Starting next college school year, foster youth in Minnesota will be able to attend universities for free.
According to a release from Foster Advocates, students will apply for all other relevant state scholarships, and the state will cover the remaining cost, including an estimate of tuition, living expenses, books, eligible study-abroad fees, and other required items for higher education such as a laptop.
“Foster Advocates was founded to create meaningful change within the child-welfare system, led by people who had been directly impacted,” said Founder and Executive Director Hoang Murphy, who experienced foster care himself.
“There are too many fosters trying to navigate the system alone, and this is just the start of the support they need to overcome the systemic barriers and immense personal challenges they face.”
Current and former foster youth between the ages of 13 and 27 will get full coverage for the cost of college at any public or private institution in the state.
The bill was passed this year. In 2018, only 30 percent of Midwestern foster care students attended post-secondary education by age 21, according to the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Function of Former Foster Youth.
In addition, only 2 percent of Midwestern foster care students completed a two-year degree by age 21, while 60% of their peers have four-year degrees.
The program will kick off for the Fall 2022 semester.