College Futures Monterey County

College Futures Monterey County

We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to pursue their educational, career, and life goals. Growing the number of students who earn college degrees makes a brighter future for us all. 

Everyone Wins When Students Succeed

Earning a college degree has a significant impact on earnings and a region’s economy as a whole. Increasing the number of college graduates in our community is critical for our economic future. Currently, only 23% of residents age 25 and older hold a Bachelor’s Degree but by 2030 38% of job openings will require a Bachelor’s degree (Public Policy Institute of California).

Growing up I believed that going to a university would be out of my reach because of my family income, so I only to dreamed about it. With this scholarship, my dream became a reality.
– Alejandro Estrada-Esparza, UC Davis

We’re Falling Behind

Too many of our young people with the ability and desire to succeed in college lack the support to do so. Today 75% of Monterey County high school students aspire to attend college, but only 33% have taken the required courses to apply to a University of California or California State University campus. In some high schools in our county, as few as 1 in 20 students are prepared.

College Futures Aspiration Graphic
Rising College Costs

College costs have risen faster than financial aid — low-income families are faced with college expenses that require a large percentage of their income. Even with federal, state, and campus-based financial aid, low income families spend 50-70% of their discretionary income on college costs to avoid student loan debt. In 1980, a student could pay for tuition and fees at a University of California campus working at minimum wage only 5 hours per week. Today, a similar student would need to work 30 hours per week. By taking a fresh look at our scholarship approach, informed by best practices in other California communities, we can change this reality.

Our Approach

Many scholarships have been awarded to the highest academic achievers. This provides recognition for students who have excelled in high school – but doesn’t factor in whether the students and their families have financial need. College Futures Monterey County is designed to help low-income students in Monterey County achieve their educational and career goals.

Our approach combines need-based scholarships with college success services to ensure students have the greatest opportunity to get to and through college. Scholarship recipients can attend the college or university of their choice.

Participating High Schools

  • Alisal High School
  • Everett Alvarez High School
  • Gonzales High School
  • Greenfield High School
  • King City High School
  • North Monterey County High School
  • North Salinas High School
  • Salinas High School
  • Seaside High School
  • Soledad High School

Student Support Services


  • Outreach to low-income, first generation students
  • Workshops to advise students on academic preparation, college admissions, and financial aid and literacy
  • Support for students to access public financial aid and attend a college of their choice
  • Help for students to attain their educational and career goals

Our approach helps more students receive the support they need to get to college. These programs are highly effective, increasing the rate at which students attend college and complete a bachelor’s degree. We also ensuring that students apply for all public financial aid for which they qualify.

How to Apply

Students can contact the guidance counselor at participating schools (above), and, if eligible, apply via the CFMC’s online scholarship portal.


A Smart Investment

Francesca Rios College FuturesI was the first in my family to go straight to a four-year university. Getting help with applications and financial aid was crucial. – Francisca Rios, CSU Monterey Bay

Growing the number of students who earn college degrees makes a brighter future for us all. An investment in this approach is a commitment to helping local students reach their full potential. It is also an investment in the economic and social future of our county.

3 Ways to Give

  • Establish a Named Scholarship Fund

  • Make a One-Time Gift or Annual Investment

    • Contribute to a pooled fund that provides annual scholarships to low-income and underrepresented college students in Monterey County.— A gift of $2,500 provides 1 to 2 scholarships, while $5,000 provides 1 to 5 scholarships. You can also make a multi-year pledge to support scholarships.
  • Make a Gift in your Will or Estate Plan

    • Consult with your professional advisor to determine the most advantageous ways to maximize your planned gift.

Join Us

Please join us to learn about ways you can help more deserving young people with financial need fulfill their dream of earning a college degree—and change the future of our region. To get started, contact Christine Dawson at or 831.375.9712 x126