Aging Out Institute Podcast

Preparing Foster Youth for Adulting

Prospective Students

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 to discuss your current needs and desired program engagement. Please contact Bria Zolman, Guardian Scholars Program Manager at 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.

Who can utilize the Guardian Scholars program? 

Any undergraduate Ball State student who experienced foster care in their teens; 

OR any undergraduate Ball State student who experienced foster care in their lifetime and shows current evidence of serious, chronic deficits in familial support. 

"Experienced foster care" is defined as having had Department of Child Services (DCS) case interventions of any placement type including but not limited to a foster home, residential facility, kinship care placement, or group home with any type of case resolution (reunification, adoption, aging out). 

What is required of me by the program?

Nothing. This is a voluntary program intended to help you gain self-advocacy skills through access to supportive services. When you face obstacles on campus, we want to help. We want to celebrate with you and provide a community of support. We want to provide you opportunities to lead and advocate on campus. Having years of data to pull from, we will provide recommendations for best maximizing your experience in the program, but we work together in determining which supports are needed and desired by you!

How much time does full program participation take?

This varies by student! Many students prefer to meet with their campus coach weekly or biweekly. We also offer a selection of seminars and program events that you are welcome to attend! Depending on the week, students might typically spend 0-3 hours attending program related activities. 

What does it mean to be a program affiliate?

Eligible students who are attending Ball State either part-time or online only; or full-time students who desire lower levels of program participation are considered program affiliates. Affiliates receive the benefit of a campus coach for monthly academic mentoring and financial aid assistance. They are also invited to program seminars but do not participate in other program components. This is a great option for students who anticipate needing some additional accountability and support from time to time, but who aren't interested in the holistic support measures full program participation entails. 

Does every Guardian Scholar student receive a program scholarship?

No, but every program participant is eligible to apply for a program scholarship annually in the spring. Once awarded the Guardian Scholars program scholarship is a $2,500 annual scholarship which is renewable for up to 4 years. There is a competitive application process which takes into account the students academic performance, program engagement and financial need as determined by the Ball State Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Program affiliates are not eligible to apply for the program scholarship. 

I experienced foster care, but I'm not interested in identification with this program. Can I still get support if I need it?

Please do! We totally understand that not every young person exiting foster care wants or needs the services being offered in the Guardian Scholars. But if you are facing barriers that are effecting your ability to pass your classes or afford your tuition, we hope you will still reach out. You can initiate contact with our office at any time for support on an "as needed" basis with no strings attached. We're at or 765-285-5538. You can also drop by our office in the Multicultural Center, MC 206.