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$30,000 In Scholarships 

As we embark on the fourth year of our scholarship program, we continue to reflect, renew, and embrace the beauty and power that comes from a painful history. At the founding of our scholarship fund was a mission to bring value to stories most dismissed in educational spaces, not because they lack potential or knowledge, but due to educational systems merit-based selection practices that are rooted in elitism, white supremacy culture, and a myth of meritocracy.

Historically, scholarship applications have required students to prove their value through GPAs, letters of recommendation, and written responses justifying their adherence to English grammar. But at Central Valley Scholars, we believe every student is equally worthy, deserving, and has all the power to change the world. So instead, we’ve created a scholarship curriculum that is centered on storytelling.

Our scholarship fund intentionally reserves opportunities for students most oppressed in our communities, and through a holistic review of the individual and system-wide obstacles students face in applying to scholarships, we’ve created a truly accessible scholarship program that allows all students, especially those who are oppressed, to have equal opportunities to fund their higher education.


For the 2023 application cycle, are proud to offer $30,000 in scholarships for Central Valley students, and are eager for the learnings, love, and power we will gain from our collective stories.


Learn More >> 

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Ileana Soria Reyes (She/Ella)

The 2023 Inspire Awardee

Scholarship Opportunities 

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Undocumented Scholarship

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Woman of Color 


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LGBTQIA+ Scholarship

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Black Student 


Justice Impacted 


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First-Generation Scholarship

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Student Parent


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The 2023 

Inspire Award


Requirements & Deadlines

In order to qualify for our scholarships, students must:


  • Be enrolled at a community college, vocational school, or undergraduate university during the fall semester/quarter of 2023.

  • Have graduated from a high school, continuation school, or G.E.D school in the San Joaquin Valley by August 31st, 2023. 


Scholarship Deadlines


  • Scholarship applications are currently closed and will re-open September 2024.

  • Students with disabilities and students facing difficult circumstances are eligible for a one-week extension. Please complete our accommodations request form for an extension. 

Want to check if you're eligible? Fill this short form! To learn more about our requirements, view our Terms and Conditions


Pedro Gamino (2020 Inspire Awardee)



Scholarship Info-Session

Want to learn more about our scholarship program? Watch our Scholarship Info-Session! In this virtual webinar, we discuss the following: 

  • The history and purpose of our scholarship mission

  • A breakdown of our scholarship opportunities 

  • Application requirements, structure, and tips 

  • Using Good Grants 

  • Accessibility & Accommodations

  • Open Q&A 

  • Can previous scholarship recipients apply?
    Unfortunately, no. Previous Central Valley Scholars scholarship recipients cannot re-apply and will not be considered for our 2024 scholarships. However, students who previously applied to our scholarships and were not selected as recipients are eligible to re-apply.
  • How can I apply for the Inspire Award?
    There is no application for our Inspire Award. To be considered, students must qualify and apply for at least one of our eight identity scholarships. The Inspire Award comes with a cash prize of $6,000, individual recognition on our social platforms, outside media publications, and continuous themtorship and support from the Central Valley Scholars team. This award aims to change the narrative of higher education success stories, highlighting a student whose potential goes beyond traditional markers of success. The Inspire awardee is meant to serve as an inspiration for students with similar identities, a representative of Central Valley Scholars and the students we serve, and give insight to what an accessible higher education should look like. View our 2022 Inspire Awardee here.
  • How do I know if I qualify for the first-generation scholarship?
    For purposes of our First-Generation Scholarship, we define a first-generation college student as someone whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) did not complete a Bachelor's degree in the United States.
  • I completed my Bachelor's degree, but will be taking courses at a college/university to complete prerequisites for graduate school. Am I eligible to apply?
    Unfortunately, no. Per our scholarships mission, we aim to support students who are beginning/completing their undergraduate process. Students who will be enrolled at a college/university in the fall, but already received their Bachelor's degree are not eligible to apply.
  • What are you looking for?
    We understand that Central Valley students, especially those who are underserved, face a myriad of obstacles during their educational journeys that inevitably interfere with academic performance. And we also understand that traditional markers of success (like high grade point averages) are rooted in elitism, white supremacy culture, and a myth of meritocracy. Rather than centralizing on academic history, we focus solely on a student's potential to succeed. (As shared by our friends at Joy As Resistance, “White Supremacy Culture is the water we swim in and trains each one of us to internalize harmful attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.” For more learnings on white supremacy culture, please visit The goal of our scholarship program is not only to provide financial support to some of the most underserved Central Valley students, but to also change the narrative of the “ideal” scholarship candidate and encourage other educational institutions to do the same. In your application, be honest, be vulnerable, and dive deeply into the questions. Students will be selected on the basis of identity, need, and potential for growth. For more information and tips about our scholarships, please read our 2023 Scholarship Announcement Letter.
  • Can transgender women apply to the Woman of Color scholarship?
    Heck yes! For purposes of this scholarship, we define women as all who experience life through the lens of women in body, spirit, and identity, in present, future and fluid. Trans women are women, and as long as they meet our other requirements, they are eligible to apply to this scholarship.
  • How and when do I turn in my application?
    We are only accepting online applications. Please click here to be sent to our application portal. Applications are due in November. We understand that many students do not have access to a computer or internet. If this is the case for you, please complete our Accommodation Request Form or email We will happily accommodate you as best as we can!
  • When will scholarship recipients be announced?
    Scholarship recipients will be notified by the end of December 2024. All scholarship applicants will receive an email update in regards to the status of their application(s) by January of 2025. If there are any delays we will make sure to let applicants know via the email provided in the application.
  • Are undergraduate students eligible to apply to the scholarships?
    Yes! If you will continue your undergraduate education during the academic year of 2024 - 2025 AND you have graduated from a high school, continuation school, or G.E.D school in the San Joaquin Valley you qualify for our scholarships!
  • Can I answer the scholarship questions in a language other than English?
    Yes! In reflection of the learnings from our 2022 Inspire Awardee, students are welcome to submit their application responses in their native tongue. However, before doing so, students must complete our Accommodation Request Form. Please note, applications submitted in a different language, other than English, that did not receive an accommodation approval may be interpreted at the selection committee's discretion for consideration.
  • How do I know if I qualify for the Disability Student Scholarship?
    We define a disability as any condition that places the body and/or mind outside of the societal “norm” that leads to difficulty in participating in everyday life (working, studying, eating, walking, etc.). Such conditions might include, but are not limited to, physical disabilities, mental health and psychiatric disabilities, d/Deafness, blindness and low vision, learning disabilities, autism and aspergers, invisible disabilities including pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, and many more. We do not require any medical or government certification of a disability in order to apply to this scholarship. However, considered applicants may be asked for additional information at a later time. We are here to make our scholarships as accessible as possible for you. If there are any accommodations you need to complete our scholarship applications, please complete our Accommodation Request Form or email
  • Can current graduate students apply to the scholarships?
    Unfortunately, no. Current graduate students are not eligible to apply for our scholarships. For this year, the goal of creating these scholarships was to help students currently in or from the Central Valley who are starting or completing their community college, vocational school, or undergraduate process. We will, however, look for graduate students to serve on our scholarship selection committees. You can learn more and apply to become a scholarship reader here.
  • Can I apply to more than one scholarship?
    Yes! If you meet the requirements for each of our scholarships, you are welcome to apply to all of them (or as many as you qualify for)! Because each scholarship has its own goals and questions, we recommend you share experiences directly addressing each individual identity. What struggles did you face as an undocumented student? What struggles did you face as a Queer person? Tailor each response to each of your identities. Please note, while students are invited to apply to all the scholarships they qualify for, we will only award a maximum of two scholarships per applicant. However, the more you apply for, the better your chances! Learn more via our Scholarship Terms and Conditions.
  • Will my story, name, or identity be shared if I am selected for a scholarship?
    We understand that disclosing identities and information publicly can put students at risk. For this reason, students have the option to share their names, identities, or statuses on our social medias publicly, but are not required to (with exclusion of the Inspire Award). Please note, however, that we are required to collect and report certain identity information to our funders. Learn more via our Scholarship Terms and Conditions. For questions, please email
  • How do I apply for an extension?
    Students with disabilities or students facing difficult circumstances can receive a one-week extension to submit their scholarship applications. Please complete our Accommodation Request Form to apply. You must complete this by November 22, 2024 at 11:59 PT. Please note, the Student with Disabilities Scholarship already has a one-week submission extension implemented in the application. However, if you are applying to multiple scholarships and would need a one-week extension for those applications, please complete our Accommodation Request Form by the aforementioned deadline.
  • How do I prove that I graduated or will graduate from a G.E.D school in the Central Valley?
    Proof of a high school diploma or equivalent from a school in the San Joaquin Valley will not be required to submit an application; however, considered applicants will be requested proof at a later time. Documentation requested will include a copy of your G.E.D school transcript, picture of your school ID, or picture of your G.E.D/high school diploma. These can be provided by your current/past high school office. As a reminder, grade point averages will not affect our decision making process.
  • I currently attend a college/university in the San Joaquin Valley, but I am not from the San Joaquin Valley. Am I eligible to apply?
    Unfortunately, no. In order to qualify for our scholarships, you must have graduated from a high school, continuation school, or G.E.D school in the San Joaquin Valley by August 31st, 2024. Students who attend a college or university in the San Joaquin Valley, but did not receive a high school diploma or equivalent from a G.E.D school in the San Joaquin Valley do not qualify for our scholarships.
  • Do you require letters of recommendation?
    Nope! For the first time since our scholarship program founding, we are not requiring letters of recommendation for ANY of our scholarships. Our scholarship application is designed for students to reflect on identity, invite vulnerability, and discover the unique and powerful knowledge they have gained through their lived experiences as oppressed people. Students should approach our application as an opportunity to share their story; honesty and the ability to show your authentic self is what we value most. To learn more about our scholarship mission, click here.
  • What do you mean by undocumented?
    For purposes of this program, an undocumented student is an individual who is a non-citizen of the United States. This includes, and is not limited to, undocumented immigrants, refugees, asylees, and individuals under temporary protected status.
  • Can I apply if I am not first-generation, undocumented, or Black?
    Unfortunately, no. This program is designed and reserved for Black, undocumented, and first-generation students in the Central Valley. The Themtorship Program was founded with the understanding that students with these identities have to face oppression on a social, cultural, and systemic level. Our work and services are designed to dismantle these oppressions as students work towards applying to an undergraduate university.
  • What is an undergraduate university?
    An undergraduate university is a college in which you can receive a Bachelor's degree. Common examples include: Universities of California (UCs) California State Universities (CSUs) Private universities (e.g. Fresno Pacific) Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) Ivy League Colleges A community college (e.g. Fresno City College, Reedley College, Porterville College) is not an undergraduate university as you can only receive an Associate's degree.
  • How many Themtees will be selected?
    For the 2023-2024 Themtorship cohort, we are selecting 10 Themtees.
  • What are you looking for?
    Our selection criteria is based on identity and need, admitting students who would most benefit from the program. Axing oppressive markers of success (e.g. GPAs), our requirements are as follows: Must be enrolled in a high school, charter school, G.E.D school, continuation school or community college in the San Joaquin Valley during the 2023-2024 academic year Must be applying to an undergraduate university during the 2023 application cycle Must identify as a first-generation, undocumented, and/or Black student In addition, we are looking for ambitious students who are eager to apply to a multitude of universities and who are not only committed to the program, but also their college futures!
  • What is the commitment if I am selected for the program?
    Students admitted into the program must commit to the following: Attend and participate monthly virtual trainings with the Themtorship cohort Attend and participate monthly virtual one-on-one check-ins with themtors Attend and participate in two in-person convenings scheduled in December 2023 and May 2024 Attend and participate in monthly virtual one-to-one check-ins with program directors Complete requested surveys and updates pertaining to your progress in the program Hold continuous communication with program directors, your themtor, and the cohort through the duration of the program
  • When will selected applicants be notified?
    All applicants will be notified in regards to the status of their application by August 2023.
  • Can community college students apply?
    Yes! Specifically community college students in the San Joaquin Valley and who will be applying to an undergraduate university during the fall 2023 application cycle. If you are not set to transfer to an undergraduate university by fall 2024, you do not qualify for our Themtorship Program.
  • What do you mean by first-generation?
    For purposes of this program, we define a first-generation college student as someone whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) did not complete a Bachelor's degree in the United States.
  • How do I know if I attend a school or college in the San Joaquin Valley?
    The San Joaquin Valley consists of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties (see image above). If your school or college is located in any of these counties, you meet our geographic requirement!
  • What is a Themtor/Themee?
    We use themtor in replacement of 'mentor' to show inclusion of trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, and all other marginalized genders. Our organization particularly uses this spelling to separate ourselves from exclusionary 'mentorship' programs.
  • When is the application due?
    Applications are due June 5, 2023 at 11:59 pm PST. You can apply by clicking here or the button below.
  • When would I receive the scholarship?
    Students receive all program materials (including the laptop and wifi hotspot) in August 2023. However, the $500 scholarship will not be awarded until students complete the program in May 2024. Learn more via Themtorship Terms & Conditions.

Have additional questions? Please email Scholarship Terms And Conditions.

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