Across the nation, despite that 80% of those who have experienced time in foster care aspire to go to college, only about 20% will enroll in college and only about 2% will persist to graduate with a bachelor's degree, making young people who have experienced foster care one of the most underrepresented and underserved populations in higher education (Casey Family Programs, 2010). While being underrepresented on college campuses, young people who have experienced foster care, also experience higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, and teen pregnancy which can further inhibit their access to higher education.
Students who have experienced time in foster care are navigating multiple complex systems in order to access and achieve success in higher education. Recognizing these larger systemic concerns that create barriers to student success, the Blavin Scholars Program provides students who have experienced time in foster care with comprehensive support, from admissions through graduation, as they pursue a bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan.
Overcoming obstacles and achieving dreams, the Blavin Scholars Program has a 95% retention and graduation rate and has graduated 47 scholars. The Blavin Scholars Program has supported a total 88 students since Fall 2009 and this year the program is celebrating an enrollment of 42 Blavin Scholars!
In addition, to persisting and graduating at a rate well above the national average, the Blavin Scholars are achieving success during their time at U-M and beyond! Blavin Scholars have:
- Made the Dean's List and achieved high academic honors
- Engaged in academic research and department projects, including a Fulbright Scholar!
- Held internship positions and gained valuable career experience
- Studied abroad in countries including: Germany, Spain, Thailand, and Japan
- Served as student staff members across campus
- Participated in club, intramural, and varsity athletics
- Held leadership positions in student and community organizations
- Spoken at conferences across the nation and advocated for youth in foster care
- Attended graduate and professional schools
- Obtained gainful employment in their chosen field