Information For

Prospective Students

Others look at where you came from...
We look at where you’re going.

We understand that the thought of attending and graduating from college may seem overwhelming, or even impossible — but it doesn't have to be. We're here to help.

Think of ACE Scholars Services as your home base. A place where you can be yourself. A place where people can truly relate to who you are because they're on a similar journey. A place filled with unconditional support and guidance.

Nearly 60 former foster youth call ACE home at CSUSM.

Why CSUSM & ACE Scholars Services?

Our students have an 86% persistence rate — far more than the national average of 50%. That's because, unlike many universities, we provide former foster youth with an incredible amount of personalized service and support, including:

  • Personal help with college entrance forms, including: Admissions, Financial Aid, and Scholarship Applications
  • Academic, career, and personal counseling
  • Priority registration
  • Year-round, on-campus housing (Apartment-style with a kitchen)
  • Career development and internship opportunities
  • Financial assistance
  • Social activities
  • Personal development training
  • Career assistance after graduation

What are the application requirements for freshmen?

One of the biggest benefits of the ACE program is that CSUSM guarantees freshman admission to foster youth who meet the following criteria:

  • Applies to ACE Scholars Services by completing the ACE Program Application Form. Following review of the application, it will be necessary to submit a Verification of Dependency Letter documenting foster care placement.
  • Completes all college preparatory A-G coursework.
  • Meets the minimum CSU eligibility index requirements.
  • Applies to CSUSM on CSU Mentor between October 1st – November 30th.
  • Has been a dependent of the court in San Diego or Riverside County (foster youth from other counties are encouraged to apply but are not guaranteed admission).
  • Was in foster care on or after their 13th birthday for at least two years OR is participating in extended foster care and under the age of 26.*

* Exceptions to the eligibility criteria will be reviewed on an individual basis. Complete the ACE Exception Form (PDF) and submit it to the ACE office to be considered for an exception.

What are the application requirements for transfer students?

  • Applies to ACE Scholars Services by completing the ACE Program Application Form. Following review of the application, it will be necessary to submit a Verification of Dependency Letter documenting foster care placement.
  • Has completed 60 or more transferable semester units by the end of spring.**
  • Earned a cumulative transfer GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  • Completed the four general education courses, known as the “Golden Four”, with a “C” grade or higher (Oral Communication, Written Communication, Critical Thinking, Mathematics or Quantitative Reasoning)**
  • Applies to CSUSM on CSU Mentor between October 1st – November 30th.
  • Was in foster care on or after their 13th birthday for at least two years OR is participating in extended foster care and under the age of 26.*

* Exceptions to the eligibility criteria will be reviewed on an individual basis. Complete the ACE Exception Form (PDF) and submit it to the ACE office to be considered for an exception.

** Please contact ACE Scholars Services for individual consultation and exemption considerations for these requirements.

I'm sold. How do I get started?

We recommend that you apply to ACE Scholars Services first so that we can assist you in applying to CSUSM. You can do so online at any time using our ACE Program Application Form. If you have any questions about the form, or need assistance with it, please contact us — we're here to help.

After you've applied to ACE, you then must apply to CSUSM online via CSU Mentor between October 1st – November 30th. This is critically important — there are no exceptions! If you've been accepted into ACE, but don't apply to CSUSM during those dates, you won't be accepted and enrolled at the University and will have to wait another year.

Finally, be sure to take a look at our comprehensive checklist of Application Steps for Former Foster Youth (Freshmen or Transfer) where we've listed important steps you'll need to take throughout the application process.