Foster youth in Georgia colleges are getting a boost of support with more than $1.5 million in new funding granted to Embark Georgia, an organization focused on improving college access and retention for students who have been in foster care or faced homelessness.
Embark Georgia is a statewide network of campus-based professionals who help students who have experienced foster care or homelessness navigate college in an effort to help them stay in school and improve academic outcomes. Based out of the University of Georgia, the organization serves all campuses in the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia.
“We are excited to elevate and expand this work to meet the needs of these students and appreciate the partnership of these two organizations,” David Meyers, co-director of the Embark Georgia network, said in a press release. “We share a vision for the bright future of these young people.”
The new funding — $800,000 from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and $750,000 from the Joseph B. Whitehead Child Well-Being Fund — will help Embark increase on-campus support and invest in data collection and analysis about the educational outcomes and needs of the students they’re working with. It will help fund and grow an annual event that brings high school-aged foster youth onto campus to get a taste for college life and learn about the application and admissions process.
The funding also supported the organization’s yearly leadership conference, where youth-serving professionals from around the state gather to learn about the challenges foster and homeless youth face in college and the resources and support that can help.
While roughly 40% of foster youth enroll in college, only 8% complete a degree by age 26, according to leading research from the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall. Often lacking the support and financial safety net that many of their peers get from family members, foster youth face many hurdles that can knock them off of their college path, like housing instability, lack of funds or needing to prioritize work over school to stay financially afloat.
Each of the more than 50 schools served by Embark has at least one designated staff member tasked with helping students obtain the resources they need to succeed in school, from financial aid to help with housing to social and emotional supports.
“The challenges to postsecondary success that young people who have experienced foster care and/or homelessness face can significantly impact their futures,” said Matt Bishop, director of the Fanning Institute. “We are grateful to these organizations for their remarkable investment in Embark Georgia. These resources will allow more young people to succeed in pursuing their educational goals.”
Disclaimer: Fostering Media Connections receives funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
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