When senior Alexandrea Talsky had a minor financial aid problem she wasn’t able to untangle by herself, she turned to the Fostering Success office.
Tralen Hazelwood, a first-year student, credits the office with helping hold him accountable, making sure he stays on track with studies and assignments through its coaching program.
Both students came to UWM out of the foster care system, so they don’t have the usual built-in family support to help them figure out how to get into college and succeed in higher education.
That’s where UWM’s new Fostering Success program, launched in fall 2017, comes in.
The program is modeled on a successful effort at UW-Stout that provides support to students coming out of the foster care system and students who are homeless — those who don’t have traditional family networks. That support may include help in finding scholarships, getting connected on campus, life skills, preparing for the future and just the opportunity to be with others who’ve had similar experiences, according to Tawney Latona, an advisor in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and UWM’s Fostering Success coordinator.
About 100 students helped
In most states, children in the foster care system “age out” at 18 or 21 and are on their own, Latona said. Currently, approximately 100 students are involved in some way in UWM’s program.
In general, children leave foster care in Wisconsin at age 18. Those who wish to go on to college can apply for a scholarship through the Department of Children and Families.
Just getting to college is a challenge for these young people, and completing a degree is very difficult. A 2011 University of Chicago study showed that only 11 percent of women and five percent of men coming out of foster care had completed a college degree by age 26. That compared with 33 percent of the general U.S. population, according to census …