This program in New York City, NY, is on a mission to ensure that children impacted by the foster care system have the opportunity to pursue higher education without worrying about the financial obligation that comes with attending college.
According to NYC.gov, Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) announced a partnership in 2022 that provides college students in foster care with the necessary support system needed to excel.
A Brighter Future Through Education
The College Choice program offers up to $15,000 in tuition each year as well as pays for any room and board charges that aren’t covered by the student’s financial aid award.
I was yesterday years old when I found out that if you spent even one day in foster care as a child in NYC, you are entitled to a program called college choice. Any college of your choice all expenses paid. Including a $1900 monthly stipend. SPREAD THE WORD. GET IT BACK IN BLOOD! https://t.co/EdxhYwI1G0
— Gitchōr Lïchbaht 🇯🇲🇳🇬 (@Divine_Smile) March 9, 2023
“College Choice will provide college students in foster care with the support they need to complete their college education successfully and attend the school of their choice, regardless of cost,” Mayor Adams said. “This new program provides our young people in foster care help in covering up to $15,000 in tuition costs each year not covered by financial aid, as well as room and board, and even provides a daily stipend for food or clothes.”
He continued: “Growing up has never been more challenging, so we are holding up the torch to support our young people. No students’ chances for success should depend on factors outside of their control. Now, our youth in foster care can attend a community college, a [City University of New York], a [State University of New York], an Ivy League, an HBCU, or any other school they dream of without worrying about how they pay for their education.”
What’s more, full-time college students who are in foster care will not only receive the aforementioned benefits but, in addition to that, they will receive a stipend of $60 per day to be used for any food and additional expenses incurred while attending school.
Students can also continue to receive funds from the stipend for up to six months after graduating from the institution of their choice.
Leading The Charge For Supporting Foster Youth
Other programs such as Fair Futures have been in place to support foster care children since 2019, making New York City a leader in the nation when it comes to providing support to youth currently in the system and for those transitioning out of foster care.
Under Adams’ leadership, additional resources including College Choice have been expanded to include those between the ages 21 and 26 who have been impacted by foster care.
“With the Dorm Project, I was able to pursue my dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees without having to worry about my financial situation,” Sanjida Afruz, a student participant in College Choice at City College, said. “I was really able to just focus on my goals and my studies. The College Choice program is now a resource available to all youth in care if they choose to pursue higher education. The College Choice program essentially says that young people in foster care can and should dream big. With time and evident passion from people, like Mayor Adams and Commissioner [Jess] Dannhauser, we are seeing changes that we have advocated for, and it makes me happier than ever.”
In addition to funding, eligible students also have access to tutoring, career counseling, and related support that’s provided both online and in-person by staff with the New York Foundling — a non-profit social service organization.