New law aims to make college affordable for foster kids

 

A new state law set to take effect later this year aims to help kids in foster care get a college education.

The college dream could become a reality for foster children in Pennsylvania.

"It was a concern definitely money was a very big issue I'm also a first generation student," said Kutztown University student Sole Ruiz.

The Fostering Independence Through Education Act signed by Governor Tom Wolf waives tuition and fees for those eligible.

"Well we know nationally not many students from foster care go to college, and we know even more that they don't finish college," said Warren Hilton with Kutztown University.

Berks has been ahead of the curve in helping foster children get a higher education. Kutztown University, in partnership with ChildPromise, offers scholarships and housing opportunities for foster students.

Ruiz is one of those students.

"It's a lot more complicated than people think and it's really kind of frustrating sometimes," she said.

Some qualifications for the new waiver include students must have a high school diploma or GED, and be accepted by a school.

Kutztown University isn't the only local institution working to make access to education a little bit easier.

While not focusing on foster care students Alvernia is also stepping in to help.

"To identify ways to help students that are dealing with problems that accompany homelessness or foster care and helping them identify avenues to college," said Jay Worrall with Alvernia University.

The law will have a big impact on students.

"It makes us actually think that we can become something that a lot of people think we couldn't," said Ruiz.