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. 

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

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).


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.

Income $0 – $30,000 $30,001 – $48,000
College Type University of California California State University University of California California State University
Unmet Need $8,808 $6,563 $10,126 $8,945
% Discretionary Income 64% 48% 32% 28%

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.

A New 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 winners can attend the college or university of their choice.

Download the Brochure


We are partnering with California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to expand college success services to more students in Monterey County high schools with the greatest need. Through the Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search programs, CSUMB reaches over 1,300 students across 8 high schools, increasing student knowledge about financial aid, college admissions, and academic preparedness so they can be better prepared to attend the college of their choice.

College Futures Monterey County High Schools

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


Student Support

This approach includes four essential components:

  • Outreach to low-income, first generation students
  • 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 that meets their educational and career goals
  • Provide multi-year scholarships to help students persist and Attain a bachelor’s degree

Our partnership will increase the number of students that these programs serve, helping many more students receive the support they need to get to college. These programs are highly effective, regularly increasing the rate at which students attend college and complete a bachelor’s degree. We are working with CSUMB to award need-based scholarships to participants in these programs while 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. Thanks to many generous donors, the CFMC currently provides scholarships to more than 200 students annually. Through College Futures Monterey County, we plan to continue to grow that number. 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.

Download the Brochure

3 Ways to Give – Your Gift Will Be Matched By College Futures Foundation

  • 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