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Guiding Light

We aim to provide a pathway to a brighter future through innovative, transformative, support services, above and beyond the scope of the college and EOPS for current and alumni foster youth students attending Mt. San Jacinto Community College District. ​


  • Academic Advisement ​
  • Priority Registration ​
  • Personal Counseling and Guidance  ​
  • Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)​
  • And more!​


  • Increase student self-efficacy 
  • Increase student success and persistence ​ 
  • Increase student access to jobs in the community 
  • Improve student advocacy for self and community ​
  • Create community and nurture atmospheres of belonging for foster youth students ​
  • Center the voices of our foster youth students and acknowledge the intersectionality of their various identities
  • Educate the campus community (students, faculty, staff, administrators) on key legislation, resources, and experiences of foster youth students. ​



On December 22, 2022 Mt. San Jacinto College signed a commitment letter to become a NextUp Funded campus.  Guiding Light’s NextUp funded services will launch with the start of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Next up unstoppable

What is Next Up?

The NextUp program was established by Senate Bill 1023 (Liu) in 2014 and funded by the California State Legislature in the 2015-16 budget. It is a campus-based support program for current and former foster youth. The legal name given to the program is the Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Services Program (CAFYES), however, once operational, the program was rebranded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) as the NextUp program.

NextUp provides California community college students who have experienced the foster care system with resources that make a difference. The program offers eligible current and former foster youth support and services that could include help with books and supplies, transportation, tutoring, food and emergency housing.

What does this mean for Guiding Light?

  • Guiding Light’s eligibility will remain the same.
    • Guiding Light is open to anyone who has every been in the foster care system even if for one day, no matter their age today or when they were in-care.
  • NextUp allows Guiding Light to now have funding to support students in addition to what EOPS provides.
    • Students will, however, need to meet NextUp eligibility to receive the support and services funded by NextUp.
  • NextUp eligibility automatically qualifies students for EOPS.
  • NextUp funding allows Guiding Light to increase is counseling and outreach support

Who is eligible for NextUp?

  • Students who entered care on or after their 13th birthday or are currently in care.
  • Student who are under the age of 26 upon first entry into the program
  • Students who are enrolled at a MSJC in 9 units or have an educational plan showing progress to eventually be in 9 units.