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ERIC Number: ED543361
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jul
Pages: 50
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 47
College Access, Financial Aid, and College Success for Undergraduates from Foster Care
Davis, Ryan J.
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NJ1)
In any given year, there are approximately 800,000 youth in the foster care system. These are young children and adolescents whose parents are deceased or who have been subjected to some form of neglect or abuse. They are considered "wards/dependents of the court" and placed in the foster care system, making them the legal custody of the state. About 300,000 of these youth are between the ages of 18 and 24, the traditional college-going years. What are the postsecondary education experiences of youth from foster care? Are they able to receive adequate amounts of financial aid and other services they need to succeed in higher education? This report examines the effects of placement in foster care on college access, financial aid, and college success for undergraduate students. Most traditional-age college attendees are able to receive guidance and support from their parents or legal guardians. Foster children do not have these advantages. Research on youth in foster care indicates that many of them face several problems that delay their ability to live independently once they become young adults--such as purchasing groceries and maintaining a bank account. Furthermore, many children in foster care experience physical and mental health issues, several changes in elementary and secondary schools, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and a number of other troubling issues that impedes their ability to gain access to higher education. As a result, studies reveal that only 10 percent of all traditionally college-aged youth from foster care enroll in some form of postsecondary education, even though nearly 70 percent have aspirations to do so. Prior research has estimated that approximately 100,000 college-aged foster care alumni are missing out on higher education opportunities. This report provides a comprehensive list of recommendations for government and institutional leaders to improve the rates at which foster care alumni access and succeed in higher education. These recommendations are a first step toward reversing the negative trends and barriers foster care alumni face when they attempt to access and succeed in higher education. (Contains 3 tables, 5 figures, and 3 footnotes.)
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. 1101 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-785-0453; Fax: 202-785-1487; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)