California College Pathways (CCP) provides resources and leadership to campuses and community organizations to help foster youth succeed at community colleges, vocational schools, and four-year universities. Visit us at:

Upcoming Events: 

4/20: ACR Webinar - Permanency Options for our Older Youth

4/24-4/26: Taking Action Conference 

6/29: San Diego Foster Care Education Summit

With the support of the Stuart Foundation and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, CCP is managed by the John Burton Foundation. Learn more at:

New Research Ties State Financial Aid to Improved Graduation Rates

Revamped FYSI Manuals Available Online

Foster Youth Higher Education Bills Advance Through Legislature Foster Youth Higher Education Bills Advance Through Legislature

New Approaches Needed to College Course Placement and Remedial Education

New Resource Helps Unaccompanied Youth Access Special Education Support

The Educational Rights of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: What Service Providers Need to Know
New Research Ties State Financial Aid to Improved Graduation Rates
New research from the University of Massachusetts at Boston highlights the benefit of state-based financial aid for low-income college students. Although other researchers have looked at how students benefit educationally from federal or institutional aid based on need, few researchers have specifically examined how need-based state aid helps its recipients’ prospects for college completion.
The research examined access to need-based aid, as well as college persistence and graduation rates, in all 50 states, focusing on how the completion rates of four-year-college students in the 34 states that allocate aid, mostly in the form of need-based grants, compare to completion rates elsewhere. His analysis sought to mathematically control for differences between students and between colleges. The analysis found a strong connection between need-based state aid and persistence for low-income students. For every $1,000 in such aid that they received, they were 4.6 percent more likely to persist beyond their freshman year, and 7.7 percent more likely to graduate within six years. This research bolsters the case for legislative proposals such as AB 2506 (Thurmond), which if enacted, will expand the amount of state financial aid available specifically to foster youth. For more information about how AB 2506 will help foster youth to succeed in college, follow this LINK.
Revamped FYSI Manuals Available Online
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI) recently posted two newly revamped resource manuals online. The FYSI Guide to Financial Aid Administration and Student Support Services is designed for financial aid and other student support service faculty and staff in post-secondary education to assist them when working with students from foster care. The manual contains a wealth of information including background information related to working with foster youth, detailed information regarding financial aid regulations, and an overview of college and financial aid resources for students. The FYSI College and Financial Aid Resources for Students is a student resource that is included in the manual but has been extracted as a stand-alone document so that it can be distributed directly to students and adult supporters.
To download or view the manuals, follow this LINK.  
Foster Youth Higher Education Bills Advance Through Legislature
Two bills sponsored by the John Burton Foundation cleared hurdles last week as they make their way through the legislative process. On April 12, supporters for AB 2506 (Thurmond) convened in Sacramento to provide testimony on behalf of the bill, resulting in a unanimous 13-0 vote in support. If enacted, AB 2506 will expand the availability of the Chafee Education and Training Voucher program to all eligible foster youth who apply by September 2 and align the institutional requirements with those of the CalGrant program.
SB 906 (Beall) passed both the Senate Appropriations Committee and the full Senate and now makes its way to the Assembly. This bill would remove an existing sunset clause in priority registration law that would eliminate the benefit for foster youth and other special populations at the end of this year. The bill also seeks to align the definition of foster youth for the purposes of priority registration with other foster youth college-based programs.
New Approaches Needed to College Course Placement and Remedial Education
A recent article in The Atlantic Magazine highlighted one of the major pitfalls faced by community college students – the remediation trap. The article notes that developmental courses, which are also known as remedial education courses, are a growing concern because data shows students are much less likely to complete college if they take even one such class. Developmental courses are mandatory for students who want to earn degrees, but don’t count toward the number of credits they must earn to satisfy graduation requirements. A recent study from California College Pathways found that 83 percent of foster youth took their first course in either English or math at the remedial level. Only 9 percent of foster youth who took a remedial course completed a college-level math course within 2 years and only 22 percent of foster youth did so in English.
While most colleges in California rely on placement tests to determine whether a student must take developmental coursework, some colleges are beginning to expand how placement is determined by using other measures such as overall high school GPA. This movement towards less reliance on test scores, known as “multiple measures,” has been shown to be a better placement indicator than sole reliance on assessment tests. Other colleges have developed creative approaches to remedial education such as pairing remedial coursework with more advanced courses and assigning math classes to students that are better aligned with their career goals.

In order to avoid “the remediation trap” foster youth may want to seek out campuses that utilize non-traditional approaches to both placement and developmental education. For those students planning to attend a college which relies on testing for course placement, a recent report from The Center for Community College Student Engagement points to specific strategies that students can undertake to ensure their proper placement and advancement to successful college completion. Foster youth can start by visiting the foster youth contact on campus to get guidance on how to best approach the assessment process and create an academic plan. Students can also be encouraged to use assessment preparation tools such as online practice tests, pre-assessment workshops and study sessions. If the particular college that a youth is considering does not have test preparation materials available, other college sites can be consulted for resources.
New Resource Helps Unaccompanied Youth Access Special Education Support

Nationwide each year, over 88,000 youth are identified as “unaccompanied homeless youth,” defined as students living in homeless situations outside the physical custody of a parent or guardian and many of these youth are in need of special education support. A new resource from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), provides a concise overview of the legal landscape for who can consent for special education evaluations and services for unaccompanied homeless youth, with implementation tips and resources. 
The document describes how informal caregivers with whom a youth is living as well as a “surrogate parent” can provide consent in order to help protect these students’ rights and provide the school district with an appropriate adult with whom to communicate about evaluations and services in the absence of a parent or guardian. The report offers specific tips for identifying a surrogate parent and expediting the process of consent, including incorporating the active involvement of the student themselves in this process. To download the document, follow this LINK.
The Educational Rights of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: What Service Providers Need to Know
The National Center for Homeless Education released a new resource for service providers that provides a comprehensive overview of the educational rights of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento Act ensures educational rights and protections for homeless children and youth, and community service providers play a key role in linking homeless children and youth to schools and providing services that can bolster their attendance and educational success. The brief covers eligibility for services, the rights of homeless students, the role of the local education liaison (LEA) and ideas for improving the coordination of services. Some of the suggestions offered include developing an MOU with the school district that articulates procedures for coordinating services, inviting the local education liaison to offer a training on the McKinney-Vento Act to your staff and displaying posters at service locations on educational rights under the McKinney-Vento Act (available for free HERE).
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