Great Expectations – The Road to the Finish Line: Support for Youth

The Road to the Finish Line:
Support for Youth in Post Secondary Settings
Great Expectations
An Initiative of Virginia’s Community Colleges & the
Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
About Great Expectations
• Serves foster youth 13 – 24, in both high school and college.
• Focuses on the value of a college education as the best way to
gain employment and achieve independence.
• Provides education and employment opportunities that will
improve the likelihood of success for foster youth.
• Offers individual support for at-risk foster teens as they finish
high school, leave their foster homes and transition to
postsecondary education and living on their own.
About Great Expectations
Launched in 2008 at 5 Virginia Community Colleges.
Now offered at 15 of the 23 community colleges; 2
additional colleges joining in 2012.
J. Sargeant Reynolds
John Tyler
Lord Fairfax
Mountain Empire
New River
Northern Virginia
Patrick Henry
Piedmont Virginia
Southside Virginia
Southwest Virginia
Virginia Highlands
Great Expectations Services
• Help with the college admissions/financial aid
• Resource Center
• Personal counseling and individual tutoring
• Career exploration and coaching; job preparation
• Mentoring (by college staff, college peers and community volunteers)
• Special programs, e.g. life skills, healthy relationships
• Emergency and incentive Funds
• Online Best Practices Forum
Starting a New Program
• Support of the college’s admin.
• Special training for Campus
• Coordination with other depts.
(e.g. financial aid, student
success, counseling, tutoring)
• Special programs
• Emergency funds
• Part-time Campus Coaches
• Recruiting students in rural
• Building awareness of the
program in the community
• Setting boundaries
• Lack of housing
• Transportation
It Takes a Team!
The Great Expectations Campus Coaches are the key!
Coaches are…..the go-to person who musters the other services available on
the campus and in the community for the students
The team includes….the high school career coaches, DSS workers
foster and adoptive parents, volunteer mentors
interns and work/study students, community supporters
College is within reach
Virginia’s Community Colleges have Tuition Grants available for foster
youth, former foster youth and special needs adoptees who have a high
school diploma or GED.
The Tuition Grant covers tuition and fees.
- Enrolls and maintains at least half-time credit in an academic program of at least 1
- Is a bona-fide resident of Virginia
- Meets the satisfactory standards of the college for federal aid programs- Has not been
previously enrolled full-time in a postsecondary program for more than 5
years and does not have a bachelor’s degree
- Demonstrates a financial need
Workforce Development Services
Career Coaches
Middle College
Virginia Career Readiness Certificate
Apprenticeship Related Instruction – working with sponsoring employers
Occupational Instruction (for certifications and licenses)
Institutes of Excellence (for high demand occupations)
Postsecondary Perkins (to continuously improve career/technical education)
Business & Industry - courses to meet VA professional and occupational
regulations for Engineers, Architects, Contractors, Land Surveyors, etc.
- Customized Training for more than 170 participating companies
- Virginia Education Wizard
For more information on VCCS Workforce Development:
Project Statistics
Served over 700 foster youth in the past 3 years
15 colleges currently participating
More than 500 enrolled in fall 2011 (67% college; 11% hs; 22% dual)
Hundreds of workforce development certification pgms. available
68 foster youth have earned workforce certificates
8% of those eligible have graduated with an associate’s degree or
workforce certification
66% of those in the high school program graduated
130 students are over 21
26 staff
Emergency funds have been used for housing, transportation, utility
bills, medical care, books and, in special cases, loss of financial aid.
Economic Analysis
“Measuring the Costs of Foster Care and the Return on Investment of the Great Expectations
Initiative,” produced by Chmura Economics&Analytics, provided these highlights:
• Costs of foster care include economic costs and social costs.
• The total annual costs for Virginia foster youth are estimated to have been $29.7
million in Virginia in 2010, or $41,460 per aging-out foster youth.
• Foster youth tend to have lower educational attainment, are more likely to utilize public
assistance, and are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system.
• Community college students who were foster youth achieved lower academic
performance than the VCCS student body at large. They were also more likely to have
part-time jobs while attending school than other students.
• The WIA (Workforce Investment Act) participants who were foster youth tended to
have lower educational attainment and lower skill levels than other WIA youth.
Economic Analysis
• On an individual level, each foster youth who drops out of high school costs the public
sector $209,100 over a lifetime due to lost wages and greater need for public support
services. (National Governor’s Association Report 2010)
• The Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, when
discussing college completion rates in general, found, “A single year’s college degree
production accounts for $349 million in Social Services cost savings to the
• Currently, there are more than 500 students enrolled in Great Expectations programs
across the state. If the programs are successful in eliminating the achievement gaps in
terms of economic and social outcomes, GE can save Virginia $10.1 million per
year, far more than the 1.5 million annual cost of the program.
What Our Students Say
“I want to become a chef and open my own restaurant.
Great Expectations is important because it shows there’s
a support system. Someone else is out there who cares
about helping you.”
- Heather, age 18
Contact Information
Carol Underhill
Project Director of Great Expectations
Virginia Community College System
101 N. 14th Street, 15th floor Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 819-5397
[email protected]
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