By: Bonnie Sharpe On: August 10, 2020 In: News Item Comments: 0

Former Foster Youth Apply for College  


While youth in foster care aspire to attend college at the same rate as their non-foster peers, they may have a host of barriers their classmates will not have to face, including homelessness or housing instability, health or mental health issues, and encounters with the criminal justice system (Institute of Medicine & National Research Council, 2014). In fact, a 2011 study from the University of Chicago found that only 8% of former foster youth had earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree by the time they turned 26.

Today, these challenges are even more compounded by the COVID-19 health crisis. This pandemic has made transitioning to online classes challenging for many youth aging out of foster care. Most are finding that they do not have access to the necessary technology and available wi-fi, and others are struggling to find uninterrupted time to take courses in real time. But these challenges are not slowing down the rate of those applying for college and federal aid.

For the first time ever in California, youth in foster care have “outpaced fellow high school seniors in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — better known by its acronym, FAFSA — which determines eligibility for a host of federal grants and loans. This year, 64.5% of seniors in foster care completed the application, compared with 56.6% of all seniors,” according to The Imprint.

To combat low college rates among foster youth, Extraordinary Families’ UP4Youth program has taken steps to ensure our youth have guidance to successfully apply to and graduate from their college programs. We are matching youth with adult mentors who can help with the college application process and tutoring, hosting workshops focused on completing financial aid and college applications and assisting with the purchase of books and other school materials.

Currently, Extraordinary Families’ UP4Youth program has 20 youth attending higher education programs, working towards associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, nursing programs and culinary certificates.

Here’s how you can help:



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