When a child grows up in the foster care system, they face some unique challenges as college students. They may lack the financial and emotional support their classmates get from families.
The Michigan Department of Human Services is trying help them out.
They awarded seven universities in Michigan shares of an $800,000 grant.
The money will pay on-campus coaches at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Baker College of Flint, Ferris State University, Saginaw Valley University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan-Flint who will work with former foster youth.
Director of Children’s Services at DHS Steve Yaeger says the support staff will help make college life a little more manageable.
“These students all have experienced various things coming through the foster care system, and when they walk onto college campuses, we wanted them to have the kinds of supports that other children might have," he said.
Yaeger says these students need the kinds of support other students take for granted.
“One of the key things they struggle with is finding financial aid. Housing’s a big deal. ‘What do we do on Spring break? What do we do on Thanksgiving or Christmas break?'" he said.
A similar program at Western Michigan University has helped keep students who grew up in foster care from dropping out.
The grant will be renewable for three years at each school.
-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom