By Rian Satterwhite, Director, Office of Service Learning & Leadership

In September 2018 the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) launched the Foster Youth Success Initiative and approved the Foster Youth Fee Waiver. To continue this important work, UNLV was recently successful in securing funding from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation to create a position and program to better support UNLV former foster youth through wrap-around services and to ensure that all who are eligible are taking advantage of the NSHE Foster Youth Fee Waiver.

The program will launch Fall 2020, with the anticipated hire of a new program coordinator in the Office of Service Learning and Leadership. Programs and services available to Fostering Scholars will include mentoring through The Intersection, personalized coaching and support, academic advising, specialized support from the UNLV School of Social Work, and connections to numerous community resources available throughout southern Nevada.

Nationally, Black, Hispanic, and other historically underserved and minoritized populations are disproportionately overrepresented in the foster system, and while some individuals have excellent experiences, oftentimes instability can create many challenges and a deficit of resources to draw upon in successfully completing college. UNLV is excited to more directly engage with and support these students in their pursuit of a degree with the launch of this new initiative.

Photo: Foster UNLV students Jewal Beats, left, and Debra Schuster, along with CSN student Faibeone Simeus attend a roundtable discussion at NSHE on how to provide higher education opportunities for foster students. (Jeff Scheid/Nevada Independent)