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Foster Youth Find Support at CSU Campuses to Transition to Adulthood and Professional Careers

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Clara Potes Fellow, (562) 951-4800

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(March 25, 2009) -- The California State University Board of Trustees today received a report about programs developed by CSU campuses to help former foster youth attend and graduate from college.

A number of campuses have adopted the term Guardian Scholars, to signal the presence of support for foster youth, while others identify such initiatives as Renaissance Scholars, EOP Foster Youth Program, CME Society, ACE Scholars, or Promise Scholars.

Many of the campus programs are modeled after the Guardian Scholars program at California State University Fullerton, which was launched in 1998 and was the first program in the nation to support the academic aspirations of college-ready former foster youth.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, an ex officio member of the CSU Board of Trustees, said that each year graduates of these CSU foster youth programs speak in Sacramento about the exceptional support they receive at the CSU. She commended the CSU for keeping campus housing open for 12 months to provide accommodations for former foster students who have no place to go during school breaks. Bass, an active proponent of improving California’s foster care system, recently coauthored AB12 to extend support for foster youth to the age of 21.

Currently there are approximately 493 former foster youth participating in programs at CSU campuses. Due to outreach efforts, this number grew significantly since 2006-07 when there were 200. They receive financial aid that covers campus and state university fees, books and supplies, transportation and living expenses.  In addition, CSU campus outreach staff help approximately 1,415 youth who are still in foster care and desire to attend college.

“CSU campuses are contributing to the successful transition to adulthood of California’s foster youth,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “Through direct contact and supportive communication channels, students are mentored during the application and admission process and get academic support during the college years so they persist until graduation.”

As a tribute to the commitment of CSU campuses to foster youth, the Stuart Foundation has awarded the CSU a $200,000 grant to establish the CSU Foster Youth in Higher Education Project. This is the first installment of a three-year $600,000 grant request to help students attend colleges and universities in California and Washington State. The ultimate goal of the grant is to ensure that former foster youth have college experiences and opportunities that mirror those of the general student population.

CSU campuses with foster youth programs include:

Cal State Fullerton
Cal State LA
San Francisco State University
Sacramento State
San Diego State University
Cal Poly Pomona
CSU East Bay
Fresno State
San Jose State
CSU Stanislaus
CSU San Marcos
CSU San Bernardino
CSU Bakersfield

See "Foster Students Find a Welcoming Environment at CSU Campuses" to learn more about CSU foster youth programs.



About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.