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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

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

Characteristics of 2003 04 students
Characteristics of 2003-04 Students Experiences

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

03 04 student retention risk factors
‘03-04 Student Retention Risk Factors Experiences

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
‘03-04 Student Outcomes Experiences

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

Trio student support services
TRIO/Student Support Services Experiences

  • 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 in ohio and possibly other states
SSS in Ohio…and possibly other states Experiences

  • 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
Overview of ASP Experiences

  • 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:

Asp phase 2
ASP “Phase 2” Experiences

  • 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
ASP >>> HST Mentoring Program Experiences

  • 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
Characteristics of HST Student Mentors Experiences

(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
Perceived Needs/Topics of Interest Experiences

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

Financial aid related challenges
Financial Aid-Related Challenges Experiences

(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
Financial Aid-Related Resources Experiences

(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) /

    • 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
Next Steps Experiences

  • 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
Retention Theories/Frameworks Experiences

  • 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
Financial Aid and Retention Experiences

(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
Various Types of “Drop-outs” Experiences

  • 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.

Aftercare support for emancipated foster youth and other independent young adults
Top 5 Reasons for Leaving Utah Valley State College (Public 4-Yr) After 1st Year (Fall 2000 Freshman Cohort)

Closing thoughts
Closing Thoughts 4-Yr) After 1

  • 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