January 18, 2024 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation (SDF) announced today that it has opened its Common Scholarship Application, offering more than $4.5 million in scholarships to local college students. Students can apply for a scholarship at SDFoundation.org/scholarships.

The SDF Community Scholarship Program offers more than 150 scholarships to local students attending four-year universities, two-year colleges, or graduate or vocational schools. Scholarships are available for graduating high school students; undergraduates; those attending graduate, medical or professional school; and adult re-entry students.

“The increased cost of living in our region, along with complexities in the updated FAFSA, has made it more difficult for local students to determine how they will pay for college,” said Danielle Valenciano, Director of the SDF Community Scholarship Program. “Thanks to San Diego Foundation donors, we can aid historically under-resourced college students, foster equity of opportunity in San Diego and support the local talent pipeline that builds our region’s workforce.”

Seven new scholarships are available to students this year, including the Rainbow College Scholarship that is available to local students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc. (LGBTQ+). To apply for this scholarship, students should select the appropriate sexual orientation and/or gender identity on the Common Scholarship Application. Applicants’ demographic information is kept confidential and will only be used to determine scholarship eligibility.

The Common Scholarship Application requires students to include financial information via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Federal Student Aid Estimator in lieu of the FAFSA for this year only, or the California Dream Act Application for undocumented students.

To support local students with completing the FAFSA, SDF has partnered with California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) San Diego & Imperial Counties Consortium to host in-person and virtual “Cash for College” workshops throughout the region from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20. Additional in-person and virtual workshops will be held through Feb. 28. More information on “Cash for College” workshops can be found at CalSOAPSanDiego.org.

In 2023, San Diego Foundation announced the historic awarding of more than $4 million in college scholarships – the highest annual amount ever – to more than 1,000 local students for the 2023 – 2024 academic year. Among the 2023 – 2024 scholarship recipients, 70% are first-generation college students, or the first in their immediate families to pursue a higher education, and 92% of students are considered low-middle income, according to their Earned Family Contribution data.

The Community Scholarship Program is made possible through the generous donor support of 154 unique charitable funds at San Diego Foundation and is the largest in the region outside of the university system. Since 1997, the program has awarded more than $49 million to more than 13,000 college students from San Diego.

If you are interested in opening a scholarship fund to support students fueling our San Diego economy, please contact Danielle Valenciano, Director of the SDF Community Scholarship Program, at DanielleV@SDFoundation.org.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. Our Education Initiatives support K-12 and higher education programs to extend opportunity to San Diego students as they prepare for success in life and work. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted $1.7 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org. 


Lorena Nava Ruggero, lruggero@sdfoundation.org, 619-814-1365