Creating Hope & Opportunity Through Education!
Serving the Whole Scholar
At Palmer Scholars, we are committed to helping our Scholars achieve their dreams of a better life through higher education. We know through experience that our work cannot stop after scholarship checks go out. Our “Whole Scholar” model is a holistic approach that provides opportunities for our committed staff, board, and community volunteers to support Scholars in most all areas of life, beyond what is generally encapsulated in college access programs.
We are committed to supporting underrepresented Pierce County students of color to overcome financial, cultural, and social barriers in their pursuit of higher education.
Our vision is for our students to succeed in graduating from college with the essential tools to be catalysts for change and leaders in our community
Much More than a Scholarship!
Our Scholars participate in 100 hours of training on topics including career exploration, financial aid, self-advocacy, budgeting, and navigating higher education as a student of color. We help our Scholars choose the best next step for them, whether that be 2-year, 4-year, or technical college.
We carefully and intentionally match our Scholars with a trained adult mentor who is a leader in our community. Mentors guide Scholars from the time they apply for their postsecondary institution through postsecondary program completion.
Renewable scholarships, freshmen-year send-off packages including a laptop and dorm essentials, and in-person campus visits are just some of the ways we support our Scholars as they progress through their postsecondary program.
Over the last 38 years, we have served over 600 talented young adults of color from across Pierce County. While nationally, low-income first-generation college students graduate at just 11%, our all-time graduation rate is 84%!
Challenging the 4-Year Narrative
At Palmer Scholars, we recognize a 4-year institution is not the only pathway to success. Our newest initiative targets disconnected young adults between the ages of 18-26 in our community. Through the Palmer Pathways Initiative, we recruit talented young adults who are not currently employed or enrolled in school and are interested in pursuing a career in the trades. Palmer Pathways Scholars will receive all of the services Scholars in our Legacy Program receive, including training, mentoring, and ongoing support throughout their academic/professional journey.
We are excited to expand the breadth and depth of our services to young adults across Pierce County!
“It has been an awesome experience being a mentee. My mentor has shared with me his tips and tricks in the trade, assisted in moral support and helped me in making big decisions in regards to my career! He is a humble human being and shares his own stories that in the end help me to navigate problems I am facing. He always encourages me to work hard, try new things but to also to reflect and make sure I'm not overextending myself. For the 4-5 years since I've met him, he has been a great mentor - a counselor, a cheerleader and a coach - I'm blessed to know him.”
– Victoria, Class of 2015
Megan Q. (Clover Park '16, St. Martin's '20)
Shortly after graduating from St. Martin's University, Megan moved to Boston to work with FoodCorps, a non-profit organization whose missions is to work with communities and connect kids to healthy food in schools. Throughout the pandemic, Megan recognized the shame and stigma around food insecurity and decided to dedicate her time to changing this.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
“Unlike other organizations, Palmer Scholars goes beyond Scholarships. They bring kids up, give them skills before college, and follow up until they graduate. In my time as a Palmer Scholar, I felt like they truly were invested in my success.”
- Shawn, Lincoln HS '15, University of Washington '19