- Nathanael J. Okpych and Mark E. Courtney
- June 2023
- Link to Focus-on-Poverty-39-1c (PDF)
- Link to 39-1-fop-classroom-supplement (PDF)
Nathanael Okpych and Mark Courtney review barriers to completing a college degree for young adults with foster care histories seeking post-secondary education. Their longitudinal approach evaluates students with foster care histories attending 2- and 4-year colleges and compares outcomes with low-income first-generation college students over a 10-year period. Results suggest that financial assistance, balancing school with employment needs, and the challenges of parenting as a student all have significant effects on those young people. On-campus assistance programs, when they exist, can also be very helpful for these students.
- Understanding barriers to success can help college campuses address persistent obstacles that thwart degree completion.
- Students with foster care backgrounds were less likely than low-income, first-generation students to persist through their first year and complete a degree in six years.
- Three significant barriers to degree completion were identified: economic hardship, needing to work a lot of hours while taking courses, and being a parent.