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Foster Care and Higher Education

Policy Briefs


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The Policy and Practice brief series disseminates information that is of interest to researchers and practitioners alike and highlights faculty expertise in the School of Social Work. Our goal is to share this knowledge with others. For more information, visit the Center website:


Foster Care Youth and Education

Authors: Angelique Day, Ph.D, MSW • Elizabeth Agius

Abstract: The brief highlights the post-secondary outcomes of older youth in care, looking first at the perceptions of currently enrolled high school and college aged foster youth with regard to their status on where they are in their transition from high school to college and then describes persistence in post-secondary education for a sample of foster care alumni who are enrolled at a four year university.

Meeting the Education Needs of Foster Care Youth: A Review of Federal Laws and How to Maximize their Implementation 

Authors: Angelique Day, Ph.D • Tamarie Willis,msw • megaAn Pennefather, msw

Abstract: Studies have shown that education is an important factor when determining the success of youths as they prepare to exit the foster care system. This brief highlights the importance of the collaboration among child welfare agencies and educational systems in improving the educational outcomes for youth in foster care and the laws that support these partnerships.

Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Limit and its Effect on Unaccompanied, Homeless and Former Foster Care Youth

Authors: Angelique Day, Ph.D, MSW • Carly Brin, BS MSW Student • Paul A. Toro, Ph.D

Abstract: The brief discusses the possible effects of the Pell Grant Lifetime limit on unaccompanied, homeless and former foster care youth attending post-secondary education, while also examining challenges that these populations currently face which contribute to the length of time till a degree is earned.

Increasing College Access and Retention of Foster Care Youth:  A Review of   Tuition Waiver Programs 

Authors: Liliana Hernandez, MSW, MPP • Angelique Day, Ph.D, MSW • Michael Henson, BA, Ph.D Student 

Abstract: This policy brief examines the similarities and differences of various state-funded tuition waiver programs across the United States to increase college access and retention rates of foster care youth. Recommendations for policy and practice reform are offered to maximize participation and success of these programs. 

Maximizing the Education Well-being of Pregnant and Parenting Foster Youth

Authors: Angelique Day, Ph.D, MSW • Lea Yazigi, M.Ed, Ph.D Candidate 

Abstract: This policy brief provides an examination of the problem of pregnancy and early parenting among a sample of female Michigan foster care, and the implications it has on their education well-being. Implications for policy and practice on how to bolster high school completion and college-going among this subpopulation of foster youth are offered.

Increasing College Access of Foster Care Youth: A Review of Education and Training Voucher (ETV) programs

Authors: Angelique Day, PhD, MSW • Megan Pennefather, LLMSW 

Abstract: This policy brief examines the education and training voucher (ETV), a federal program that provides post-secondary education funding to current and former foster care students. Research recommendations are provided to ensure the desired outcomes of the program are achieved.