Doctor of Education (EdD)
Adult Education and Human Resource Development
First Advisor's Name
Tonette S. Rocco
First Advisor's Committee Title
Second Advisor's Name
Thomas G. Reio
Second Advisor's Committee Title
Third Advisor's Name
Third Advisor's Committee Title
Fourth Advisor's Name
Fourth Advisor's Committee Title
Fifth Advisor's Name
Fifth Advisor's Committee Title
former foster youth, emancipated foster youth, college, university
Date of Defense
The purpose of this collected papers dissertation was to examine former foster youth as they pursue college. Foster youth are known to attend and graduate college at a rate lower than their non-fostered peers. Understanding more about the journey of former foster youth as they pursue a college degree will help to understand what barriers are faced and what supports enhance their likelihood of enrollment and graduation.
Study #1, a structured literature review, examined the scholarly literature on former foster youth and college. Data were collected through a library database search and Google Scholar. Descriptive, demographic-type information was compiled and the article contents were analyzed to identify categories and themes. Four categories with several associated themes emerged: (a) issues that impact college success (associated themes – pre-college factors, barriers and supports, social capital/family, and mental health), (b) on-campus interventions (associated themes – delivery of programs and services and development of programs and services), (c) governmental impacts, and (d) effects of a college education on the adult outcomes of former foster youth.
Study #2, a phenomenological study, explored the experiences of 15 former foster youth as they considered, applied for, and attended college. Purposeful sampling was used, and data were collected through interviews. Five major themes emerged: (a) college aspirations, (b) utilization of resources, (c) connections with supportive adults, (d) obstacles to completing college, and (d) confidence of success.
This dissertation will help inform policy and practice of the resource needs and gaps, particularly tuition and housing, for former foster youth and strategies that can encourage, support, and increase their college enrollment and graduation. These findings may prompt further research on foster care factors that influence college attendance and the development of evidence-based, on-campus program strategies that improve the college graduation rate for former foster youth.
Gionti, Lori Ann, "Former Foster Youth and Their Pursuit of a College Degree" (2021). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4624.
Adult and Continuing Education Commons, Community College Leadership Commons, Developmental Psychology Commons, Education Policy Commons, Higher Education Commons, Social Justice Commons, Social Welfare Commons, Social Work Commons
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