Carmel Unified School District is geographically one of the largest school districts in California. At over 600 square miles, (roughly the size of Rhode Island), it encompasses Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley, extending into sparsely-populated areas of Big Sur and the small community of Cachagua. It is often overlooked that the district serves these remote areas with families of migrant farm workers.
There is a wide misperception that students at Carmel High School and Carmel Valley High School all come from affluent families and therefore do not need financial assistance to further their educational goals. The reality is that the cost of living in Carmel is three times the national average; 17% of CUSD students are enrolled in the Free/Reduced Lunch Program, and 15% of CUSD students are non-native English speakers. With the median rent price in Carmel being 74% higher than the national average, and the median home price 62% higher than the national average, many families with students in CUSD make a substantial living "on paper" but may struggle to provide even minimum educational opportunities for their children.
Meanwhile, college costs are rising dramatically. According to the College Boards Trends in College Pricing 2017 students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, with prices adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Thirty years later, that average has risen to $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. That's a 213 percent increase. The difference is stark at private schools as well. In 1988, the average tuition for a private non-profit four-year institution was $15,160, in 2017 dollars. For the 2017-2018 school year, it's $34,740, a 129 percent increase. It's therefore no surprise that burden of college debt in the U.S. now exceeds even that of credit cards and automobile loans.
Consequently, it is crucial that more resources be offered to CUSD students seeking to further their education. Carmel High School Foundation as an organization has two programs that aim to do this: the endowment for post-secondary scholarships, and the Ron Stoney Educational Pathways Program (which draws from both an endowment, donations, and grants), supporting experiences outside the high school classroom.