Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Chang, Janet


The foster youth population is at higher risk than the general population to not pursue or complete higher education. The literature review provided a stronger understanding of the different components that come with foster youth pursuing higher education and the different factors that play into preventing them from pursuing higher education. The purpose of this research study was to identify what services and/or supports have assisted foster youth in continuing to pursue higher education.

This study used a qualitative design and interviewed 10 former or current foster youth over the phone and through an online video call. The researchers provided interview questions asking about their experiences in pursuing higher education. This study revealed that former and current foster youth found family and school staff support as a common factor into helping them pursue higher education. This study also found that some participants felt a lack of support from social workers in pursuing higher education. The study indicated that EOPS and Guardians Scholars had positively supported them during the pursuit of their higher education.

Findings of the study recommend that social workers provide more information about college and other related resources and doing so at an earlier age like when they start participating in the Independent Living Program (ILP). This study also suggests a policy that could improve services for foster youth by mandating workshops that social workers must attend at least a few times a year to gather information about college and other career paths that foster youth can benefit from.

Included in

Social Work Commons