There is no arguing that a college education is a tremendous asset to an individual. Attending college is one of the most beneficial investments a person can make on both a financial and personal level. Sadly, those who have aged out of foster care have the lowest college graduation rate of any demographic group in the country – just 3 percent will earn a college degree.
A recent study by researchers at University of the Pacific looked at the college experience for youth who have aged out of foster care. Researches followed seven foster kids over as they made their way through community college in California. The study is among the few to focus on the actual experience of foster youth in college. The study revealed three major challenges for these kids
- Poor computer skills
- Lack of outside financial support
- Confusion about how to transfer to a 4-year school
The study concluded that foster youth could benefit greatly from a structured support system.
“Informal programs are less likely to work since foster youth lack guidance and have learned to rely on structured institutional programs,” said study co-author Melinda Westland, a graduate student at University of the Pacific’s Gladys L. Benerd School of Education.
“Simply having a dedicated person whom foster youth can go to and ask questions — something many of these young people have never had — could really make a difference to their college success,” she added.
Here at Blavin Scholars, we couldn’t agree more. That’s why our program focuses on supporting and mentoring foster care youth throughout the college process. We help, support, guide and mentor them every step of the way to give them the greatest chance of making it all the way through. And, because college costs involve so much more than just tuition, we also provide ongoing financial support. Our program is built on a foundation of structured support; we are there to help them enroll at the beginning and we’re there when they stand up on that stage to receive their degree. With 25 graduates and an over 90% graduation rate from the University of Michigan, we are making a difference for foster care youth.