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Pepperdine University

Horizon Scholars Program

Contact Us

Horizon Scholars

Pepperdine University
Deborah Armstrong, Director

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263



Supporting Current and Former Foster Youth Students

Program Overview

The Pepperdine Horizon Scholars Program supports current and former foster youth students at all five Pepperdine schools in fulfilling their goals and dreams in higher education. Our dedicated professionals offer services that encourage students to become self-supporting, successful professionals, conscious community leaders, and role models for other young people.

Why Support Horizon Scholars Program?

Horizon Scholars Program is aligned with Pepperdine's mission and provides a safe space for current and former foster youth students of all ages to share their stories and support one another. Through our program, we aim to foster self-reliance, social responsibility, and a sense of community while providing strategies for resilience and emotional healing to ensure our students leave Pepperdine not only with a degree but also with a newfound wellness through spiritual awareness. 



Make an Impact

"Freely ye received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8)

The Pepperdine Horizon Scholars Program is pivotal in supporting and empowering our students who have experienced foster care. Your contribution creates a nurturing environment where these students feel valued, empowered, and equipped to overcome obstacles. Even a small donation directly impacts their lives, providing scholarships, emergency funds, and essential resources for their academic success and well-being. Join us in transforming lives and making a lasting difference at Pepperdine University.



Program Eligibility

All foster youth are welcome. All qualifications will be reviewed by the program director. Further details will be explained to individual students after they are approved for the program. 

  Required Qualifications / Documentation

Legal documentation from the court system or state foster agency will be required for acceptance into the program. Such documentation must contain the student’s name, birthdate, date when placed in the state foster care system, and end date of foster care. Additional requirements must be met upon acceptance to the program.

  Tier Placement

Based on the facts presented in the student’s documents, a student will be placed in either Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Tier 1: Students who were in the state foster care system at high school graduation or after will receive support services and may receive loan forgiveness.

Tier 2: Students who were in the state foster care system for any given amount of time but did not age out of the system will receive support services.


Financial Aid and Admission



Student Life and Benefits

Student Services

horizon students with university president Jim Gash

The recipe for an effective and valuable educational experience includes resources essential to student success. Each school offers a variety of services, including disabled student and veteran services, financial aid, housing, and health insurance, to help provide such an experience.

Wellness and Health

student and medical professional looking at papers

At Pepperdine, students are our priority. We strive for your academic success and overall well-being. To help ensure your success, the University provides you with access to comprehensive wellness resources to maintain your mental health and wellness journey. 



Student and Alumni Resources

Community Programs

students walking on campus

Through strategic community partnerships, we aim to offer students service opportunities that align with your passions and goals, including education, mentoring, leadership, and more. Our goal is to empower students to make a meaningful impact and contributing to the greater community.

Alumni Affairs

students sitting outside and talking

No matter the distance or years since graduation, Pepperdine remains your second family and home away from home. Our goal is to strengthen the bond between Pepperdine and our alumni, offering enhanced benefits and services. We invite you to fully engage and enjoy all that is available to you.



Horizon News and Stories

Since 2013, we have achieved a 100% academic completion rate while assisting over 40 Horizons with scholarship funds.

Deborah Armstrong, Horizons Scholar Program Director

Pepperdine Community Supports Foster Students on Giving Tuesday

"Our mission is to empower our foster students to share, learn, and grow together. Through our partnership with RISE, we bridge past and present challenges, nurturing their spirits, souls, and bodies to foster successful graduation."

—Deborah Armstrong, Horizons Scholar Program Director

Josh Elizondo, former Horizons Scholar student

Pepperdine University's Joshua Elizondo Named 2022 Fostermorey Scholar of the Year

“If I’m winning, you’re winning, and we all need to be winning together. What really drives me is making that difference and knowing that if one life is changed, the world is a better place, and I contributed to that.”

—Joshua Elizondo, current Horizons Scholar Student

Nadine Tapia, former Horizons Scholar student

Building a Legacy to Last a Lifetime: Alumna Nadine Tapia Shares Her Experiences in the BSM and MBAJ Programs

"Never let adversity stop you from overcoming and growing. Take advantage of the golden opportunity of being a student; participate, engage, network, attend events, and give back to your community."

—Nadine Tapia, former Horizons Scholar Student