ACS, Mayor Adams, CUNY and CCNY announce College Choice program to help cover college expenses for foster care students

New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) Commissioner Jess Dannhauser, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, The City University of New York (CUNY) and The City College of New York announced “College Choice,” a program that will provide college students in foster care with greater support systems, including financial support, so they can attend the college of their dreams without having to worry about the hefty price tag.

As part of the program, ACS will help pay remaining costs of college tuition— up to $15,000 each year — in addition to any room and board not covered by a student’s financial aid package. College students in foster care will also receive a $60 daily stipend per year, which can be used towards food, clothing, transportation, and more.

“College Choice will provide college students in foster care with the support they need to complete their college education successfully and attend the school of their choice, regardless of cost," said Mayor Adams. "This new program provides our young people in foster care help in covering up to $15,000 in tuition costs each year not covered by financial aid, as well as room and board, and even provides a daily stipend for food or clothes. Growing up has never been more challenging, so we are holding up the torch to support our young people. No students’ chances for success should depend on factors outside of their control. Now, our youth in foster care can attend a community college, a CUNY, a SUNY, an Ivy League, an HBCU, or any other school they dream of without worrying about how they pay for their education.”

All youth in foster care will additionally be able to keep the coaching they already receive through “Fair Futures,” which has provided thousands of youth in foster care, ages 11 to 21, with dedicated coaches and tutors since 2019. The Adams’ administration recently expanded Fair Futures for youth ages 21-26. Further, the New York Foundling — a non-profit social service organization that supports young people in foster care— will provide students with tutoring, career counseling, and other related services.

“City College, like all CUNY schools, has an astounding track record in promoting social mobility, especially among vulnerable populations,” said CCNY President Vincent Boudreau. “The College Choice Program represents a unique opportunity for effective partnerships with ACS. A partnership that is precisely aligned with our deepest held values and core competencies, and we are truly excited at the chance to play a role in this exciting program.”

College Choice builds off the Adams’ administration’s investments in upstream solutions and deep commitment to improving educational outcomes for youth in foster care, and helping ensure they lead healthy, productive, and self-sufficient adult lives. All full-time college students in foster care will be eligible for the benefits as long as they have applied for financial aid, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, and participate in any academic support programs for which they’re eligible. Benefits will be available for a maximum of three years for an associate degree or five years for a bachelor’s degree.

College Choice will offer all full-time college students in foster care the following benefits covered by ACS:

  • Tuition and mandatory fees (up to $15,000 per year), that are not covered by a student’s financial aid award.
  • The cost of room and board.
  • A stipend of $60 per day to cover food and other expenses while attending school. This benefit is also available for up to six months after graduation from college.
  • Students attending a college or university in New York City can choose to live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in one of the following six housing options: The Towers at The City College of New York; The Summit at Queens College; Hunter College Residence Hall (Only for students attending Hunter College); International House of New York; 92Y Residence; and Outpost-Club Student Housing in New York City
  • Students attending in-person classes at a college or university outside of New York City can live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in safe and appropriate off-campus private housing.
  • Students enrolled only in online classes at a college or university can live in housing sponsored by that college or university, or in any of the six housing options for New York City students.
  • Students who want to stay in college/university housing during the summer are required to be engaged in meaningful summer activities (such as participating in an internship or taking classes).
  • Students can receive tutoring, career counseling, and related support provided online and in-person by New York Foundling staff.
  • Students can maintain their Fair Futures coach while in college.

 “With the Dorm Project, I was able to pursue my dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees without having to worry about my financial situation. I was really able to just focus on my goals and my studies. The College Choice program is now a resource available to all youth in care if they choose to pursue higher education,” said Sanjida Afruz, student participant in College Choice at City College. “The College Choice program essentially says that young people in foster care can and should dream big. With time and evident passion from people, like Mayor Adams and Commissioner Dannhauser, we are seeing changes that we have advocated for, and it makes me happier than ever.”

For more information and to read the full release, please click here.

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.8% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Ashley Arocho
p: 212.650.6460