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Georgia Association of Homes and Services for ChildrenFoundation Making College a Reality for Foster Youth
Why Should You Make College a Priority NOW? • 70% of foster youth say they want to go to college • Yet only half graduate from high school (as opposed to 70% of the general population) • And only 10% actually go on to college (while 60% of the general population does) • 100,000 more foster youth a year would be in college if they were going to college at the same rate as the general population
Interesting statistic… • Only 150 of the 3500 colleges in the US are so selective that they turn down half of their applicants. In fact, 44% of colleges accept EVERY SINGLE APPLICANT! • Time magazine, October 9, 2006 issue
The Biggest Barriers • Lack of cultural expectation to succeed academically and attend college • Frequent disruptions in educational experiences (65% of foster youth experienced seven or more school changes - and each move results in a loss of 6 months of educational progress) • Perceived notion of cost of college as unaffordable • Lack of personal support
How Can You Help? • College Prep • Admissions Process • Financial Aid
Preparing for College • Tell them they can do it – set the expectation! • Discuss the benefits of college • Reduce educational placement disruptions • Become or identify an educational advocate (guidance counselor, mentor, CASA, coach, teacher, older sibling, foster parent, etc.) • Be knowledgeable about services, processes, and resources related to college • Connect your youth with foster youth in college
Timeline • Fall Junior Year - SAT/ACT prep • Spring Junior Year – take the test, begin web searches for colleges • Summer Junior Year – write personal essays and resumes, visit colleges • Fall Senior Year – get common application, write essays, visit colleges, re-take tests if needed • January Senior Year – download FAFSA and fill out – it’s due in March!
A high school curriculum that challenges the student Grades that show a strong effort and an upward trend Solid test scores Community service Work experience (but not too much!) A well-written essay PERSONALIZED letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors Strong supplementary recommendations Anything special that makes the student stand out! What are Colleges Looking For?
Financial Aid **Disclaimer! Georgia Student Finance Commission is the ultimate authority on financial aid. We STRONGLY recommend that you contact them for complete information at www.gacollege411.org or 1-800-505-GSFC
Types of Financial Aid • Grants/Scholarships – “gift aid” that does not require repayment • Loans – borrowed and must be repaid with interest • Work Study – a job on campus Most financial aid is awarded on the basis of need, but total financial aid awarded to a student cannot exceed the college’s cost of attendance.
State Grants/Scholarships • HOPE • Foster Child Education Grant • Accel – allows students to earn college credit while meeting high school graduation requirements
Update on HOPE Changes • All changes effective May, 2007 • HOPE Eligibility will be determined by Georgia Student Finance Commission • No numerical scale used for Standard of Eligibility • Academic credits counted in calculation will include all credits attempted • Only Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses will be weighted in GPA calculation • Weighting will be done by GSFC and will be uniform across the state
Federal Grant Programs • Pell • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) • Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) • The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (SMART) - new • Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) - new
Features of GAcollege411.org • Personalized student planner/timeline – create a profile! • Information on Georgia colleges (comparative view, distance calculator, etc.) • College prep test reviews and testing dates (also visit www.collegeboard.com or www.satonlinecoursechool.com for free reviews – you will need an access code from your school principal) • Common application • Steps for applying for financial aid • Loan repayment calculator • Information for non-traditional students/adult learners
Scholarship Resources • Orphan Foundation of America – www.orphan.org • Adoptive/Foster Parent Association of Georgia – www.afpag.org • Excellence in Education Scholarship – www.gahsc.org/projecttransition.html • See handout for additional resources
Excellence in Education Scholarship Program Overview • In 2006, the Excellence in Education Scholarship program awarded $108,000 to foster youth continuing on to college/graduate school • We received 59 applications. 47 were complete and eligible for consideration • 29 students were selected for scholarships, including 4 graduate students
Types of Scholarships Awarded • College - $1,000 a year for a maximum of 4 years of post high school education (lifetime maximum total of scholarship funds available per undergraduate applicant = $4,000) • Graduate School - $1,500 a year for a maximum of 2 years of graduate school or masters programs (lifetime maximum total of scholarship funds available per graduate school applicant = $3,000)
Eligibility Requirements • In DFCS custody OR placed at a licensed private residential program at the time of your 16th birthday • Have already graduated OR anticipate graduation end of the 2006/2007 school year • Continuing on to post-secondary educational program that is accredited and/or approved by DFCS • Demonstrated financial need • Willingness to participate in LINC mentoring program
Commonly Asked Eligibility Questions • Students who emancipated or adopted at age 16 or older are eligible • You may reapply as a graduate student if you received a scholarship as an undergraduate • You are eligible to reapply if you have received undergraduate funding at a lower level than $4,000, provided you are working on a different degree (for example, you got $2,000 for your Associates and have decided to pursue a Bachelors) • Students who have applied in the past but did not receive funding are encouraged to reapply
Section I - General Information 2007 Excellence in Education Scholarship Application SECTION I - GENERAL INFORMATION Student’s Name:_______________________________________________ Address:__________________________________________________ City:_______________________State:____________Zip:__________ Phone Number:_______________Email Address:___________________ Birthdate:_____________ High School:__________________________ College/University (if already enrolled): __________________________ High School Graduation Date:________Grade Point Average_______ SAT/ACT Score:______ College Graduation Date (if applicable): __________________________ LSAT/GMAT/GRE, etc. Score: __________ Have you applied for Excellence in Education scholarship before? ____yes ____no If yes, when? _____________________________ • Fill out completely. Contact information is critical - we must know where to find you if we have questions. • SAT/ACT/LSAT/GMAT, etc. scores are not mandatory if the school you are applying to does not require them. Please indicate if school does not require test scores.
Section II - Financial Need SECTION II - FINANCIAL NEED To what schools have you applied? Please indicate if you have been accepted. Name:______________________________City/State:________________Name:______________________________City/State:________________ Name:______________________________City/State:________________ What will be your major area of study?______________________________ How will you pay for the remainder of your educational expenses, not covered by this scholarship? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Have you received the Excellence in Education scholarship before? If so, what year and for what amount?_______________________________________ List any other scholarships you have applied for: ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ List any scholarships you have already been awarded and the amount of the award: Name of Scholarship Amount ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ • We do take into account the cost of public vs. private education, as well as other sources of aid identified. • The selection committee looks favorably upon students who have made an effort to identify additional funding sources beyond state/federal grants.
Section III - Employment/Volunteer/Extracurricular SECTION III – EMPLOYMENT/COMMUNITY SERVICE/EXTRACURRICULAR Employment History: Dates Supervisor Company Name Phone Number # hours/week __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Extracurricular Activities ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Community Service ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Awards/Recognition Received (School, Church, Community, Other) __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ • We recognize that many students have part-time jobs and that does affect ability to participate in extracurricular activities. • It carries more weight with us if students have made a demonstrated leadership commitment to a few activities, rather than joined every club at school. • We also understand that foster care often results in frequent moves/school changes, which affect the ability to work, join clubs, volunteer, etc. If this is the case, let us know in your essay.
Section IV - References SECTION IV – REFERENCES Name of DFCS/private provider case manager:__________ Case manager phone number:__________________Email:________________ Character References (include the name and phone numbers of the individuals who wrote your letters of reference for this application). Name Position Phone Number _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ • Case manager contact information is critical. If we need more information on you, we need know where to find them. • Do NOT use friends as character references. Your references should be teachers, coaches, ministers, foster parents, or other adults in your life.
Section V - Essay The essay is the most important part of your application - it is your chance to stand out and it carries the most weight in scoring. The essay is not about being a great writer - it’s about telling us who you are and what your plans are!
Tips for Successful Essay Writing • Tell us about who you are and who you want to be. Discuss your goals for the future and your plans for achieving those goals. Tell us why you think this scholarship will help you achieve those goals (hint: everyone needs the money to avoid debt, so give us other reasons why you need it!) • Make yourself stand out. The scholarship committee reads dozens of essays and applications. Find a way to help us remember you. Tell a story about yourself that helps the committee understand what makes you special. • Do NOT recycle essays from other scholarship applications without tailoring them to our application. You can use parts of other essays, but be sure you address the questions we are asking you to answer. • PROOFREAD your essay! And have someone else proofread it. Make the corrections, and then proofread it one last time! It is hard to focus on the real message of the essay when it is full of grammatical and spelling errors.
Essay Evaluation Criteria • Did you answer the questions? • Do you have a clear plan for the future, or at least a clear plan for what your next steps are right now? • Did you do a good job of personalizing yourself on paper and helping us understand who you are? • Did you spell check/grammar check/proofread and make final corrections?
Essay Editing Assistance Email a draft of your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org - it will be sent to a volunteer editor who will review, edit, and provide feedback to student.
Application Checklist • Application form • Your current high school transcript with most recent grades available OR a copy of your GED completion certificate • Undergraduate transcript, if requesting funds for graduate program • Copy of standardized test scores, if applicable (SAT/ACT/LSAT/GRE/GMAT, etc.) • Letter of verification from case manager that states that you are in that agency’s custody or verifying the date you were emancipated • Two letters of reference on author’s letterhead with signature across the seal of the sealed envelope • Essay
Ten Characteristics Used to Evaluate Applications: • Educational/Career Goals • Character • Employment • Leadership • Extracurricular Activities • Community Service • Academic Record • Other Financial Aid • References (x4) • Essay Quality (x8)
What Makes a Successful Application? • Application is complete with all information requested, including all attachments. • Submitted on time. • Typewritten if at all possible. • Strong essay that conveys character and personality of applicant. • Clear educational goals for future.
Review/Decision Making Timeline • Deadline: April 20, 2007 • Applications reviewed by committee: May 15, 2007 • Decision letters mailed: May 31, 2007 • Scholarships awarded: June 13, 2007 at The Celebration of Excellence graduation event
Keeping Them In College Once They Get In • Get connected with appropriate on-campus resources (mental health, peer support groups, financial aid counselors, tutoring/study skills, student life, child care) • Get connected with peer mentor – preferably anther foster youth in college • Get connected with an adult mentor • Identify housing resources for school breaks
Program Contact for Additional Information/Questions Susan Allison Project Transition Director email@example.com 404-351-1678