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Bill Aims To Make Tuition Waiver Program For Foster Kids Permanent
A small fraction of kids who have been in the foster care system end up earning a college degree.
According to the Children’s Action Alliance, less than 10 percent of foster youth graduate college by age 26. That’s compared to 46 percent of those who have never been in foster care.
That’s why, five years ago, the state Legislature established a tuition waiver pilot program for young people who are in foster care to help them attend a state university or community college. But it will expire this summer if the program isn’t made permanent.
And a new bill that just passed the House will do just that. The Show’s Lauren Gilger joins us now with more.
HB 2482 unanimously passed the House on Wednesday, and it would make this pilot program permanent and also update it a few key ways.
So this bill is being supported by the advocacy group the Children’s Action Alliance, and they say it’s done some good in the last five years. From spring 2014 to fall 2017, they say it’s allowed more than $800,000 in tuition costs and mandatory fees to be waived at Arizona community colleges and universities. And that it’s made college possible for 199 students from foster care.
We spoke with one of those students recently more about this. I first ran into her at the state Capitol, where she was speaking about the importance of this bill. Then, I met her on ASU’s downtown campus recently, where she is a senior, and she told me more about her experience in foster care.