A Community Memo: Target Populations


Office of Programs

October 5, 2020

Dear all,

Our programs aim to support students within four target populations (high-achieving, at-promise, identity-specific, and low-income students) from the Stanislaus County region of the Central Valley. Though our programs are open to all Stanislaus County students, inquiries by students in our target groups will be prioritized.

As of September 20, 2020, Valley Scholars College Initiative has reformed and expanded its target populations to include the following student populations:

High-Achieving: We consider students to be “high-achieving” if they are ranked within the top 5% of their graduating class.

Low-Income: We consider students to be “low-income” if they are eligible to receive a Pell Grant or free and reduced lunch.

At-Promise: We consider a student to be “at-promise”* if they have either officially or unofficially been considered to have a higher probability of failing academically or dropping out of school—including, but not limited to, students who face circumstances that could jeopardize their ability to complete school (ie. homelessness, incarceration, teenage pregnancy, serious health issues, domestic violence, transiency, learning disabilities, low test scores, disciplinary problems, grade retentions). 

* Note that we have moved to replace the term “at-risk” students to “at-promise” to adhere to AB-413.


  • Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC): We use this term to include all people of color while intentionally acknowledging that not all people of color face the same levels of injustice. By specifically naming Black and Indigenous people we are recognizing that Black and Indigenous people face the worst consequences of systemic white supremacy, classism, and settler colonialism.

  • Womxn: We use this term to not only explicitly include cis women, but also to show the inclusion of trans, nonbinary, womxn of color, womxn with disabilities, and all other marginalized genders.

  • LGBTQ+: We use this term, with the inclusion of the “+”, to account for all non-cis and/or non-heterosexual identities a student may select to identify with.

  • First-Generation: We consider a student to be “first-generation” if they may lack the critical cultural capital necessary for college success because their parents did not attend college.

  • Undocumented: We consider a student to be “undocumented” if they are residing in the United States without legal documentation. This includes those that are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

  • Non-Native English Speakers: We consider a student to be “non-native English speaker” if they are enrolled in either dual-language courses, English as a second language (ESL) programs, or a program adjacent to an ESL program.

  • Refugee: We consider a student to be “refugee” if they have been forced to flee their origin country because of violence or persecution.


Julián Aguilar


Lauren Machado

Vice President, Programs