HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar selects students motivated to achieve academically who could use additional support and direction to meet their goals. Eligible students must have a B/C average, demonstrate a commitment to their education and be economically disadvantaged. Students are nominated by guidance counselors and teachers in the ninth grade and selected by a rigorous process that includes an application, recommendations and an interview with students and families. Many students are the first in their family to attend college. Students participate in the program from sophomore year through college graduation.
Students enrolled in Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar attend Saratoga Springs High School. Two Academic Coordinators from the high school Guidance Department oversee the enrollment and application process. Tutors at homework sessions are classroom teachers from each major subject area or members of the community who are experts in their field. Sponsor-A-Scholar also encourages and provides funding for Advanced Placement (AP) courses and PSAT/SAT training.
Sponsors and Donors
To pay for the participation of the students in our program, SSAS enlists a combination of individual, foundation or corporate sponsors each year. Sponsorship of a single student in the program is $10,000, $4,000 of which provides academic tutoring and college preparatory work during high school. SSAS provides students with annual cash stipends of $1,500 for every successful year of college they complete. Some individuals sponsor multiple students while others team up to co-sponsor a single student. Donors may make a financial contribution in any amount.
Each scholar is matched with a volunteer adult mentor when they begin the program. Prerequisites for becoming a mentor include a college degree, making a commitment to meet at least once a month for three years of high school and the first year of college. Mentors serve as an adult role model and also help students identify college resources. The mentor/student relationship serves as a valuable source of support to scholars seeking a seasoned perspective and an active listener.
The mission of the Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar program is to increase access to higher educational programs by offering support in the form of time, mentors and money. The direct beneficiaries of the program include students and their families. However, our hope is also that the community at large will also benefit from Sponsor-A-Scholar students returning with college degrees to work and improve the overall culture of our community.