Evolution of Higher Education Support Programs for Independent Students

In 1998, philanthropist Ron Davis and The Orangewood Children’s Foundation began the movement to help students who have experienced foster care by supporting three students at California State, Fullerton.  This initiative has now grown into the Guardian Scholars Program, which is currently working with 17 colleges.  

The critical support for these students and those in similar situations has spread, largely under the guidance and advocacy of Casey Family Programs.  Casey Family Programs developed and has continued to nurture a program called Supporting Success,  which employs a proven model for preparing, supporting, and launching these college students.  

As the movement spreads across the country, Michigan stands out for its commitment and leadership.  Fostering Success Michigan supports the current 14 and growing programs in the state.  Fostering Success Michigan is located on the campus of Western Michigan State, which is home to one of the largest programs for students who have aged out of the foster care system, Seita Scholars. The Seita Scholars Program currently supports up to 160 students at a time. Fostering Success Michigan has also launched a training program to standardize the work of the coaches who partner with each student on college campuses.  

Here in Massachusetts we have two programs designed to support local students who lack family support.  The UAccess program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Academic Support for College and Life at Bridgewater State University, which is run by the New England Home for Little Wanderers.

Our goal is to expand these services in the Greater Boston area and beyond.

Fostering Success Michigan has developed this interactive map of 72 programs around the country.  Click here to view the National Postsecondary Support Map.