College students are shown with staff from Pasadena Community Foundation

PCF Scholars

PCF Scholars is an education grant program funded by the Pasadena Community Foundation to provide responsive, impactful support to students from Pasadena Unified School District as they graduate from high school and enroll in Pasadena City College (PCC). In partnership with Partnership for Success!, MPYD at Muir High School, Stars, College Access Plan (CAP), and Pasadena City College’s Pathways program, PCF Scholars combines need-based financial assistance and long-term support from counselors and mentors to help PUSD students achieve their college education goals.

Unlike many traditional scholarships, the PCF Scholars program is tailored to meet the needs of each student and open to those who may not be eligible for merit-based aid. We continue to build the program, study the impact, and support our Scholars throughout their time at PCC. Success is defined not only by timely graduation or transfer, but also by persistence, progression, and motivation to set and meet goals.

In fall of 2023, 12 new scholars have been selected for the program, bringing the total number of students supported since the program’s inception to 49. During the 2023-24 school year, the program will support 37 students.

Read our web post about three 2023 PCF Scholars graduates and their academic journey with the program.

Work Less, Study More

The financial assistance and comprehensive counseling provided by the PCF Scholars program is designed to help students complete their studies. Unlike many traditional scholarships, the PCF Scholars program is tailored to meet the needs of each student and open to those who may not be eligible for merit-based aid.

We want to reduce the number of hours students need to work at outside jobs, offset unexpected financial burdens, and cover the costs of books, computers, fees, and other expenses associated with earning college credit, leaving Scholars with the time and capacity to focus on their school work. The Scholars will work with our partner agencies and PCC Pathways to set and meet personal education goals, complete a transfer to a four-year college, or graduate with an Associate’s degree.

Watch video to see the PCF Scholars Program in action. 

It Takes a Team

The PCF Scholars program has grown to be an integrated partnership among the Foundation, College Access Plan, PCC Pathways, MPYD (Mentoring & Partnership for Youth Development) at John Muir High School, Partnership for Success!, and Stars. PCF’s support will amplify the work of our partner agencies as they provide direct services to Pasadena students. Together we provide a consistent through-line of support for students graduating from PUSD schools and attending college at PCC, with the hope that a combination of financial assistance and social-emotional support will ease the transition to college and empower students to complete their coursework and transfer to a four-year college or university.

CAP provides free college counseling to students through drop-in centers at all six PUSD high schools. Counselors guide students through the college application and enrollment process, and maintain relationships after graduation through their “I Heart College” alumni program.

Pathways provides PCC students with coaches, counselors, and tutors to help them stay on track and reach their academic goals. Participants receive priority registration and on-campus guidance services, including course planning, career counseling and financial literacy.

Mentoring & Partnership for Youth Development (MPYD) is a nonprofit mentoring organization located inside historic John Muir High School and dedicated to building better men and changing lives through mentoring.

Partnership for Success! is a unique collaboration between four Pasadena independent schools and the city’s public school district. Students are selected based on criteria including demonstrated academic and personal potential and limited access to summer academic enrichment. They spend nine consecutive summers in the program, culminating with a transition to college after high school graduation.High School Stars is a group mentoring program for 9-12th grade students in the city of Pasadena. it provides a safe, welcoming space for high school students with a holistic approach to group mentoring and strategic academic planning and college counseling for each individual student.


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