(The Center Square) – Arizona foster children will soon be able to receive a full scholarship at Grand Canyon University, Gov. Doug Ducey’s office announced.
Governor Ducey announced Thursday the Fostering Futures Scholarships program in partnership with the university and the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
The program will cover all tuition, fees, and year-round room and board for qualified Arizona foster children. It will go into effect at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
“With this program, Arizona’s foster kids will get the support they need to get a college degree,” Ducey said in a press release. “GCU’s commitment to academically supporting foster youth and providing them with year-round housing is a game-changer. This scholarship program offers a gateway for foster youth to realize their untapped potential.”
To be eligible for the program, students have to be Arizona residents in foster care as of age 17. They have to have either an open case with the Department of Child Safety or be enrolled in another foster care program. Additionally, they must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
The Fostering Futures program will be funded by GCU scholarships with state and federal funding resources.
Nationwide, fewer than 10% of youth in foster care end up earning a four-year college degree, according to the governor’s office.
GCU President Brian Mueller hopes that the program can boost that rate in the state.
“We strive to ensure that private, Christian education is within reach for all – and students who have aged out of the state’s foster care system should be no exception,” he said, according to the press release. “Our affordable tuition and room and board rates help make this opportunity possible, and we already have faculty, staff and students on campus who are familiar with the foster care system. With the right support system in place, these students have the tools to earn a college degree without incurring any debt and set themselves up to achieve great things in their adult lives.”