Fostering Success at SUNY: Financial Support through the Foster Youth College Success Initiative

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January 30, 2024

Brian Backstrom


Starting in 2015, New York State began offering college financial assistance to individuals who have experienced foster care at any point after the age of 13. Recognizing the unique needs of this student population and the desire to provide additional support, the Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI) was created to encourage and ease the financial burden of college-going for foster care youth, providing awards that can be used to cover costs including tuition and fees; room and board (as well as housing during school recess); books and supplies; transportation to and from campus; academic support services such as advising and tutoring not already covered by the campus; and, certain qualifying personal expenses.

An examination of the use and outcomes of FYCSI could provide useful insights about this program. In this study, we look at FYCSI aid recipients since the initiation of the award program in fall 2015 who are attending any of the campuses that make up the State University of New York System (SUNY) and use data from the SUNY Data Warehouse provided by SUNY System Administration Office of Institutional Research and Data Analytics.

Demand for FYCSI support continues to grow as more and more students apply for and receive these awards, and early results point to the program’s potential positive impacts: FYCSI recipients tend to reenroll after their first year at higher rates than their peers and post higher graduation rates for associate degrees and, after six years, bachelor’s degrees.

Read the report.