Strengthening Policies for Foster Youth Postsecondary Attainment.
Sarubbi, Molly. Parker, Emily. Sponsler, Brian A.
Education Commission of the States.
Public Policy Report
Published: October 2016
This policy report provides an overview of the challenges youth who are in foster care, have been adopted, or have aged out of the foster care system confront when pursuing a postsecondary credential, including those barriers caused – often unintentionally – by public policies. Specifically, the report focuses on the treatment of these youth by state financial aid programs and offers potential remedies that State policy leaders may pursue as part of holistic efforts to support reducing inequities for this population and promoting their collective upward social mobility. It begins by reporting that of the 415,000 children in foster care, only 46% will earn a high school diploma and less than 3% will obtain a bachelor’s degree, 28 State have enacted tuition assistance programs for foster youth or former foster youth seeking a postsecondary degree, and 41States have adopted federal recommendations to extend foster care eligibility beyond 18 years old, helping to bridge the high school to college transition. It then reviews State policies on financial aid for foster children who are reunified with their families, legally adopted, or in long-term care. Policy confusion that deters educational success is discussed, and promising State programs are highlighted. The following section reviews federal policy levers and presents recommendations for State policymakers. Recommendations include: States should consider ling for reimbursement provided by the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) and promoting training vouchers (ETV) for foster youth; States could consider expanding foster care age eligibility; States should consider the creation or enhancement of tuition waiver programs; and States should consider increasing outreach initiatives to raise awareness of support programs for foster youth. 32 references. (Author abstract modified)
foster adolescents; postsecondary education; state federal aid; academic achievement; financial assistance; guidelines; state laws; policy formation