Seattle University Helps Foster Kids Gain a College Education
For the last 10 years, Seattle University’s Fostering Scholars scholarship program—one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country—has helped foster students attend university. Even more incredible, it has a retention rate of about 80 percent—about the same rate as all students at the school. That’s a remarkable number considering only half of all foster kids finish high school, only 10 percent go on to college and only 3 percent graduate.
A recent article in the Seattle Times took an in-depth look at this program, which was designed to identify students whose achievements and goals mirror the university’s and to help foster students achieve these goals by providing financial, academic and personal support. In the article, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, stated that he felt the university “has done a heck of a good job—I’m incredibly proud of their work.” He went on to say that he would like to see more universities and states emulate Seattle University’s work with foster kids.
The elements of the Fostering Scholars program are simple. Students who are selected for the scholarship don’t pay tuition, and they receive year-round housing on campus and a meal plan. In addition, two staff members serve as master problem-solvers for the students. Counseling is also part of the package. It’s not just about giving money to foster kids; it’s about helping them graduate and achieve their goals.
Many of the program’s graduates have gone on to work in social services and foster-care programs, offering insights into the system from their own life experiences. Paula Carvalho, the program’s first graduate, is a network coordinator for the Mockingbird Society, a Seattle nonprofit that works to improve foster care and end youth homelessness. Others have gone on to graduate school and more.
However, Fostering Scholars is a small program. In its 10 years, it has only accepted 60 students. Thirty have graduated and 20 students are currently enrolled. To expand the program, the university has started a campaign to raise $10 million.“If you just give a foster youth a fair chance, there’s no reason they can’t have unbelievable graduation rates and go on to be amazing, contributing citizens of the Seattle area,” Dalla Gasperina, program founder, said in a statement.
To learn more about how you can be a part of Seattle University as an MBA student in the Albers School of Business, visit the school website.