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Less than half of teenagers in foster care that want to enroll in college do so, only 3-10% graduate with a bachelor’s degree

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL) introduced the Fostering Success in Higher Education Act to improve college access, retention and completion rates for foster and homeless youth. Less than half of teenagers in foster care today that want to attend college will enroll, and only 3 to 10 percent obtain a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, homeless and foster youth are at a higher risk of physical and mental health effects from traumas, poor health care and other stressors that undermine college success. This legislation would substantially improve state capacity to support these students, helping them cover the costs of college and providing robust student health and mental services.  

“For many foster and homeless youth, a college degree can swing open doors to new experiences and opportunities,” said Senator Casey. “We need to set these students up for success with the necessary academic and financial support, as well as health and mental services they need. By investing in these students today, we are creating our country’s next generation of leaders.”

Frederick Douglass held that it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,” said Representative Davis. “The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act helps ensure that foster and homeless youth have the best chance in school, work, and life so that they can be the leaders they want to be.  This bill is needed now more than ever to help foster and homeless youth turn their dreams of being college graduates into reality.

The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act would invest $150 million a year in states, tribes and territories to establish or expand statewide initiatives to assist foster and homeless youth in enrolling in and graduating from college. Additionally, it would establish formula grants to states based on their share of foster and homeless youth. A majority of the funds would go towards developing Institutions of Excellence that serve students with robust support services and covering the cost of attendance beyond federal and state grant aid.

The legislation is endorsed by 114 national and state organizations.

Read more about the Fostering Success in Higher Education Act here.