Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair



This study explores the contributing factors to collegiate foster youth’s college attendance and retention while in college. A qualitative study was conducted consisting of eight face to face interviews were conducted. Participants were student recipients of California State University, San Bernardino’s Educational Opportunity - Renaissance Scholars Program. Areas studied: pre-college admission, transitional support systems, and retention support while in college. Results identified support from high school teachers and school counselors played significant roles in the participant’s future college attendance, family support was not a significant influence, and social work support was not reported by any participants. All participants received supportive services from the Renaissance Scholars program after college admission, however, a majority were not aware of the program’s existence prior. Once in college, many of those who received pre-college support from school counselors and teachers stated an ongoing positive social relationship while traversing college. Psycho-socially, the “life changing event” of attending college, created enduring relational-bonds for students. Conversely, participants without positive support equated to the lack of support (being told that they would not succeed) as their driving force to attend college. The results highlight the significance divide between the positive ongoing resources provided by social services, and the foster youth’s perception of social services interactions towards their benefit. These results illuminate the importance of providing ongoing pre-college, transitional support systems, and retention support resources, to current and former collegiate foster youth. This studies goal is to help increase the social worker's knowledge about foster youth population and its higher education needs.

Included in

Social Work Commons