A College Aid Program for Foster Youth
The Imprint is highlighting each of the policy recommendations made this summer by the participants of the Foster Youth Internship Program, a group of 12 former foster youth who have completed congressional internships.
The annual program is overseen by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that raises awareness about the needs of children without families. Each of the participants crafted a policy recommendation during their time in Washington, D.C.
Today we highlight the recommendation from Aoguzi Muhammet McDonald, a recent graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund. A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
McDonald proposes that current and former foster youth pursuing college degrees are removed from the Pell Grant program and provided with a new, higher-dollar federal grant that would go directly to the college of their choice and be applied to the cost of tuition. He would also have Congress fund the development and distribution of “a federal pamphlet and/or training system” that regularly alerts foster parents and youth of educational resources.
Post-secondary education is increasingly necessary to succeed in any job market, McDonald argues, and the data on older youth in foster care show that very few will even start that quest. And with college tuition averaging nearly $40,000 in America, he writes, “the Pell Grant is not sufficient to meet the financial need in attending college for foster youth, who often have no family who can help contribute to the cost of attendance.”
In Their Own Words
“I strove to take difficult courses whenever possible and took classes at colleges when my high school did not offer them. These efforts ultimately resulted in my ability to attend and graduate from Georgetown University. However, I recognize that I was at an advantage compared to many foster youth given my upbringing with highly educated parents. In reality, most foster youth lack knowledge about the importance of secondary education and are not offered the resources to pursue it.”