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Team Goal: Foster Youth to College! Martha Bayer, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Pam Holsinger Fuchs, UW-Stout Denny Roark, UW System.

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Presentation on theme: "Team Goal: Foster Youth to College! Martha Bayer, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Pam Holsinger Fuchs, UW-Stout Denny Roark, UW System."— Presentation transcript:

1 Team Goal: Foster Youth to College! Martha Bayer, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Pam Holsinger Fuchs, UW-Stout Denny Roark, UW System

2 More than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. Studies show that foster youth, especially those who “age out” without a permanent family, are much more likely to experience poverty, unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, and compromised health after they leave foster care. It is estimated that only 54% of these youth earn a high school diploma, and 2% earn a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Fifty-one percent experience chronic unemployment.

3 Wisconsin Foster Youth Approximately 8,000 youth in foster care Approximately 400 youth annually exit care (“age out”) at age 18 in Wisconsin (188 from Milwaukee County)

4 Foster Youth to College Advisory Group FYC created with the first (1999) publishing of Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Chapin Hall longitudinal study) 79% of youth indicated a desire to go to college months after aging out, only 55% had completed high school Only 9% had entered college

5 Our Mission: To address the postsecondary educational challenges faced by youth in foster care and encourage college readiness and enrollment.

6 National Statistics The rate at which foster youth attend college is 20% The rate at which their peers attend college is 60%

7 Wisconsin Youth Attending Postsecondary Education YearNumber of Youth Attending Postsecondary Education Number of Youth Receiving DCF Scholarship (projected) Source: Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

8 Barriers Youth often not aware of college opportunities Youth often lack sufficient practical knowledge and skills to successfully navigate the college application process Youth often perceive the cost of college as an insurmountable barrier Youth have a high incidence of homelessness after leaving care Frequent disruption of education by changes in school placement: Research suggests loss of an average of 4-6 months of educational attainment each time a student changes schools

9 Barriers Foster care is unfamiliar to most of those who staff America’s institutions of postsecondary education Lack of expectations and encouragement for college attendance by those responsible for the care and education of foster youth “ College is not something people talk to foster children about…they don’t grow up with that cultural expectation…they are not even expected to succeed academically…but once we start expecting them to succeed they will.” Former Foster Youth

10 The Positives Youth resiliency Desire for college education Foster youth have same aspirations and academic aptitude as their peers More state departments of child welfare are engaged with educational planning Colleges are more aware of the unique needs of foster youth Promising increases in youth accessing higher education in the last five years

11 DCF Scholarship Scholarship awards up to $5,000 for youth who have been in out-of-home care and are entering an accredited degree, license, or certificate program

12 DCF Scholarship Eligibility Youth who left a court ordered placement at age 18 or older Transitioned from a court ordered out-of-home placement to guardianship (Chapter 48 order) or adoption after age 16 Accepted by a postsecondary institution at the time scholarship application is submitted Be age 20 or younger, unless enrolled in a postsecondary program and receiving the DCF Scholarship on 21st birthday, extending eligibility to age 23 dcf.wisconsin.gov

13 ETV Funds Same eligibility guidelines as DCF Scholarship Access funding through local child welfare independent living program Educational plan must be included with request for funding Educational plan must include: What funding will be used for How the funding will assist What intended plans are after completing postsecondary program/degree Proof of admission to program Paid directly to the program student is requesting funding for

14 Independent Status for Financial Aid Purposes Youth who age-out of care are designated independent Students adopted on or after their 13th birthday are not required to include their parents’ income on the FAFSA to increase financial aid opportunities (Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act)

15 Financial Aid Federal Pell Grant ( maximum $5,730) Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) ($100-$4000) Wisconsin Grant (Minimum and maximum set annually; currently $250-$3000) DCF Scholarship ($5,000 maximum: subject to adjustment) (State)TIP Grant $600 to $1,800 for initial awards, $250 minimum continuing award, maximum continuing award set annually by HEAB (may not exceed $1,800)

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17 Housing Unlike the vast majority of traditional and nontraditional students, youth who age out of care have no where to go during semester breaks. Work with Housing/Residence Life to make housing available to these youth.

18 States with Tuition Waivers for Foster Youth

19 What YOU Can Do Know who the Foster Youth to College contact is on your campus Educate your colleagues (recruitment & admissions, financial aid, advisors, M/D coordinators, precollege staff, residence life, faculty, administrators, etc.) Connect with foster youth Assist with student and academic services and support Reach out and stay in touch Help resolve problems, issues, questions (don’t simply refer!) Help identify resources and opportunities for student engagement and to enhance the academic and social experience Congratulate on successes

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21 To recognize and promote talent and potential contributions of foster care youth by creating supportive educational opportunities to serve as a platform for future life success.

22 Established in 2011 Includes representatives from UWGB and St. Norbert Dedicated internal committee of individuals who have a passion for serving this population residential camp experience introducing foster students to college Annual Foster Parent Training Sessions Refocused in 2014 to provide more direct support to currently enrolled students and focus on the college experience for high school foster youth

23 Provide support to former foster youth currently enrolled at NWTC (Case Management) Develop relationships with external agencies Brown County Human Services Department-Foster Care Coordinator American Foundation of Counseling Services Brown County Independent Living Program High school counselors/social workers

24 Establish relationships with current students Form a cohort group Starfish Pre-college support to high school foster youth Year-long, non-residential camp experience; organize college experience days Tours Hands On Activities Admission Assistance Financial Aid Assistance Career Exploration

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27 Level Playing Field  Laptops with software  Textbook rental included in tuition  Dorms open during breaks at no additional costs  Pre-furnished residence rooms

28 What the Program has to Offer  Linen Closet  Provides sheets, towels, lamps, fans, etc. to fostering success students who likely came to campus without the financial support of a parent/guardian  Marriage and Family Therapy Counseling  Free unlimited mental health counseling  Emergency funds  Surplus Store  School Supplies  Toiletry Items

29 Advisory Board  UW-Stout Departments  Admissions Office  Advisement Center  Multicultural Student Services  ASPIRE  Financial Aid  Other faculty and staff  Outside Community Agencies  Positive Alternatives  Dunn County  Local School District  Menomonie Area Schools

30 MapWorks

31 Local Support  Kwik Trip  Aussie Laundry  Other local donors  Foundations Account  Logos for Supporters of the Program to put up at their place of business (see picture)

32 Host Families  See Handouts

33 Also Provided…  Quilts  Welcome baskets  Baked goods on birthdays  Finals care packages  Baby shower for expectant student

34  Monthly Student Meetings  Catch up over lunch with each of the students to find out what things are going well and where they might need support  Brown Bag Seminar  Inform students and other staff members about the program and how they can help support

35 “I thought it was going to be boring, but then I had the honor of sharing an educational experience with a great group.” July 31 st -August 1 st Six Attendees All high-school aged foster youth “When we all got together, I realized I wasn’t the only one with problems, and that I needed to change my attitude about my past.”

36 Middle and High School Seminar  One day events  6-8 grade foster students and 9-12 grade foster students  Interest inventories, admissions session, goal setting, ACT Prep, general college Prep

37 Media Coverage  Volume One Magazine  Published Thursday August 21 st, 2014  Eau Claire Leader Telegram  Published August 24 th, 2014  Queen of the Castle Magazine  Published November 2014 Fostering Success Brochure

38 Fostering Success Website  https://www.uwstout.edu/admissions/foster- youth.cfm  Includes important information regarding scholarships  Collaboration with Financial Aid Office  Other helpful information

39 Future Goals  Sustainability  More campus- wide involvement  Higher event attendance Lessons Learned  Photo Releases  Meal Plan Discussions  Disability Services discussions at middle and high school events  Confirming attendance  Communicate with outside agencies(i.e. losing points)  No ghost stories


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