CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas waives college tuition for young people in the foster care system who choose to continue their education after high school.
“If we didn't have that I don't even know where we would all be,” said Brittany Federico, a foster youth.
Now, the Texas A&M college system is extending that help by creating a ‘SIL’ or Supervised Independent Living’ program.
Dozens of teenagers in the foster care system took a private tour around Texas A&M-Kingsville and learned not only about how they could get free college tuition, but also money for housing and personal expenses.
The SIL program is wonderful it actually pays tuition and fees, it pays room and board, it also pays for a $90 stipend for students, $50 for a cell phone and $40 to pay for hygiene products,” said Jennifer Alaniz.
Christy Haigood with Child Protective Services says the SIL program helps young adults who are aging out of the foster care system, get the financial aid they need to pursue higher education.
We make sure they have the tuition waiver, we make sure that they have the training voucher that they need, and we make sure that they can get into the SIL program,” said Haigood.
Through the SIL program foster youths can receive benefits until they are 21 years old.
Something Brittany Federico says is crucial to a young person finishing a degree plan.
“When you go to college you get a better job that pays good and so you can provide for yourself and you just don't want to only get minimum wage like it’s a big deal to pursue and go to college,” said Federico.
Many young people in foster care are first generation college-goers, Haigood says letting them tour the campus will hopefully give them better insight into what life could be like as a college student in south Texas.
“We want them to go to college we want them to be successful we want them to be productive members of society,” said Haigood.
The SIL program first started at TAMU-K and TAMU-CC, it has now expanded to several other Texas A&M university system schools as well as UTSA.