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Foster Care to College: Online Resources
From national scholarships and state tuition waivers to housing assistance and on-campus programs, see where to find help getting to and through college as a former foster care youth.
Judi Alperin King
Judi Alperin King is the founder and director of The Wily Network. Wily Scholars are promising students who are experiencing life challenges such as homelessness or foster care, or whose parents may be deceased, dealing with addiction, mental health issues, or incarceration. The Wily Network provides a critical safety net for these Scholars as they navigate college on their own. The Wily program offers weekly clinical coaching, financial assistance, community-building support, and networking opportunities to help them move from surviving to thriving.
Foster youth face unique challenges, especially those who are aging out of the system and are considering what comes next. For many, the goal is higher education. But the opportunity is often tough to grab and keep hold of. Without the traditional family support most of their peers have, applying to schools, affording tuition, finding college housing, and getting academic help can be incredibly difficult.
These challenges are apparent when you look at college graduation statistics. Studies show that nationwide, only 3 to 11 percent of foster youth earn a bachelor’s degree compared to the national completion rate of about 33 percent. The good news is that there are many resources out there designed to help foster youths succeed in their pursuit of a college degree or vocational training. In this guide, we highlight and show where to find the best of these resources, from financial aid and housing assistance to on-campus support programs and foster alumni groups.
Scholarships, Tuition Assistance, and Other Financial Aid for Foster Youth
Foster youth face an uphill battle affording higher education. But numerous scholarships, grants, tuition assistance, and other financial aid programs are in place to help.