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ASU Starts Free Online Course to Get Foster Youth Back to College

Arizona State University has launched a new online program that would train people interested in helping foster youth attend college.

Launched last week, Empower, a self-paced six-module course, makes people understand the trauma and resilience of foster youth and how to help them plan for college.

The training course is specifically designed for foster parents, relatives, case managers, school counselors, teachers, mentors, court-appointed advocates or anyone else who has a supportive relationship with foster youth. It includes 35-minute modules with videos, downloadable guides, case studies, assessments, surveys, and learning exercises.

“One of the challenges that our students have shared with us is how adults have low expectations for them and their futures,” said Jeanne Hanrahan, director of community outreach for University College at ASU.

In 2015, Hanrahan created the Bridging Success Early Start program for foster youth. Earlier this year, the university gathered community partners and allies in the foster system to introduce them to Empower and show some of the videos that are included in the course work. The course is financially supported by Women in Philanthropy.

Currently, Arizona offers free tuition through a combination of federal grants and scholarships, and university aid to foster children to earn a college degree. Youths that were in the Arizona foster care system on or after their 16th birthday qualify for the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program and the Arizona Tuition Waiver.

The state of Pennsylvania has also introduced a waiver program that allows youth who have been in foster care to get post-secondary education for free.

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