Vermont ranks sixth in the nation for the percentage of youths in foster care, and a 2006 study found that only about 10 percent of youths who have grown up in the foster-care system enroll in some form of post-secondary education. To better serve Vermont's foster kids, the College of St. Joseph in Rutland has launched STEPS, or Students Taking an Effective Path to Success, to help them transition to college. The program, the first of its kind, not only provides eligible students with an extensive financial aid package to pay for academic coursework, but also provides them with the tools they need to succeed, such as counseling services, year-long room and board, and career counseling and internship placements. Three students were enrolled into the program this academic year, which in addition to receiving more than $80,000 in private donations is also receiving direct funding from the state Department of Children and Families. To learn more, contact Emily Flewelling, communication coordinator at the College of St. Joseph, at (802) 773-5900, ext. 3290.
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