Credit hours:

Course Summary

Youth in foster care need supportive adults, mentors, and other higher education advocates to help them realize educational goals and pursuits. The majority of youth in/from foster care want to attend college. However, the rates of actual enrollment and completion don't match desire. 85 percent of foster youth aspire to attend college, but only 40 percent graduate from high school; only 20 percent actually enroll in higher education; and less than 4 percent graduate with a college degree. Moreover, research shows foster youth are more likely to graduate from a postsecondary program if they are better prepared academically, have independent living stability, AND are given tangible, hard/soft supports. This 2-part online course teaches current and prospective foster parents how to identify and overcome challenges/barriers to post-secondary education; how to encourage and support a young person’s pursuit of higher education; ways to help foster youth successfully navigate college admissions and financial aid processes; and finally, how to find and obtain resources to ensure college/academic success.

In this course, you can expect to learn:

  • Available supports to ensure foster youth go from matriculation (college admission) to graduation  

  • About specific and general educational resources available to foster youth 

  • How to help foster youth transition into life after foster care

Step 1 (15 min)

Watch this TEDx Talk by Robert Duke, Administrator at Azusa Pacific College to see how higher education can become a reality for more foster youth.

Step 2 (5 min)

Read the story of Elexus to better understand the potential struggles foster youth face while attending college, and how to overcome them.

Step 3 (10 min)

Read how Casey Family Programs’ “Fostering College Success Mentoring Program,” a public-private collaboration is not only increasing higher education access for New York’s foster youth, but ensuring academic success as well.

Step 4 (10 min)

Read/watch how programs like Great Expectations in Virginia are helping foster youth attend and succeed in college.

Step 5 (10 min)

View a collection of higher education resources, state-by-state, on

Step 6 (5 min)

Check out some of the  tuition waiver programs (Download PDF from ECS), the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program, and the Guardian Scholars Foundation.

Step 7 (10 min)

Review FosterClub’s Transition Toolkit “Education” section. Foster parents use this invaluable tool to help foster youth develop a comprehensive transition plan with a team of supportive adults.

Step 8 (10 min)

Join the Discussion in the comments below to answer the following question:


How can you help foster youth find and obtain resources to support their educational needs?

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Course Discussion

Christine Spayd's picture

Christine Spayd said:

Great information and a very useful guide.
Katchick's picture

Katchick said:

provide lots of info an support!!!
vw329's picture

vw329 said:

Carefully research their options for their future with them - college - 4 year, 2 year, technical school, various certifications, or the kinds of jobs that they can get straight after high school. Go through the pros and cons of each choice so they are fully informed. You may have to do the research for them to get them started and then present the options that are available to them so they can choose their next step based on an informed decision. Have several people talk to the young person about their options, the more people that educate them in different ways, may help get through to the child in a way they can understand. Do not rush them to make a decision, many biological children take gap years due to lack of a clear path so do not further stress them out. You will support whatever decision they choose.
Parker2020's picture

Parker2020 said:

Provide information and support
Parker2020's picture

Parker2020 said:

Provide information and support
Parker2020's picture

Parker2020 said:

Provide information and support
manningfamily.alexis's picture

manningfamily.alexis said:

Most children in care are afraid to ask for help, so we should always have information pre avaliable to them.
lanne's picture

lanne said:

Give them lots of information, take them on college visits, follow up on applications, help them complete applications. Most importantly, help them realize that they can go to college, and that they can succeed in college!
kateem02's picture

kateem02 said:

I can take a mentorship /coach role in helping youth find educational resources.
G.Brown's picture

G.Brown said:

By helping them find the resources and supporting them.