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New micro-scholarships in San Jose build bank accounts and mindsets for college []


By John Fensterwald, EdSource, April 16, 2021

Typically, many scholarships and accolades come at the end of the senior year to recognize outstanding performance of top students.

Imagine instead a series of “micro-scholarships” for a different purpose targeted toward students at low-income high schools. Spread out like bread crumbs over four years, they would build students’ confidence, their resumés and plans for the future, and would end at graduation with as much as $5,000 in the bank for those who have earned them.

That is the model behind SJ Aspires, a program that San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo envisioned and has piloted with the help of the city library, the San Jose Library Foundation and partners. On Thursday, Liccardo announced that Silicon Valley funders, including Apple and Adobe, have donated more than $6 million, including $2 million to expand the program beyond the 700-plus students from two high schools and a smaller alternative high school, Opportunity Youth Academy, that now benefit from it.

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