One of the most important factors influencing whether or not a child will be successful in school and ultimately go on to college is stability at home – and stability, let alone a consistent home, are frequently among the many things lacking in the lives of Michigan’s foster children.
The result is a shocking statistic: only roughly ten percent of young adults in foster care go on to college – and of them, only two to three percent graduate. Fortunately, several Michigan universities are doing something about the problem and there are also numerous scholarships available to help ensure that current and former foster children have a better chance to succeed in college and become productive adults.
The most extensive such effort – not only in Michigan, but most likely in the entire US – is Western Michigan University’s Seita Scholars program, which provides a full scholarship and extensive personal coaching to foster youth. At the time of this January 13, 2013 article, the program was serving 160 students from thirty-five counties across Michigan.
Michigan State, the University of Michigan, and Aquinas College have smaller-scale programs as well. In addition, the Michigan Department of Social Services has earmarked $600,000 for “independent living coaches” to assist several Michigan college students who have aged-out of foster care.
Are you about to age out of foster care, or are you a social service worker looking for options for wards of the court under your supervision who want to go to college? Here is a partial list of links to make searching a bit easier. Please email additional resources to Dawn Wolfe at dawnwolfe at the number fourteen ghz dot com for inclusion in later editions of this post.
Programs for foster youth at Michigan’s universities:
- Western Michigan University’s Seita Scholarship
- Michigan State University’s FAME program
- Michigan State University’s Scholarships for Youth in Foster Care
- Aquinas College Fostering Success Scholarship Initiative
- University of Michigan’s Blavin Scholars program
Other College Resources for Foster Youth:
- Fastweb list of Scholarships for Students Who Received FosterCare
- College Scholarships.org list of organizations that fund scholarships for foster kids
- Michigan’s Department of Human Services offers a web page with loads of applicable links including Tips for Foster Youth Completing the FAFSA (Federal application for financial aid)
Photo courtesy Tax Credits via flickr