Improving Access to College

From 2015-2016, Youth Fostering Change has been working to improve access to higher education for foster youth. Foster youth have a more difficult path towards higher education, and the youth advocates' goal was to make it easier for foster youth to prepare for, attend, and graduate from college. Less than 3% of former foster youth earn a college degree by age 25, but they should have an equal chance to pursue college and become more independent, stable young adults.

This year, Youth Fostering Change created a set of recommendations based on their own educational experiences and feedback from youth at Philadelphia's Achieving Independence Center and alumni of the Youth Fostering Change Program. The guidance document, Achieving Success: Guidance for Colleges to Better Support Foster Youth, highlights specific actions colleges nationwide can take to support foster youth and encourages colleges and universities to pledge to create tangible change on their campuses. The guidance also includes information about tuition waiver options for foster youth.

Implementing the youth advocates' recommendations will help more foster youth graduate, find jobs, be financially stable, and give back to their communities. Youth advocates met with representatives from Cabrini College, Community College of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, and the UPenn Field Center to discuss their recommendations for improving on-campus support for foster youth.