New California Law Covers 100% of College Costs for Foster Youth

Californian Foster Youth Can Go to College for Free

Photo: Mikos/Depositphotos

Financing higher education is a challenge for most U.S. students, but it can be particularly difficult for those in foster care. A new law in California seeks to change the circumstances of over 60,000 foster youth by covering the entire cost of college—from tuition to housing—at any UC, Cal State, or California community college.

Senate Bill 307 will make it possible for thousands of teenagers in foster care who want to continue their education, which is estimated to be 93% according to a recent survey. However, due to a lack of resources, only 4% of former foster youth are able to reach a bachelor's degree by the age of 26 in comparison to 50% of students who were not part of the foster system.

“[This is] a potential game changer for tens of thousands of California's foster youth with dreams of going to college,” California Senator Angelique Ashby says. This legislation expands the Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) to “have 100% of their unmet need covered, including for books, food, lodging, after other aid is applied.” All students can participate in the program regardless of their high school performance.

“The state of California has done a good job historically of paying for tuition for foster youth who find their way to college,” Ashby adds, “but it didn't cover everything, including housing, which for foster youth then you might as well cover nothing if you're not going to cover the housing.”

There will be $25 million allocated to this program annually so foster youth can go to college debt-free. The next step, according to former foster youth Shane Harris, is to spread the word and let students know that there is funding available to them. “This is a tremendous victory for foster youth across California,” he says. “In the state of California, your dreams are possible, you can become anything you want to be, and now you can go to college for free.”

h/t: [CBS8]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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