Foster youth in California will now be able to attend college free of charge thanks to new legislation. The legislation, SB 307, which was introduced by Senators Angelique V. Ashby and Mike, McGuire was signed into the state budget on July 10.
The new Fostering Futures program will cover the total cost for foster youth to attend a University of California, California State University, or California community college.
Ninety-three percent of foster youth in California want to attend college, but only 4% will attend and graduate with a degree by the age of 26, according to the program. In addition, foster youth are more directly impacted by significant increases in the cost of living compared to other youth, which further affects their ability to attend college.
“SB 307 serves to both increase the likelihood that foster youth can reach their educational goals and also better prepare them to enter the next stage of their lives, whether that involves pursuing an advanced degree or entering directly into their chosen career path, by providing the opportunity to begin their next chapter debt-free from higher education,” according to the Fostering Futures Fact Sheet.
The Fostering Futures program expands the existing Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS) program. In addition to tuition costs, it will cover other expenses needed to attend college, including books, food, and lodging for foster youth.
Officials say the program helps foster youth achieve their educational goals while better preparing them to enter the next stage of their lives, whether that means pursuing an advanced degree or entering directly into their chosen career path without the burden of student debt.