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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 Cachagua.

There is a wide misconception 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. It is often overlooked that the district serves remote areas with families of migrant farm workers.

However, 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 it may be just enough to keep the roof over their heads. Middle class families struggle to maintain discretionary income.

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 and grants), supporting experiences outside the high school classroom.