Our Multi-Year Approach
Our Scholars participate in over 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, technical college or apprenticeship.
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.
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.
For over 40 years, we have served over 800 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 93%!
Serving the Whole Scholar
At Palmer Scholars, we recognize our Scholars cannot succeed in the classroom or in the workplace if they do not have their basic needs met at home. 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 or workforce development programs.
Our timeline of services below show the depth and breadth of the support we provide our Scholars:
Scholar Enters Program
In Phase 1 of our programs, Scholars are immersed in a vibrant community with career-focused learning, socioemotional support, postsecondary readiness training, impactful mentorship, and additional resources. Before transitioning to postsecondary programs, we offer over 100 hours of training covering topics such as program selection, career exploration, application processes, FAFSA/WASFA, scholarships, budgeting, self-advocacy, and navigating higher education as a student of color. Scholars are paired with trained adult mentors for ongoing support, and our staff conducts individual meetings and group gatherings, including shared meals, throughout the school year. We also organize annual social events for Scholars and their families to reconnect with each other, staff, board members, mentors, and volunteers.
Scholar Begins Postsecondary Program
In Phase 2, Scholars transition to postsecondary programs with support from scholarship opportunities, Palmer Cares Care Packages, and immersive Campus Visits. We prioritize their success beyond graduation through key partnerships. Legacy Scholars engage in the NEXT MOVE Internship Program, gaining professional skills. Pathways Scholars earn career certifications, and all scholars may receive up to $2,500/year in scholarships, book assistance, and personal expense support for up to five years. Rising freshmen get a stocked backpack and a $150 gift card for dorm essentials. Financial aid is provided for certifications, protective equipment, and work tools.
Scholar Completes Postsecondary Program
Elevating the trajectory established in Phases 1 and 2, Phase 3 empowers Scholars with unparalleled access to the alumni board, networking opportunities, cutting-edge professional development resources, and exclusive volunteer opportunities, fostering a comprehensive and transformative journey.