Our students are resilient! Take a look at the current data reflecting educational outcomes for young people exiting foster care.

The Guardian Scholars approaches our work with students from a strengths-based approach. We are intentional about elevating the personal agency and dignity of our students through culturally sensitive, holistic support opportunities. Our program aims to promote self-advocacy, growth mindset/resiliency, and inclusiveness as we help students navigate college life and build a sense of belonging on campus.

Read our most recent quarterly newsletter here.

Read about the program impact and current data in our most recent annual report.

Donor Opportunities

Our program is dependent on the generosity of others in maintaining program support. Grant funding and individual donor support provide the means through which we support both program scholarships and daily programmatic expenses. If you are able to help us stand in the gap for these remarkable students, please explore the many outlets for in-kind and monetary giving that are represented in the tabs below.  
Winter Break Boxes

Many of our program participants face challenges unlike their peers over holidays and during breaks from school. The Guardian Scholars program works to stand in those gaps by providing students with food and supplies to support their needs.    

We rely on our generous campus and community supporters to help us fill a box for each student with food, household and winter supplies to be given to them at our annual Winter Break Bash. The next donation drive will begin on 10/1/2024.

rows of large bins full of supplies for winter break boxes

Safe and reliable housing during breaks from school is a concern for many of our students. It is also a complex barrier to navigate.

Factors that contribute to this barrier include:

Studebaker East Hall
  • Financial Limitations
  • Student Eligibility for Extended DCS Services
  • Federal Financial Aid Regulations
  • Availability of Temporary Housing 
  • Trauma-Informed Care (avoiding recreating the foster care experience)

Ball State has a year-round residence hall that many of our students utilize on breaks. However break housing is not included in their housing contracts and requires additional expenses to be incurred. We are staying up-to-date on best practices and emerging legislation related to housing provisions for foster alum. We are committed to supporting our students towards proactive break housing preparation and will support those needs through campus and local referrals, providing financial support as we are able. 

Students in the Guardian Scholars program often face significant financial burdens and lack familial support to meet basic needs. Through grant funding and donor giving, we provide students with access to hygiene items in our Take What You Need Closet! These items can be requested online or during their 1:1 meetings and picked up discreetly!

Beneficence statue on campus

Items currently being distributed in personal care kits include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Mouthwash
  • Body wash
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Deodorant
  • Saline solution
  • Tampons
  • Pads

We welcome donations of these items year-round at:
Ball State University c/o Guardian Scholars
2000 W University Ave. MC 206
Muncie, IN 47306

If you would like to purchase items towards our Personal Care Kits online, here is our Amazon Wishlist!

Students who are approaching graduation may face unexpected expenses related to applying for graduation and costs associated with attending commencement ceremonies.

Student with Graduation Gown and program stole


At current prices, expenses for graduation can amount to just under $100 for most students. We also provide a Guardian Scholars stole for students to wear at Commencement. If you would like to help our scholars offset these expenses, we accept donations of gently used graduation gowns in the current style in all sizes. We also welcome monetary donations towards program purchased regalia!

Many college students receive periodic care packages from their loved ones. Students in the Guardian Scholars are less likely to be recipients of this type of package, yet often have more need than their peers.


Student Opens a Care Package

If you would like to contribute a care package for one or more of our students at any time, please reach out to the program manager (gscholars@bsu.edu) to arrange the details. We will provide you with some details about the student(s) (like favorite color, favorite snack, etc) so that you can customize your box. 

Financial aid is a necessity for Guardian Scholars. Our program currently offers program participants the opportunity to apply for a $2,500 annual scholarship which is renewable for up to 4 years. The Guardian Scholars scholarship is a competitive scholarship that is awarded annually to students who exhibit academic excellence, strong program attendance and financial need.


Student walks across commencement stage

We rely on the generosity of donors to fund our program scholarship. If you would like to make a donation or speak more about one-time, repeating or planned gifts to the Guardian Scholars, please reach out to us any time. Online giving is available below and your gifts are tax deductible.

The future of the Guardian Scholars program rests in the planned giving of compassionate and invested donors. Being able to forecast available program funds allows us to plan with confidence and set ambitious goals for expanding services to some of Ball State's most vulnerable students.

Student smiling in car

    Please consider whether you might commit to making regularly scheduled financial contributions to the Guardian Scholars program.

    • $25/month could fund programmatic expenses for one annual event
    • $500 annually could fund break housing in our year-round residence hall for one student
    • $2,500 annually would fund one students scholarship for the year

    One-time, recurring, or BSU employee direct-withdraw gifts can be processed through our Ball State Foundation accounts. See directions below! 

    Please reach out if you would like to discuss any desired philanthropic contributions including Legacy gifts and named scholarships. Together we are promoting equity and removing barriers to access for young people exiting foster care in Indiana.

    To give online:

    • Visit Ball State’s secure online giving form
    • Click the drop down, and select the fund "Other"
    • Type in the "enter other designation" box: "8006" – Guardian Scholars Program Fund; or "3051" for donations to the Guardian Scholars Achievement Scholarship
    • Select the amount of your gift

    If you are a Ball State employee who would like to set up payroll deduction contributions to the Guardian Scholars:

    • Download this Payroll Deduction Form
    • Check the "Other" box and indicate Guardian Scholars Program Fund "8006" or Guardian Scholars Achievement Scholarship "3051" in the box.
    • Define the parameters of your payroll deduction by completing the rest of the form. 
    • Return your form to Lana Wright at lanawright@bsu.edu or Terry Snyder at tlsnyder@bsu.edu


    If you have questions or other ideas of ways to support our program we would love to hear from you!  

    Please contact Bria Zolman at gscholars@bsu.edu or 765-285-5538 to begin that conversation today.