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NYC will cover tuition fees for homestay students

New York City will cover tuition and housing for homestay students, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday.

The new program, called “College Choice,” will provide up to $15,000 per year, after financial aid, to cover the remaining tuition fees for homestay town teens at any college in their choice, whether in New York or beyond. The initiative will also cover housing costs and provide a $60 per diem to help students pay for food and books.

“A young person in foster care can attend the college of their choice without having to worry about the financial nightmare,” said Jess Dannhauser, commissioner of the Children’s Services Administration, which oversees the child welfare system. childhood of the city.

City children removed from their homes by child welfare authorities and placed in the foster care system have the poorest academic performance of any student group.

According to a recent study of the city’s Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence.

The transition from foster care to higher education and careers can be particularly difficult, advocates say.

According national research compiled by the American Bar Associationonly 18% to 38% of host families across the country go on to enroll in post-secondary education, even though more than 70% of those students have expressed an interest in higher education.

During the mayoral campaign, Adams promised to make homestay students a priority of his administration. With the city council, he increased funding for the Fair Futures Programwhich offers students leaving a host family individual coaches.

Adams also pledged to pursue an idea proposed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to launch the first-ever office solely dedicated to homestay students at the city’s Department of Education. However, hiring for this office has went slower than expected.

“My North Star was seeing a program like this,” Adams said at a news conference Tuesday.

The program builds on a previous initiative by the city’s Children’s Services Administration that subsidized tuition and provided additional financial support to students primarily at CUNY colleges, Dannhauser said.

“Today’s announcement brings this program to a major milestone,” Dannhauser said.

Eligible students can get up to $15,000 per year in tuition and fees, in addition to their normal financial aid. The money is valid at public and private colleges and two- and four-year colleges. For the 230 students already enrolled in the program this year, that’s enough to cover full tuition, Dannhauser said.

Students will also receive money to pay for housing, a daily allowance for other expenses, and tutoring and counseling from the nonprofit New York Foundling.

About half of the students currently participating attend CUNY colleges, Dannhauser said.

Chantal Hinds, policy entrepreneur and homestay student advocate at Next100, said “anything that can help students bridge financial gaps in college is helpful.” But she cautioned that there is still a lot of work to be done to support homestay students through the K-12 education system to ensure students make it through to graduation. secondary education in the first place.

Sanjida Afruz, a student at City College who is participating in the new initiative, said the funding allowed her to “just focus on my goals and my studies… without having to worry about my financial situation.”

“I am here today in front of you to prove that it is possible,” she said.

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