Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

McAllister, Carolyn. Dr.


This study explores the perceptions of former and current foster youth, who either graduated from a post-secondary institution, enrolled in college or a vocational training, in order to identify the factors that contributed to their post-secondary education enrollment.

Sixteen participants provided information about their personal experience with post-secondary education enrollment via personal interview and self-administered questionnaire. Descriptive statistics was used to compare responses on the self-administered questionnaire. Constant comparative analysis method was used to analyze interview data and code it into themes or codes.

This study’s findings show that the majority of the participants enrolled in college because they were mainly motivated by individual factors, secondly relationship factors and thirdly systemic factors. Specifically, college gave them hope for the future and it was a personal goal. Some also reported the influence, motivation, and support of peers, caregivers, mentors, certain high school and college programs, like AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)) and EOPS (Extended Opportunity Program Services). Of utmost need to them is a hands-on-support which includes assistance with college application completion, college class registration, preparation for placement tests and college tours which they noted they did not get enough of. This study’s findings are vital for preparing foster youth for post-secondary education as the study provides needed insights on the necessary services, policy and programs.

Included in

Social Work Commons