First-Of-Its-Kind Arizona Program Also Incorporates Support System For Foster Students
PHOENIX — Arizona foster children will receive a full scholarship at Grand Canyon University thanks to a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
The Fostering Futures Scholarships program, announced today by Governor Doug Ducey, DCS Director Mike Faust and GCU President Brian Mueller, covers all tuition, fees, and year-round room and board for qualified Arizona foster children.
“With this program, Arizona's foster kids will get the support they need to get a college degree,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “GCU’s commitment to academically supporting foster youth and providing them with year-round housing is a game-changer. This scholarship program offers a gateway for foster youth to realize their untapped potential. I commend GCU for extending this generous offer to these young adults.”
Nationwide, fewer than 10% of youth in foster care graduate with a four-year degree. The Fostering Futures Scholarships are funded by GCU scholarships with state and federal funding resources. In addition to the cost of higher education, housing stability is among the biggest challenges for youth aging out of foster care. It provides recipients with a year-round home as well as the opportunity to begin their adult life without any student debt.
The program will also incorporate additional support elements such as free tutoring, access to student worker jobs, mentoring, life skills programming designed to acclimate foster students into college life, and post-graduation planning assistance to help envision their path ahead.
“We strive to ensure that private, Christian education is within reach for all – and students who have aged out of the state’s foster care system should be no exception,” said GCU President Brian Mueller. “Our affordable tuition and room and board rates help make this opportunity possible, and we already have faculty, staff and students on campus who are familiar with the foster care system. With the right support system in place, these students have the tools to earn a college degree without incurring any debt and set themselves up to achieve great things in their adult lives.”
The first Fostering Futures Scholarships are scheduled to be awarded for the 2022-23 academic year.
“Obtaining a college degree is difficult for every young adult, but especially so for youth in foster care, who face additional barriers,” said DCS Director Mike Faust. “But foster youth are profoundly resilient and can flourish if they are given the tools and support they need. GCU’s scholarship program will help remove the barriers so foster youth can succeed in college and life. We are honored to partner with GCU on this scholarship program and are grateful for their continued commitment to Arizona’s foster youth.”
Governor Ducey has prioritized ensuring all caregivers have the support they need.
In 2016, Governor Ducey signed “Jacob’s Law” to ensure easier, better access to behavioral health care for Arizona foster kids and families. He also signed legislation to remove the “grandmother penalty” to ensure that grandparents aren’t financially punished for taking in their grandchild.
The fiscal year 2018 budget increased funding for kinship caregivers, creating the “grandmother stipend.” Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, financial support for kinship families was raised from $0 to $75 a month per child regardless of family income.