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California State University to Help Foster Youth Succeed in College

Stuart Foundation grant aims to increase college retention and graduation rates of foster youth

(May 30, 2008) – The California State University was awarded $200,000, the first installment of a three year $600,000 grant request, from the Stuart Foundation to create the CSU Foster Youth in Higher Education project to help students attending colleges and universities in California and the state of Washington.

The new CSU program will engage higher education institutions to work on increasing retention and graduation rates of students who were in foster care. The CSU will work with the University of California, California Community Colleges, and independent colleges and universities to increase the quality and number of foster youth programs on their respective campuses.

“This grant will help many more students transitioning from the foster care system to attend college and succeed in higher education,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “We intend to provide them with more friendly paths in college and eliminate some of the barriers they face in academic preparation, access to housing, medical services, and financial aid.”

Currently, there are approximately 75,000 youth in foster care in California and 800,000 in the United States. Nationwide, 24,000 exit the foster care system each year. Foster youth face significant barriers when making the transition from foster care to higher education. They lack mentoring and family support to successfully transition from youth to adulthood. Two to four years after leaving care, fifty percent still have not earned a high school diploma and only ten percent enroll in some type of postsecondary education. Just three percent manage to complete a college degree.

The CSU has appointed Jenny Vinopal as Assistant Director of Foster Youth Programs. She can be contacted at (562) 951-4734 or


The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See

The Stuart Foundation is dedicated to the protection, education and development of children and youth. It works toward ensuring that all children grow up in caring families, learn in vibrant and effective schools and have opportunities to become productive members of their communities.

Last Update: May 30, 2008
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