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4 Philly Area Colleges Step Up To Help Foster Youth Succeed

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- College is a challenge for the best of students. But what if you are a foster child that has aged out of the system? Four local colleges are stepping up to lend a hand.

Temple, West Chester and Cabrini Universities and the Community College of Philadelphia want to help foster teens heading to college. The schools are partnering with the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Research tells us that 70-percent of foster youth aspire to go to college, yet they attend less than half the rate of their peers," said executive director Debra Schilling Wolf. "Once they get there, they have abysmal rates of dropping out."

Schilling Wolf says three factors are part of the failure rate: year round housing, food insecurity and emergency funds. She says all four schools now have services in place to help foster youth succeed.

At Cabrini University, the "Building Lives of Purpose" program, offers year round on-campus housing, a food pantry, and foster youth will soon be given special consideration for on-campus employment.

Community College of Philadelphia has identified 180 students who have transitioned from foster care at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. It is using single point-of-contact services to allow students to easily navigate obstacles like financial aid or basic living necessities.

Temple University is offering consistent, uninterrupted housing during the academic year for formerly foster youth and students at risk of homelessness.

And at West Chester, the university is also offering single point-of-contact for referrals and assistance. That includes school supplies, priority placement for work-study jobs, meal plan partnerships and housing.

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