Bridging the divide between foster care and higher education
The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to creating educational opportunities for youth aging out of foster care. Every year, more than 700 children in Arizona age out of foster care on their 18th birthday. National research shows that only one in four of these young adults will complete a certificate or degree program and only three percent (that’s three out of one hundred) will complete a four-year degree. These youth over the age of 18 are also more likely to face prison, become homeless, and have a harder time holding a steady job as an adult.
None of these statistics means these students aren’t smart, capable, and strong. It’s about their life circumstances. The Maricopa Community Colleges, in partnership with the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, have created the Bridging Success Initiative, which provides educational opportunities to support the transition to successful adulthood.
Students supported by the Bridging Success Initiative will have access to the many resources of the Maricopa Community Colleges including tutoring, academic counseling, career planning, skill development as well as additional support they may need.
At each college there are staff and faculty who have received training about the potential challenges a youth aging out of care may face. These staff and faculty are committed to helping students take the next step in their education and advocating for their success. Look for this symbol to find an advocate at
any of the Maricopa Community Colleges.
The Bridging Success Initiative focuses on three main areas:
The Maricopa Community Colleges are creating supportive environments at all of its locations. There are staff dedicated to supporting students aging out of foster care, so students can stay focused on completing their goals.
Helping students to complete their academic goals. Completing a degree/certificate leads to greater overall earning potential. Our students will have the support they need to succeed in higher education, whether they want to be a forensic scientist, welder, nurse, or if they want an associate’s degree.
Going to a new school is not easy. Not only do our students gain the education and skills they need to transfer to a four-year school, they have the opportunity to connect with the staff from Arizona State Universities Bridging Success Program. This connection will support a smooth transfer to the university.
Click here if you are a student who was in foster care
Click here if you want more information on how to support students in foster care who are pursuing a college dream
The purpose of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) Foster Youth Student Success Initiative is to increase the college going and completion rate among students aging out of the foster care system. MCCCD seeks to increase our service to foster care youth through community engagement, student services and support and alignment of existing programs and resources supporting college access and success.