Housing Preferences for Former Foster Children

One of the many overlooked things that make college complicated—along with registering for classes and dealing with institutional food—is finding housing.

This is particularly difficult if students don’t have regular families supporting them back home. According to a piece by Larry Gordon in the Los Angeles Times, California’s public colleges are now giving housing preferences to students who grew up as foster children:

For… hundreds of…former foster youths attending California’s public universities, dorm rooms provide a much-needed stable residence. While classmates can retreat to childhood bedrooms and their families’ embrace, these students are often on their own and want to stay in their dorms during vacations.

More schools are allowing — and paying for — those students to live on campus year-round. A recently enacted state law, which is expected to have a major effect in the fall, requires that all Cal State and University of California schools give former foster youth priority for campus housing, even if dorm space is limited. Universities also must work toward providing housing without vacation interruptions.

California’s foster care system, in which minor children who are wards of the state are placed in the private houses, essentially cuts the children off from the system once they reach 18. This is troublesome for students who go to college because traditionally they had nowhere to go during vacations and other times when other students left college dormitories to go home.

Admittedly very, very few foster children ever make it to college currently. Only 3 percent of California foster children ever end up earning a bachelor’s degree.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer