Student-First & Career-Driven

Students in the Rising Stars Program are Overcoming Tremendous Odds.

  • 425

    Students Served/Year

  • 96%

    First-Generation College Student

  • 100%

    Low to Moderate Income

  • 95%

    Identify as People of Color

  • 25%

    Are in Foster Care, Guardianships, or on Their Own

  • 21%

    Have Experienced Homelessness


The Rising Stars Program recognizes students with potential and understands the obstacles they must overcome. Investing in first-generation students in the nine county San Francisco Bay Area, Students Rising Above (SRA) provides a unique level of support that’s comprehensive, student-centric, and highly personal. We embrace students with character and drive, and back them with professional expertise and passion. Together we create a community of Rising Stars that are changing the future through college and careers.

Pre-College Readiness

Starting in their senior year of high school, each Rising Star student is matched with a professional Advisor, who provides holistic logistical and emotional support. SRA works with educators and students to navigate the college and financial aid application process, select the best-fit colleges; receive tutoring; negotiate optimal financial aid; and enroll.

College Commitment and Guidance

The SRA team stays in close contact with Rising Star students throughout college, helping them manage the academic challenges of college life, and overcome a variety of financial and personal obstacles. From our Advisors’ availability to answer any question within 24 hours to career mentors who help identify areas of interest, and guide students to career paths.


Whether an unexpected illness or new pair of glasses, any health issue can pose a crisis for our students. SRA ensures that 100% of our Rising Star students have comprehensive healthcare and dental coverage, and will assist with finding proper care if needed.

Financial Support & Literacy

Students learn from the outset that college is a business decision, practicing strategies like choosing the right college, maximizing financial aid and obtaining competitive scholarships. After leveraging all forms of financial aid, SRA provides direct financial assistance to Rising Star students by paying costs not covered by financial aid: real-world living expenses like a lamp for the dorm, clothes for an interview, monthly rent, bus fares, textbooks and other simple needs that other students often take for granted.

Comprehensive Career Development

Through our six-year career development curriculum, students are prepared to successfully transition into the workforce with a robust set of experiences and professional skills. Students attend targeted workshops, work with resume editors, and receive personalized career coaching. More than 250 SRA students participate in competitive internship programs each year, receiving valuable career experience.


Students Rising Above has become a model for helping first-generation students from low-income communities overcome the odds to securing careers. The SRA Hub is a first-of-its-kind online resource designed to share that experience with students and educators nationwide. Offering 24/7 access, the SRA Hub provides students comprehensive, up-to-date information, personal advisors to facilitate college and career opportunities, and a supportive online community of motivated peers.

24-hour access to professional advisors

Answering questions on everything from college admissions to interview prep to budget basics.

Easily accessible resources and tools

Including webinars, articles, blog posts, checklists, message boards, videos, and one-on-one advising.

Financial aid support and advocacy

Including financial aid award comparisons, scholarship application support, and general financial aid planning.

Career development advice and guidance

Helping students explore and prepare for a variety of careers through the SRA Hub’s Resume Builder, Cover Letter Builder, Career Resource Library, and interview coaching.

High school-to-college transition and navigation

For seamless college enrollment, positive transition to college life, and postsecondary success.

College-based student cohorts

Students stay connected throughout college and form supportive on-campus communities.

SRA Hub for Educators

Teachers, counselors, and nonprofit staff can implement high-quality college and career readiness tools through an SRA Hub curriculum designed especially for educators.

SRA Alumni Association

Students Rising Above Alumni Association seeks to inspire economic and social mobility by empowering the SRA community to access and excel in social, academic, and economic opportunities.

Programs and Services:

  • Career development support from Alumni Program Coordinator
  • Quarterly e-newsletters
  • Networking and social events
  • SRA Alumni Association LinkedIn

Pay it Forward:

  • Volunteer at workshops & events
  • Become a career mentor
  • Join the Alumni Association Leadership Committee
  • Contribute through donation