Foster youth who gain admission to college frequently attempt to navigate the process alone and this leads to blunders, which cause discouragement, frustration, helplessness, and dropping out altogether (Morton, 2017). Over the past 10 years, 410 students who have experienced foster care or homelessness have earned and accepted admission to FAU. Of the first-time-in-college students who experienced foster care or homelessness who entered FAU between 2009 and 2014 (n=84), 36% earned a degree (with 24% earning their degree within 4 years), 8% are still students at FAU, and 56% left FAU. Because data on students leaving FAU is unavailable, the outcomes of students, many likely lacking a support system to assist with the transition to independent living, is currently left to speculation.
At the start of the 2018-2019 academic year, 154 students who had experienced foster care or homelessness were enrolled as undergraduate degree seeking students at FAU. Of the 154 undergraduate degree-seeking students, 63% are female and 37% are male. Almost all are from Florida with 50% from Palm Beach, 30% from Broward, and 8% from Miami-Dade counties. There is ethnic diversity among these students with 44% African American, 32% White, and 20% Hispanic. The students have diverse majors with the greatest number of students in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science (32%), Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters (24%), College of Business (12%), and College of Design and Social Inquiry (10%). Between 2% and 6% of the students are in College of Education, College of Engineering and Computer Science, H.L. Wilkes Honors College, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. Less than 3% of the students are listed as having an undecided major.
Champions Empowering Champions is dedicated to helping college students who have experienced foster care or homelessness succeed – in academics, their professional careers, and in life. Working in collaboration with existing college programs and resources, we offer a unique solution to empowering college students to achieve lifelong success. Our process includes:
- A support network for each Student Champion
- Quality workshops to address deficiencies in academic, professional, and life skills
- Opportunities to engage in community service projects that support foster children
- Economic support for unfunded academic and independent living essentials