Aftercare support for emancipated foster youth and other independent young adults
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Aftercare Support for Emancipated Foster Youth and Other Independent Young Adults. Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) 2011 Annual Meeting Session 45: "Non-Traditional" Students in Higher Education: Personal and Institutional Accommodations August 20, 2011.

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Aftercare Support for Emancipated Foster Youth and Other Independent Young Adults

Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP)

2011 Annual Meeting

  • Session 45: "Non-Traditional" Students in Higher Education: Personal and Institutional Accommodations

    August 20, 2011

Alvin S. Mares, PhD, LSW

Patricia B. Mares, MEd, PC, LSW


US Retention Rates (Fall ‘09-Fall ‘10)


OYIT-HST Peer Mentoring Program Participant Characteristics


OYIT-HST Peer Mentoring Program Participant Challenging Life Experiences


Characteristics of 2003-04 Students

Source: US Dept of Ed, NCES, Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Study, Tab 1.1-C


‘03-04 Student Retention Risk Factors

US Depart of Education. (2011). Six-year attainment, persistence, transfer, retention, and withdrawal rates of students who began postsecondary education in 2003–04

Source: US Dept of Ed, NCES, Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Study, Tab 1.1-D


‘03-04 Student Outcomes

Source: US Dept of Ed, NCES, BPS Study, Tables 2.1-A, 2.2-A, 2.3-A; NCES QuickStats


TRIO/Student Support Services

  • Student Support Services (SSS) one of 8 federally funded grant programs administered as part of the Federal TRIO Programs within US Dept of Education

  • All eight programs designed to help economically disadvantaged & first-generation college students achieve success at the postsecondary level

  • SSS program focuses on students while enrolled in college; designed to help complete degrees or certificates, transfer to 4-yr institutions if they start at two-year schools, and enroll in graduate school

  • Provides most services to 1st yr college students

  • Grown from 121 projects / 30K participants / $10M funding in 1970–71 to 1,034 projects / 204K participants / $302M funding in 2010-11

  • 2nd largest of 8 TRIO Programs in # students served (after Talent Search), and 2nd largest in funding (after Upward Bound)

Source: Chaney, B.W. (2010). National evaluation of Student Support Services: Examination of student outcomes after six years final report. Rockville, MD: Westat.


SSS Services, Outcomes & Cost


SSS in Ohio…and possibly other states

  • In 2009…

    • $7M SSS Ohio allocation / $1,500 avg cost per student -> estimated 4,667 served across 21 institutions

  • In 2004…

    • Public institutions

      • 14 universities with 24 regional branch campuses (38 campuses)

      • 23 community colleges

    • Private institutions

      • 110 non-profit

      • 26 for-profit

    • Total 197 campuses/institutions

    • Total 610K college students

  • Estimated 11% of campuses/institutions and <1% of college students in Ohio served by SSS Program


Overview of ASP

  • Ohio Youth in Transition (OYIT) Aftercare Support Program (ASP)

    • Community service pilot project (Jan-Dec 2009)

    • Zero budget

    • 12 young adults served from 4 agencies

    • Solution-focused brief therapy group intervention

    • Columbus, OH

    • Guada, J., Conrad, T. & Mares, A.S. (In-press). The Aftercare Support Program: An emerging group intervention model for emancipated foster youth. Social Work with Groups

    • Website: www.oyit.org


ASP “Phase 2”

  • Jan-Jun 2010: Planning expanded ASP + individual case mgt intervention pilot study

    • Ohio State BSSW & MSW students (in Columbus) & Ohio University Human Services Technology (HST) Associate’s degree students (in Chillicothe) to facilitate groups & provide c/m

    • Church volunteers to provide adult mentoring

    • Low-income, independent young adults ages 18-29, through local Community Action Agencies

  • July 2010-Mar 2011: Recruitment failure


ASP >>> HST Mentoring Program

  • Aims

    • increase retention among Ohio U.-Chillicothe (Public “3 Yr”) HST students

    • help plan next steps (i.e., job, BA at OU-C, BA elsewhere, other)

  • Approach:

    • SFBT mixed group and individual approach

    • Peer mentoring: current students helping new/incoming students

    • Adult mentoring: church volunteers helping both current & new students

  • Peer mentor planning/training meetings to-date

    • 1st (6/22/11): organizing > info sheet & application (2nd wk of summer term)

    • 2nd (6/30/11): needs > topics of interest

    • 3rd (7/14/11): helping approach > sfbt handout; ranking of needs survey & results

    • 4th (8/4/11): financial aid concerns & resources > Top 10 things to know handout & who to contact for help

    • 5th (9/13/11): peer mentor-mentees matching mtg (2nd wk of fall term)

  • Also: church mentor planning mtg (1/16/12)


Characteristics of HST Student Mentors

(N=28 as of 7/12/11; Recruited between 5/5/11-6/22/11)

  • Demographic characteristics

    • Age (mean): 35; Female: 61%; Single (never married): 54%; Caucasian: 81%

  • Challenging life experiences

    • Single parent: 36%; Emotional problems: 36%; Alcohol/drug problems: 32%

    • Homelessness: 21%; Physical health problems: 18%; Domestic violence: 14%;

    • LGBT: 7%; Foster care: 4%; Delinquency: 4%

  • First generation college: 81%

  • Educational goal

    • AA: 14%

    • BA: 50%

    • Grad/Prof: 36%


Perceived Needs/Topics of Interest

(Results from 7/14/11 in-class survey of HST student mentors (N=12))


Financial Aid-Related Challenges

(Results from 8/4/11 meeting with HST student mentors (N=11) and Fin Aid staff (N=3))

  • Knowing who to contact for help (Athens main campus vs. Chillicothe branch campus)

  • Understanding Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements for maintaining aid

  • Reconciling study plan with financial aid status for those not yet decided on major (eg, HST, social work, psychology) and/or degree (AA, BA)

  • Lag time between registration and billing deadlines (weeks before start of term) and financial aid disbursement (sometimes weeks after start of term)

  • Academic and financial aid problems following students transferring to/from other institutions

  • Outstanding balance preventing registration for next term

  • Annual financial aid application process not amenable to open-access/rolling enrollment and changes of major/degree throughout academic year


Financial Aid-Related Resources

(Results from 8/4/11 meeting with HST student mentors (N=11) and Fin Aid staff (N=3))

  • Branch campus Fin Aid staff to contact for help

    • Ashley Rauckhorst (Fin Aid Coordinator) / [email protected]

    • Norma Jean Beverly (Fin Aid Associate) / 774-7228

    • Student workers

  • Email; attend “Open House Fridays” Fin Aid Workshop/Computer Lab 11-noon; stop by Fin Aid office (call 774-7240)

  • Helpful handouts prepared by Fin Aid staff

    • Top 10 Things to Know about Financial Aid

    • Financial Aid To-Do List

  • Suggestions

    • Questions or problems? “COME SEE ME” [ie, Ashley or Norma Jean]; more friendly & helpful than Athens/main campus Fin Aid staff

    • Choose classes able to attend & likely to pass to maintain SAP (2.0 GPA + 67% completion); SAP checks made annually during spring term

    • Patience, understanding; start early; follow to-do list; set up direct deposit; pay bills by 21st of month

    • If failing a class, arrange with instructor an incomplete, rather than dropping or withdrawing (which both count as incompletion for SAP)


Next Steps

  • Continue meeting with HST students, faculty and Student Services staff (advising & Fin Aid) to develop zero-budget mentoring program alternative to federally-funded SSS program

    • Sept 13th (2nd wk. fall term): Preliminary matching meeting for HST student mentors (2nd yr students) and mentees (new students)

  • Continue meeting with church volunteers to develop group-based mentoring activities of interest to HST students

    • Jan 16th (3rd wk. winter term): Planning meeting with Orchard Hill UCC Cabinet to discuss mixer with HST students seeking community mentors (perhaps in Feb)

  • Ongoing

    • Review retention literature, reflecting upon experiences with students, faculty, staff & volunteers

    • Share experiences via writing and presenting, consulting with others along the way


Retention Theories/Frameworks

  • Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Braxton, J. M. (2003). Student success. In Student services: A handbook for the profession. (4th ed.). S. R. Komives, S.R., & Woodard, D.B. (Eds.). 317-338. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • Kuh, G.D., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J.A., Bridges, B.K., & Hayek, J.C. (2006). What matters to student success: A review of the literature. Washington: National Postsecondary Education Cooperative.


Financial Aid and Retention

(1) Hossler,, D., Ziskin, M., Kim, S., Cekic, O., & Gross, J.P.K. Student aid and its role in encouraging persistence

Overall findings

  • Following positively associated with persistence: receipt of larger amounts of financial aid; college work study; and grants (rather than loans)

  • Merit-based aid positively associated, though more persistent in general

  • Small, indirect effects providing more opportunity to engage in academic & social activities available on-campus

    (2) Lapovsky, L. Rethinking student aid: Nontraditional students

    Challenges facing non-traditional students

  • Over half apply for federal financial aid (FAFSA) after May 1st

  • Less likely to attend school in fall term; “new” spring term aid less avail

  • Less likely to attend full-time, reducing federal aid and eliminating FT-only aid awarded by many states and institutions

Source: CollegeBoard. (2008). The effectiveness of student aid policies: What the research tells us. Baum, S., McPherson, M., & Steele, P. (Eds.). New York: Author.


Various Types of “Drop-outs”

  • Drop-Outs: do not return to the college in which they enrolled, have no definite plans to return, and do not transfer to another institution of higher education

  • Stop-Outs: begin a plan of study, leave college for a period of time, and then reenroll to complete their plan of study

  • Transfer-Outs: begin their college career at one college and then transfer to another institution

  • Opt-Outs: leave college because they accomplished what they came to do, even though they have not completed a certificate or degree

Source: Hoyt, J.E., & Winn, B.A. (2004). Understanding retention and college student bodies: Differences between drop-outs, stop-outs, opt-outs, and transfer-outs. NASPA Journal 41(3):395-417.


Top 5 Reasons for Leaving Utah Valley State College (Public 4-Yr) After 1st Year (Fall 2000 Freshman Cohort)


Closing Thoughts

  • Challenges

    • Crazy busy lives of students, faculty, staff & volunteers

    • Inconsistent attendance and limited availability of participants to attend mentoring meetings/events

    • Low priority of planning/mentoring relative to financial needs, family demands, health concerns

    • Forthcoming reductions in public funding of post-secondary education support (eg, grants, SSS Program) likely at federal, state and institutional levels

  • Opportunities

    • A lot of potential (scholarly and service) for applying mentoring and SFBT principles to increase retention among at-risk college students

    • Much to be learned…much to be gained


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