Student Support Services

2016-17 Foster Youth College Success Initiative


The purpose of the Foster Youth College Success Initiative is to reduce the financial burden of college attendance among eligible populations and to encourage college completion through the provision of specialized academic support services within existing New York State postsecondary opportunity programs (i.e., EOP, SEEK/CD and HEOP).


Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2015 added a new section 6456 to the Education Law, requiring the Commissioner to allocate funds, subject to an appropriation, for the purpose of providing support services to assist youth in foster care to apply for, enroll in, and succeed in college. The new law defines foster youth to include students who have qualified as an orphan, foster child or ward of the court for the purposes of federal student financial aid programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Eligibility Requirements:

Funding is available only to New York State students who qualify as an orphaned, foster child or wards of the court for the purposes of federal student financial aid programs. Eligible participants must also be enrolled in a New York State Opportunity Program in the State University of New York, City University of New York or a private sector institution (i.e. EOP, SEEK/CD, HEOP).

Program Services:

The annual amount for Foster Youth College Success Initiative Program is distributed to the respective IHE to be spent for the one or more of the following purposes:

  • to provide any necessary supplemental financial aid, which may include the cost of tuition and fees, books, transportation, housing and other expenses necessary to attend college;
  • summer college preparation programs to help foster youth transition to college, prepare them to navigate on-campus systems, and provide preparation in reading, writing, and mathematics;
  • advisement, tutoring, and academic assistance for these students.

Roster of projects and their associated regions:

This initiative is currently providing support services and resource to expand opportunities for 355 foster youth students enroll at SUNY (208 students), CUNY (74), and through HEOP (73).

Key evaluation measures:

This new initiative has an annual report that is still being implemented and developed.

Future Goals:

Pending future funding, to develop a formalized pipeline between school administrators and students, expand awareness of the special foster youth funding, and increase foster youths’ college attendance and success.

Outcome and Accomplishment:

Over 300 Foster Youth have participated in this program; report data are still being collected.


Shirley de Peña

Director, Youth Matter



Evonne Hamler-Cadet

Associate for Opportunity Programs


The Children’s Aid Society

Jessica Maxwell

Fostering Youth Success Alliance Director


NYS Education Department

Donya Jackson

Liaison of Foster Youth College Success Initiative Program



Last Updated: July 20, 2017