Helping Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Achieve Higher Education Success

Emerging Leader Fellow: Seth Morones, 2017-2019

The Challenge: Youth exiting the foster care system lag behind their peers in postsecondary attainment.  Fewer youth aging out of foster care apply to and attend college, and those who do often face significant challenges, such as lack of college readiness, financial barriers, and lack of adult or family support.  Consequently, roughly 14% of foster youth who enroll in college go on to graduate.

The Project: During this Emerging Leader Fellowship, Seth Morones will work with the Field Center to increase the postsecondary supports available to youth aging out of foster care with the goal of increasing degree attainment at Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities. The Field Center is currently engaged in this work in the Greater Philadelphia region and is looking to scale its reach to schools across the Commonwealth.

This Emerging Leader Fellowship will enable Seth to:

  • Develop a statewide directory of postsecondary services for foster youth and disseminate the directory to key stakeholders.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to a cohort of colleges and universities in developing campus-based support programs for youth.
  • Conduct quantitative and qualitative research, including an analysis of the statewide utilization of federal Chafee funds for youth in foster care attending college and interviews with key stakeholders and institutions about resources currently offered to foster youth.

Given that only two other states—Michigan and California—are currently addressing college access and success for foster youth at scale, Seth’s project has the potential to serve as a model for colleges across the country.