Masters Thesis

Foster youth in higher education

This qualitative research study sought understanding about how former foster youth overcame the odds and completed their educational goals in higher education. More specifically, what personal characteristics and support services assist former foster youth into and through college? Four years ago I was selected to attend the first Former Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) conference in California. The conference was held in an effort to connect 109 California Community Colleges to assist foster youth through the doors of college. What I was able to take away from the conference was that less than 3% of former foster youth graduate from college. After the conference, I was inundated with thoughts, questions, and concerns of my own as to why this population does not finish college. I chose a sample of college graduates because I want to know how this atypical group of former foster youth overcame unbelievable odds to finish college. This study utilized an electronic survey sent nationwide. The purpose of the survey is to ascertain the characteristics of former foster youth who have been successful in higher education and the supports that helped to promote that success in order to increase the understanding of barriers former foster youth face in higher education and the kinds of support that assist them in successfully completing a degree.