Foster youth across California will now be able to attend college, free of charge, after new legislation, SB 307, was signed into the state budget Monday.
The new Fostering Futures program will cover the entire cost for foster youth to attend a University of California, California State University or California community college.
93% of foster youth in California want to attend college, but only 4% will attend and graduate with a degree, officials said. In addition, foster youth are directly impacted, more than other youth, by significant increases in the cost of living, which further impedes their ability to attend college.
An expansion of the existing Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS) program, the Fostering Futures program will cover college tuition for foster youth in addition to other costs including books, food and lodging.
Officials say the program 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.