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The Source: How To Get Foster Youth Through College

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Nationwide, while 70% of foster youth say they want to go to college only 3% ever graduate from a post-secondary school.  

Last year, of the 1,300 kids that exited Texas foster care by "aging out," less than 700 graduated from high school or had a GED. And the numbers that actually go to college -- taking advantage of the state's tuition and fee waiver -- are miniscule.

According to the Child and Family Research Institute in 2012 the number of youth at the University of Texas, one of the largest universities in the state, less than 30 were foster alums using the waiver. 

Hearings took place last week focusing on this program with recommendations to improve educational outcomes for foster youth. From making sure kids who are bouncing from one placement to another stay in one school, to ensuring a youth has someone in their life keeping up and advocating for their education, the presentation by the Department of Children's and Family Services pointed to the lack of educational consistency and therefore preparedness as a major factor in why youth aren't taking advantage.

Guests:

  • Yolanda Valenzuela, vice-president of programs at Child Advocates San Antonio, an organization that pairs court-appointed volunteer advocates with youth in the foster care system.
  • Monica Faulkner, associate director for the Child and Family Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Kelvin Rector, foster alum and nontraditional student at the University of Texas San Antonio.

*This is the second segment in the September 11 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM. Audio from this segment will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive