Keeping Them in College Chris Klefeker, Foster Care Liaison; Harrison Thompson, Student Miami University-Hamilton
Sobering Statistics 67% of foster care alumni who enter college drop out before graduation Less than 2% of former foster youth complete a bachelor's degree, compared with 24% of the general population
Factors that Undermine College Retention Lack of college readiness Lack of family support Lack knowledge of available resources Family issues (e.g. single parent, trying to support bio-parent or siblings) Housing challenges (e.g. holidays, summer break)
Facilitating Campus Support To ensure student success, it is necessary to provide financial, academic, and emotional/social support. A full-time designated point person is vital for the success of foster youth at the university. Whether or not the university is able to provide a comprehensive scholarship for students aging out of foster care, financial advising is essential. *Research Brief: Building a Campus Support Network For Students Emerging from Foster Care, Education Advisory Board, Washington DC, June 10, 2009
Zero Budget Model All three campuses of Miami University, along with the new VOA site, have named Ohio Reach Liaisons. Each liaison is linked with a different student support office: advising, learning assistance, transition/retention. The state does not provide financial assistance.
Why Campus Liaisons?? Why are Campus Liaisons a vital part of the Ohio Reach initiative to increase the number of foster care youth who enroll in higher education? Because “youth from care need a caring trusted staff person who has primary responsibility to identify them and consistently provide guidance in navigating higher education.” *Appendix B: Supporting Success: Improving Higher Education Outcomes for Youth from Foster Care, which 2010 Ohio Reach Summit participants will receive in hard-copy form.
Campus Liaison Qualifications Familiarity with the needs of foster youth Willingness and ability to advocate for support throughout the university community Knowledge of available resources available within the university and ability to network effectively Listening skills and availability to interact with students *Research Brief: Building a Campus Support Network For Students Emerging from Foster Care, Education Advisory Board, Washington DC, June 10, 2009
Campus Liaison Responsibilities Post Ohio Reach Symbol in your office and add your Foster Care Liaison title to your business cards Work with child welfare partners to recruit foster youth to apply to the program and identify college students with foster care backgrounds Provide support and assisting students on a day-to-day basis Train campus staff about issues challenging foster youth on campus and over school breaks and vacations. *Research Brief: Building a Campus Support Network For Students Emerging from Foster Care, Education Advisory Board, Washington DC, June 10, 2009
Campus Connections Supporting success for foster care youth in higher education requires working collaboratively within the university structure: Registrar Financial Aid Housing Academic Advising Counseling Center Learning Center *Research Brief: Building a Campus Support Network For Students Emerging from Foster Care, Education Advisory Board, Washington DC, June 10, 2009
Keys to Campus Survival Housing during breaks Transportation Support systems
Identifying College Students from Foster Care FAFSA data base queries (question #53) Work w/ your area independent living, child welfare/social workers, and agencies Brochures, posters, media spots Websites – both college, social services, and youth http://www.regionals.muohio.edu/fostercare/ Foster care status question on applications & “sign in” forms Outreach to area high school counselors Use of Ohio Reach Symbol in your office and your Foster Care Liaison title on your business cards Word of mouth – student/youth networks
Higher Ed and Child Welfareas Partners Identify potential and current students Raise awareness of community resources for ALL students (i.e. housing, medical, food, transportation, child care, etc.) Forge relationships with people who have a history with your student and are familiar with his or her situation
College Retention Better preparation - CW Connections on campus Choosing a college closer to home OCOG and Pell Grant Peer Support Networks – CW & H.Ed College Liaison – H.E. Paired with a mentor in the community - CW Connections amongst schools for smooth transfers or relocations
Evaluating Success Grades and GPA Courses taken On-Campus activities Transfers and reasons for doing so If dropped out, reasons for doing so Graduation Current status, whereabouts, activities – ideally at certain time intervals (e.g., 1,3, & 5 years)