Why College?

Going to college can completely change the life trajectory for a foster youth.

College means better life outcomes.
Far too many foster youth end up living in poverty, unemployed, involved with the criminal justice system and homeless. But when foster youth go to college, they are more likely to:

  • achieve financial security,
  • have stability,
  • live a healthier life, and
  • be more engaged in their communities.

College promises a career, not just a job.
Today, having a high school diploma is just not enough. The fastest growing job sectors right now all require some college, so education matters now more than ever.

  • People in California who graduate with a bachelor’s degree go on to earn $1 million more throughout their lifetime than people who only have a high school diploma.
  • Students who earn a California community college degree or certificate nearly double their earnings within three years.

College expands horizons.
College can introduce foster youth to a whole world of options that they may have never thought about.

  • In college, foster youth can also participate in non-academic activities like school clubs, sports teams and student government and meet new people.
  • College can also help foster youth become leaders and draw on their life experience to find rewarding careers.

College affords opportunity for continued care and support.
One of the options to qualify for Extended Foster Care until age 21 is attending college. By choosing to stay in foster care and attend college, students will have both the opportunity and support to succeed.

  • Funding can be used to live in a college dorm or rent an apartment.
  • There are also special scholarships, grants and campus support programs especially for foster youth scholars.

Encourage Foster Youth to Think About their Future
Foster youth need encouragement and support, so it’s important to talk with them about their college and career goals early and often. Don’t wait until a youth’s senior year to begin the discussion. Instilling a vision of going to college can start at any age and concrete planning can begin as early as middle school. Support foster youth to participate in opportunities to visit campuses and attend local College Information Days either through their high school or the Independent Living Skills Program.  These websites and resources can help you start the discussion.