California State University San Marcos,
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096-0001

ACE Scholars Services Day

ACE Scholars Services receives recognition from San Diego County pictureIn 2012, the County of San Diego recognized ACE Scholars Services and declared June 19 "ACE Scholars Services Day" throughout the County. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors declared it "ACE Scholars Services Day" in recognition of our program's many successes and in celebrating our five years of service. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Greg Cox said, "The County of San Diego is committed to recognizing and honoring those organizations that are dedicated to the best of public service and ACE Scholars Services is one such organization."


ACE Scholars Services transforms the lives of foster youth through the opportunity to obtain a higher education. With assistance from our charitable donors, we have been able to support over 100 students during their college careers. Our program exists due to financial funding from the State, the University, grants, and most importantly, from donors. Private individuals have generously donated annually to support our former foster youth through college.

Graph of Revenue Sources

Our donors enable our program to thrive throughout the academic year by supporting our wrap-around services including weekly counseling, housing assistance, assistance with book fees and tuition, enrichment activities, emergency financial assistanct, and our Working Scholarships. Our professional staff is the key to our program as they provide guidance and a support system for these youth. Through personal, academic, and career counseling our staff provides a lending hand to students when they need it most.

Graph of Expenses


The Working Scholarships program provides our students with on-campus jobs where they receive sufficient training in their pursued field of study, a mentor, and satisfaction of earning their own money. Our Working Scholarships allows our students to obtain knowledge and experience in the working environment while their supervisor provides mentoring and guidance to help them achieve success plus the student is able to stay on campus. ACE Scholars Services pays the students' salaries while allowing them to experience independence. Our Gap Scholarships are support scholarships given to students to pay for books, academic fees, and housing. Our Emergency Fund is also essential to our program to help support students when an emergency arises, whether it be money for food, computer repairs, gas, or other emergency situations.


Thank You

Below is a list of our generous financial supporters who have donated to the ACE Scholars Services program to allow former foster youth the opportunity to pursue a higher education. The following organizations and individuals are those to thank:

Pardee Family Foundation
Price Charities
Rancho Santa Fe Foundation
Rancho Sante Fe Women's Fund
Stearns Family Foundation
The Shiley Foundation
In-N-Out Burger Foundation
LPL Financial
Larry and Shirley Anderson
David Batchelder
Betty and Melvin Cohn
Dr. Judy La Bounty and Dr. Hugh La Bounty
Judy and Dick High
Dr. Janice Ropp-Jackson and Dr. Jack Jackson
Jim Mickelson
Carol Needham
Roberto Ramirez
Shirley Anderson
BetterWorld Trust
Schuster Fund
Edgar B. Koschmann
Stuart Foundation



ACE Scholars Services logo