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Bridges to Higher Education
The Bridges to Higher Education Program was initiated to increase high school graduation rates and admission to college or trade school among foster youth participants. The Program provides support services to high school students in the foster care system interested in attending any form of higher education.

Interested students are matched with mentors who will provide help navigating high school and the college preparation process, and who will provide support and assistance with choosing relevant and appropriate post-secondary options. Students and their mentors may participate in activities such as going out to dinner, movies, bowling, etc., as well as researching higher education options, touring colleges, and attending workshops. Students and mentors are encouraged to take advantage of the Independent Living Program (ILP) workshops as well as workshops and activities specific to the Bridges to Higher Education Program.

Interested students can be referred to the program by their social workers, foster parents, group home staff, school counselors, therapists, etc. Students may also self-refer. Students may begin the application process in the spring of 8th grade to allow for time to be matched before entering high school. However, students may apply to the program at any time during their four years of high school. Students applying in the spring of their senior years are accepted on a case-by-case basis. To be eligible for the program, students must be identified as either currently or previously “in the system,” must be identified as being interested in and able to benefit from having an educational mentor, and must be interested in attending any form of higher education.

As a Bridges Student, youth receive:

  • Enhanced college and career exposure
  • Assistance with proper class selection
  • Educational mentoring
  • Academic assessment and preparation for the demands and opportunities of higher education
  • Tutoring opportunities
  • Facilitated college preparation activities

To learn more about the program, please call toll free (866) OCF4Kids (866-623-4543) ext. 255.


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