Become a Scholar.

Our programs and services are provided to our PSS Scholars. To become a PSS Scholar, please review our eligibility criteria and the steps below. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us through our website, at, or call (949) 478-1914.

The deadline to apply for our spring semester cohort is December 1, 2021. Please note that space is limited and not all who apply will be accepted.


Eligibility Criteria

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Project Self-Sufficiency Scholar! Please review the eligibility criteria before applying.


Very low or extremely low income according to HUD income limits for household size.
Click here to see if your income level qualifies.


Single parent of a minor child. Not living with a romantic partner, significant other, or parent of the child, even if separated or divorced.


Have at least 50% physical and legal custody of at least one minor child under the age of 18.


Have not completed a bachelor’s degree before.


Enrolled in an accredited community college, four-year university, or vocational program AND have completed at least one semester (or equivalent)


Have a 3.0 or higher GPA 


Have a source of income (employment, cash aid, etc)


Live, work, or attend college in Orange County, CA

  • Meet the minimum enrollment requirements:
    • Not employed, or working under 10 hours per week: 12-semester units (or equivalent)
    • Employed 10-20 hours per week: 9-semester units (or equivalent)
    • Employed 21 or more hours per week: 6-semester units (or equivalent)
    • Exceptions: Applicants may submit documentation that explains why they may be enrolled below minimum enrollment requirements.

Note: Meeting minimum eligibility requirements is not a guarantee of admission. Please contact us with any questions regarding eligibility.

How to Apply

Part 1: Complete online application (approx. 15 minutes to complete) 

Part 2: Attach supporting documentation to your online application:

Unofficial transcripts from the past two years that show your grades and current class schedule.

Personal essay (500 words max)
Please describe your educational and career goals and plan for accomplishing them.  Note any obstacles you have overcome.

Two letters of recommendation from an employer, former employer, educator, counselor, agency representative, case manager, or equivalent.  

Verification of all income sources, including pay stubs, cash aid, financial aid, child support, etc.

Monthly household budget, including sources of income and expenses. Download a budget template here or create your own.

Note: Applications without supporting documentations are considered incomplete and will not be processed until all documentation is received.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the expectations of a PSS Scholar?

To remain in the PSS program, you must maintain a 3.0 GPA and continue to meet all eligibility requirements. You must meet with a case manager at least once per semester and attend all PSS events (approximately 2 workshops per semester). 

What kind of services do you offer?

We offer a suite of customized, comprehensive support services exclusively for PSS Scholars who are enrolled in our program, including scholarships, rental assistance, auto repair, childcare assistance, textbook assistance, and more. Visit our programs and services page to learn more by clicking here. PSS is a supplemental program and is not intended as a primary resource. We expect scholars to maintain a source of income, such as employment, cash aid, work study, etc.

How long can I stay in the program?

PSS Scholars can remain in the program until 6 months following their graduation with their bachelor’s degree, or up to 5 years, whichever comes first. Scholars must continue to meet all eligibility criteria in order to stay in the program.

How do I apply to be a PSS Scholar?

Please review our eligibility criteria above to see if you qualify to become a PSS Scholar. If you meet our eligibility criteria, you can apply online here. Please contact us if you are having trouble with our online application.

I'm not enrolled in college or just started my first semester. Can I still apply?

No. We do not accept applicants until they have completed at least one semester with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

What if my GPA is below a 3.0?

We encourage you to apply if your cumulative OR most recent semester GPA is around a 3.0 or higher.  We are more interested in your most recent academic performance than your academic history from several years ago.  For tips on how to raise your GPA, consult your academic counselor at your college.

I'm in a master's or credential program. Can you help?

Not at this time.  Our program currently supports higher education up through the bachelor’s degree level.  We encourage you to research scholarship opportunities and/or contact your college for resources and assistance.

Does a vocational program qualify?

Possibly.  We accept clients in accredited vocational/trade programs on a case by case basis, provided applicants meet all other admission criteria.  Please contact us for more information.

I don't think I qualify for this program. What other resources are there?

Visit community resources listed below.

Community Resources

Project Self-Sufficiency

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit

Tax ID #33-0597719

307 Placentia Ave, Suite 203 Newport Beach, CA 92663

Located inside the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living