Helping Former Foster Youth Graduate from College: Campus Support Programs in California and Washington State

Helping Former Foster Youth Graduate from College: Campus Support Programs in California and Washington State
January 1, 2009 Stuart Foundation

Campus support programs provide financial, academic, and other types of supports to help former foster youth succeed in college. However, relatively little is known about the impact of these programs on college retention or graduation rates. This study lays the groundwork for an impact evaluation by examining program implementation from two different perspectives.

Researchers conducted telephone interviews with the directors of 10 campus support programs in California and Washington State. The interviews covered a variety of domains, including the population served, referral sources and recruitment, the application process, the provision of services and supports, program staff, relationships with stakeholders, and data collection. In addition, participants from 8 of the 10 programs completed a web-based survey that asked about their perceptions of and experiences with the program. The survey included questions about students’ demographic characteristics, referral and recruitment, the application process, reasons for participating in the program, services and supports received, unmet needs, contact with staff, and recommendations for improvement.

The report concludes with several recommendations for moving forward with a methodologically sound impact evaluation of campus support programs for former foster youth.