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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Just $24.95 for 1 year subscription per parent (unlimited access to courses for one year).

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Course Discussion's picture

mikenjulieclark... said:

start early give them every possible recourse available
Vlnelson's picture

Vlnelson said:

Continue to be family to all those that age out of my home.
deborahdevlin's picture

deborahdevlin said:

How can you help foster youth find and obtain resources to support their educational needs? I can frequently research and review resources with my own youth as they develop a plan for college and career. But also, just being aware in the broader sense that there are young people trying to navigate the complicated higher-ed or vocational systems may give rise to situations in which I can provide assistance, guidance, or encouragement to youth who are not in my care. Just knowing that there is an interested adult can make a big difference for a youth who may be feeling overwhelmed and underprepared for college or vocational training. If that interested adult is able to connect the youth with resources, it increases the chances for success in life.
billdevlin's picture

billdevlin said:

Navigating higher education can be a challenge. Students in foster care often come at a disadvantage and need strong support systems.
Cindy Reed's picture

Cindy Reed said:

Course was great


teach them that they will need education to do anything get help from teachers parents library boys and girls club helps out a lot for me
MZBIBBS's picture


I agree with the other post about starting early. And trying to be there for them as the they are trying to figure things out .
Truth and Love's picture

Truth and Love said:

I think trade schools don’t get enough credit. But I also think college can be tackled one course at a time. It might take longer but it’s doable.
JW's picture

JW said:

Start early!Love the transition toolkit!!!
CourtneyBrown's picture

CourtneyBrown said:

Considering a trade school could be a great option for some foster kids!