Overview

The Guardian Scholars Foundation works with the Department of Human Services to locate young adults who have spent time in the foster care system between the ages of 14-18 and wish to attend college full-time.  The program helps to facilitate their dreams by working with the host college to create a support system of administration, professors, and financial aid associates ready to work with the academic inequality and financial instability that often accompany an individual from the foster system.  

The goal of the Guardian Scholars program is to help fund educational costs for each scholar by providing up to  $8,000 per year to add to state and federal assistance and supplements from the host university.

After becoming inspired by the state of California's Guardian Scholars program, created by friend Ron Davis, Guardian Scholars Foundation founder Craig W. Sandahl decided to create a branch in his home state of Iowa.  GSF's first scholars, Jessica Vega-Argueta and Dez Broeg, entered the pilot program at Buena Vista University in the falls of 2011 and 2009 and graduated with degrees in psychology and environmental sciences respectively in Spring, 2013.

Currently, Buena Vista University, Grand View University, Waldorf College and Drake University have teamed up with the Guardian Scholars Foundation to become partner colleges.  When a student is accepted as a Guardian Scholar at a partner college the institution agrees to gift an additional $8,000 per year on top of previously offered aid and the Guardian Scholars gift, in order to attempt to guarantee paid tuition, room and board, and a stipend for textbooks.  Within the next year, GSF hopes to work with many colleges in the state of Iowa and greatly grow the number of students receiving aid. However, students are not restricted to attend our partner colleges.

View and print our informational brochure here.

  

Standing from left: Tim Speers, Craig Sandahl, Dez Broeg, Jessica Vega-Argueta, and Sue Speers. The Speers were Jessica's foster parents. Seated are Bill and Myrna Phelps who also contributed to the program.

Standing from left: Tim Speers, Craig Sandahl, Dez Broeg, Jessica Vega-Argueta, and Sue Speers. The Speers were Jessica's foster parents. Seated are Bill and Myrna Phelps who also contributed to the program.

  

“Jessica and Dez are blazing the trail for other students who age out of the foster care system and want to graduate from college so they can realize their full potential, They both came to BVU with backgrounds that would have challenged anyone, but they have strong character and with the support and mentoring provided through the Guardian Scholars program and BVU they have excelled. They are self-reliant and proud of what they have done, and rightly so.”
— Craig W. Sandahl, GSF Founder