Simon Scholars Program Expands Into Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Costa Mesa and Estancia High School Students to Benefit from $500,000 Annually in Scholarships
Costa Mesa and Estancia High School Students to Benefit from $500,000 Annually in Scholarships

The Simon Scholars Program, a unique program that gives high school students from difficult life and economic circumstances the skills, confidence and financial help to pursue college and become leaders in society, has announced its expansion into the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. Beginning in the 2014, 16 qualifying students from Costa Mesa and Estancia High Schools will have the opportunity to become a Simon Scholar.  The Simon Family Foundation has committed $500,000 per year to pay for the Simon Scholars Program expenses for eight students from each high school. The investment will sustain as long as the program continues.

                “The move into the Newport-Mesa Unified School District represents a significant milestone and another step in expanding our program,” said Ronald M. Simon, founder of the Simon Scholars Program.  “Because of the collaboration between our program leaders, Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Mensinger of Costa Mesa and representatives of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, we are able to bring scholarship funds and services to deserving students and families in our very own community.”

Understanding that it takes much more than money to change a life, Newport Beach entrepreneur Simon founded the Program in 2003 to change the lives of students who face the most challenging life and economic circumstances. Through the Simon Scholars Program, students are provided with practical life skills training, academic tools, leadership development, college readiness instruction, and funding assistance to succeed in college and life.

Last year, the Simon Scholars celebrated a “Decade of Success,” its 10-year milestone of guiding students from adversity to accomplishment.  Since originating, more than $23 million in scholarships have been invested and more than 700 students have entered and/or completed the program. The Program’s college graduation success ratio is outstanding. Of the students who enter a four year college, 90 percent will graduate; statistics which outpace the national average considering these students come from the most disadvantaged, troubling and challenging circumstances.

“When evaluating the Simon Scholars Program it just made logical sense to bring this into our school district,” said Mensinger. “Simon Scholars has deep roots in Orange County, and has proven its ability to create change in the lives of hundreds of students by arming them with the tools necessary for success in college and life. Now, its footprint will reach many more of our promising and ambitious high school students.”

Newport-Mesa, Latest School District to Join the Nationally Acclaimed Program

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District joins the growing list of high schools which offer the Program including: 15 high schools in Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Oceanside and San Marcos, Calif; Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Washington, D.C.. Scholarship recipients are selected during their sophomore year in high school and begin the Simon Scholars Program during the summer before their junior year. The Program extends through his or her college education, with each recipient receiving $30,000 in financial support and services, and includes providing students with laptops, SAT/ACT workshops, leadership training, coaching, college tours, retreats, and other outings.


Through hard work and determination, Ronald M. Simon achieved the American dream of business success, independence and self-sufficiency.  He then sought an effective way to give back to others who wanted to achieve that same dream.   The mission of the Simon Foundation for Education and Housing is to help empower deserving, hard-working and responsible citizens with the resources to achieve the American dream of independence and self-sufficiency through education and affordable housing.  SFEH is committed to achieving this by providing successful college education opportunities for students from difficult life and economic circumstances. The Simon Scholars Program was established in 2003 with the specific goal of giving disadvantaged but determined students the tools needed to prepare for and succeed in college and life.  To date the Foundation has awarded more than 700 scholarships valued in excess of $23 million. For additional information, visit www.simonscholars.org.


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