Although Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation allowing young adults to remain in foster care until the age of 21, it is unclear how many students at MSU will be affected — no one really know how many former foster care students now attend the university.
Last week, Snyder signed a bill into law that allows Michigan children to remain in foster care three additional years, raising the maximum age from 18 to 21, saying it will give young adults additional cash assistance to get on their feet. The new law will expectably benefit a number of students here who were in foster care before coming to college.
“Young people in foster care need the same kind of support other 18-year-olds do as they navigate the crucial years leading up to age 21,” Snyder said in a statement. “The Fostering Connections legislation will give those who wish to receive it the extra assistance they need to become successful adults.”
But how many at MSU likely will never be known.
While university officials say it could help some students here, there is no existing record of how many foster-rasied children attend the university. Financial aid and application forms — one of the only accurate ways to track certain socioeconomic classes of students — don’t require students to disclose whether they are in foster care, although they may give the information voluntarily.
“They can identify, but they don’t have to,” said Val Meyers, associate director of the Office of Financial Aid. “We know we have some”
While the numbers are not clear, Meyers said the legislation has the potential to help numerous students at MSU who previously were in foster care.