Foster care and college: the educational aspirations and expectations of youth in the foster care system

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Issue Date
2013-09
Authors
Kirk, Chris Michael
Lewis, Rhonda K.
Nilsen, Corinne
Colvin, Deltha Q.
Advisor
Citation

Kirk, Chris M.; Lewis, Rhonda K.; Nilsen, Corinne; Colvin, Deltha Q. 2013. Foster care and college: the educational aspirations and expectations of youth in the foster care system. Youth & Society, v.45:no.3:pp.307-323

Abstract

Despite an overall increase in college attendance, low-income youth and particularly those in the foster care system are less likely to attend college (Wolanin, 2005). Although youth in foster care report high educational aspirations, as little as 4% obtain a 4-year college degree (Nixon & Jones, 2007). The purpose of this study is to explore differences in educational aspirations and expectations among foster care and nonfoster care youth and to explore key predictors of these differences. Using baseline data generated from Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), 1,377 youth were surveyed in regard to their future educational goals, academic self-perception, and level of social support. Results demonstrated that youth from the foster care system report lower educational aspirations and expectations, of which academic self-perception and parental support for education were the best predictors. Limitations and implications for future research will be discussed.

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