There are lots of scholarship programs that help pay for school. One scholarship at Western Michigan University goes farther to help students tackling college on their own.
John Seita's an alumni of WMU. Against long odds he earned three degrees from the school, after he aged out of the foster care system. His story inspired a program bearing his name.
Now the Seita Scholars Program helps students facing similar challenges. It’s a full tuition scholarship for people who've aged out of the foster care system.
It helps not just with school, but with things like dishes, sheets and blankets. It also provides mentor support.
Chris Harris is director of the Seita Scholars program. He says that extra support has translated to higher graduation rates than than the national average for foster alumni. “Some of those students," he notes, “that may have dropped out of our program may still be graduating, but they’re graduating from a different university.”
Harris says 18 scholars have graduated from Western so far and he hopes to expand the program to more students. He notes that in Michigan "we have 500-800 students that age out of the foster care system each year." In the last 5 years he says "we’re bringing in 47-55 students a year at this point”.
– Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom