For many foster youth, access to support while enrolled in college is essential to success.
Since the first program for foster youth began over twenty years ago at California State University Fullerton, the availability of support has grown across all post-secondary systems in California. In 2016, JBAY advocated for the creation of NextUp within the community college system, the first state-funded campus support program, which was subsequently expanded in 2018 to a total of 46 campuses with a state budget investment of $20 million annually. In 2022 the state investment was expanded to $50 million annually and funding was also put in place for the CSU ($12 million) and UC ($6 million) systems.
The NextUp program provides service coordination, counseling, tutoring, career guidance, and grants to assist with the cost of books, housing, childcare, transportation and other non-tuition costs at California Community Colleges. To qualify, students must be under the age of 26 at the time of first enrollment and in foster care on or after their 13th birthday.
New funding made available in 2022 has allowed the program to expand to all community colleges.
All California State University and University of California campuses also have targeted support programs for foster youth. To search for all foster youth campus support programs in California, visit California College Pathways.