Our Mission

The Guardian Scholars is a university-sponsored, student support service for Ball State students who experienced foster care. Our mission is to promote equity & provide access to higher education for this vulnerable student group.

Founded in 2004

43 BSU Graduates

203 Students Served

Read about our guiding values

Find out what support is available

Learn about giving opportunities

Program Information

The Guardian Scholars program is for students who:

  • Are enrolled at Ball State as an undergraduate student; and,
  • Had an open foster care case at or above the age of 13; or,
  • Experienced foster care at any age and show current evidence of serious and chronic deficits in familial support


Program Structure

Guardian Scholars program participation is voluntary. In order to serve students with varying levels of need and to honor their personal agency, we have structured our program to function in three ways:

Program Participant Button

Program participants are those eligible students looking for maximum program benefit. They must be full-time, main campus students and express the intention of maintaining communication with the Guardian Scholars. Program participants commit to attending the program activities that are relevant to their needs. The benefits of program participation include:

  • regularly scheduled coaching meetings 
  • invitations to all program seminars & events
  • program scholarship eligibility

Program Affiliate button

Program affiliates are typically our online or part-time students! Some traditional students also choose to hold an affiliate status if they wish to have less frequent program contact, but maintain accountability. Program affiliates:

  • hold occasional coaching meetings
  • have their academic progress continuously monitored to anticipate supportive interventions
  • receive invitations to program seminars

Student Service button

This category of support is entirely student driven. Our eligible students who do not wish to have any ongoing affiliation with the Guardian Scholars can self-initiate supportive services at any time. These students schedule coaching meetings on an as needed basis and do not maintain consistent communication with the program. 

Join Guardian Scholars 

All eligible students wishing to engage with the Guardian Scholars program should submit this Program Admissions Form.*  Please be prepared to share some information about your foster care history and current living/family situation. You will also be asked to write a personal statement (short essay) including your academic and/or career goals. If you have documentation verifying your Department of Child Services (DCS) case history, there is an opportunity to upload supporting documents. 

Once your admissions form is received, you will contacted by program staff to schedule an eligibility screening if one is needed. Program orientation occurs during move-in week for 1st year students, or during coaching meetings as needed. Please contact Bria Zolman, Guardian Scholars Program Manager at gscholars@bsu.edu or 765-285-5538 with any questions regarding program eligibility or admission to the Guardian Scholars program.

*Please note that you must be an admitted Ball State student before you will be able to access this form.