Athens, Ga. – The J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development will host an inaugural Embark Georgia Leadership Conference on college access and resources for students who have experienced foster care or homelessness.
The conference will be held May 18-19 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education.
Embark Georgia is a statewide network of support for young people who are or have been in foster care or homeless and are enrolled or interested in attending any postsecondary educational institution in Georgia.
As of November 2016, 13,070 young people were in foster care in Georgia, according to state statistics. According to research by Casey Family Programs, 84 percent of youth with foster care experience want to go to college. About 20 percent actually enroll and far fewer complete a degree. Foster youth are three times more likely to persist in college if they participate in a campus support program.
The conference is open to higher education professionals, high school professionals, case managers, homeless liaisons, private foster care professionals, and any other interested community partners.
More than 140 people have registered.
“Support has been phenomenal,” said David Meyers, a public service associate at the Fanning Institute.
The conference will include simulations and breakout sessions on a variety of topics, such as financial and social supports for students, how campus and community organizations can structure targeted support for students, and challenges the students face.
Attendees will also have a chance to network with each other.
“That’s really one of the big goals, to bring folks together who serve these populations independently, but get them together in one room so they can learn from each other and share with each other about how they do what they do,” Meyers said.
On Friday, May 19, attendees will hear from keynote speaker Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University. Goldrick-Rab also founded the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, the nation’s only translational research laboratory seeking ways to make college more affordable. She also is author of “Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.”
Goldrick-Rab is an expert on financial aid and higher education, an issue particularly important to students who have experienced or are experiencing foster care or homelessness, said Lori Tiller, a public service assistant at the Fanning Institute.
“She is a national leader right now in the conversation in how financial aid and financial aid debt affects students and how that is changing within higher education,” Tiller said.
To learn more or to register go to http://bit.ly/2os6lYO