Fostering Forward Programs -NextUp & Phoenix Scholars Fostering Forward Programs -
NextUp & Phoenix Scholars



Columbia College recognizes that students who have been, or are in, the foster care system often face significant challenges compared to those who have been raised in more traditional environments. In order to support current or former foster youth to overcome these challenges and reach their educational goal Columbia College offers a variety of support services for current and former foster youth.

The following pertinent student support programs also partners with a number of local and regional public, private and tribal agencies that serve those who have been in the foster care system.  As student needs are identified, students are referred to on and off campus sources of support as necessary.


Who are NextUp students?

The NextUp Program, also known as CAFYES (Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support), is designed to serve current and/or former foster youth via the EOPS Program at Columbia College.The Goal of the NextUp Program is to assist current and/or former foster youth with achieving their educational goals. 

What are the NextUp Eligibility Requirements?

  • Must reside and in California.  (AB 540/CA DREAMers may apply)
  • Verified foster care placement on or after 13th birthday in any State.
  • Be under the age of 26 at the Beginning of the Academic Year (Fall & Spring) or previously enrolled in NextUP, including other Community College Campuses. 
  • Former NextUp students, who enrolled in the program prior to turning 26 are allowed to continue participating in the program beyond the age of 26.
  • Be enrolled in at least one unit bearing course with a goal of working towards 9 or more units per semester. 

Phoenix Scholars

Who are Phoenix Scholars' Students?

  • Similar to and including NextUp students but without the age and documented formal connection with the Foster Care system. 
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units of first term while progressing towards 9 to12 units in future terms. 
  • Does not have to be a US citizen but must reside in California.
  • Anyone who has had experience with any of the following: Foster Parents, Resource Families, Guardianship, group home, detention center, independent living, homeless living with family members or with friends, etc....

What are the Phoenix Scholars' Eligibility Requirements?

  • Anyone who has been involved with the Foster Care System informally/self disclosed or formally/court ordered at any age is welcome to be a Phoenix Scholar! 

Menu - Individualized Support Options 

  • Columbia College Application Help
  • EOPS Application Help
  • Financial Aid Application Support
  • Academic, Personal, and Career Counseling
  • Priority Registration
  • Bookstore, Food, and Transportation "Step-Up" vouchers per funding guidelines
  • Basic Needs Emergency Grant Application Help
  • Peer Mentoring
  • Technology Support
  • And so much more! 

Student Gatherings and Events

  • NextUp and/or Phoenix Scholar participants are encouraged to attend monthly "Overcome" gatherings that build connections and create community. 
  • In addition, annual "off campus" field trips are planned based on participant interests. 
  • Special Graduation Day Celebrations.
  • SMASH events for new and rising Columbia College Students.

Steps to Engage!

  1. Call 209-588-5075 and leave a message or email Tiffeny Flies to arrange a time to chat about what program you best qualify for, and start engaging! Get individualized support in person, on or off campus, or via Zoom as most convenient for you with any of the following additional steps: 
  2. Complete a Columbia College Application
  3. Complete an EOPS Application
  4. Complete Financial Aid Applications - FAFSA, CADAA, CHAFEE, Columbia College Promise for graduating high school seniors, and Columbia College Scholarships. 
  5. Book an appointment with an Academic Counselor.
  6. Register for classes
  7. Explore other Support Services on Campus that you may need: Technology, Housing, Food, Tutoring, DSPS, etc...

Disclaimer: All costs for the Phoenix Scholar's programming are provided by Columbia College's income streams and may look different then NextUp funding which has specific funding criteria via the California Community College Chancelor office and NextUp regulations. 


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