BY ABIGAIL CHEW
Receiving admission to a university as well as paying for said higher education is no simple task for anyone, though the challenge is even heightened for those growing up without any financial means, living stability or parental guidance. These circumstances can create an unpredictable and terrifying future for a child within the foster care system.
Growing up within foster care limits a child’s expectations of what their future can hold. Everything within a system has limitations that create a more regulated view for a young adolescent. Due to these rules and constraints placed on children, through no fault of their own, the possibility of eventually receiving a college education is negligible in their eyes.
A college education holds utmost importance in today’s society, being a determining factor in being the recipient of a stable career. Research shows that only thirteen percent of children who age out of foster care graduate from a four-year college. Experts tend to agree that many more children would succeed in higher education if fewer obstacles were in place.
Though progress to improve the educational difficulties of foster care children is slow going, twelve states have succeeded in implementing laws to assist kids in care to move on to higher education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides these children with financial aid when applying to a university.
However, limited financial means are not the only barrier needing to be abolished. Young children within the system have little knowledge of how to manage their time, have not developed proper study techniques and/or contain gaps within their learning. Many universities who have recognized these issues have established programs and services to assist those that are having difficulties with the transition.
For a child within the foster care system, obtaining a college education can be an extremely daunting task. Luckily programs and policies are continuing to be implemented around the country to assist foster youth in receiving this higher education that every individual deserves the chance of attaining.
It is important to recognize that there are college students who put in a great deal of effort to receive a higher level of education. Those of us that have been more fortunate will never fully understand the struggle that so many others had to undertake to break through seemingly unbreakable barriers. The foster care system is just one of many difficult circumstances that can make acquiring one’s desired future a challenging task.