It is a sad reality that less than 3% of young people who live in foster care, group homes or other out-of-home arrangements have the opportunity to attend university. This is compared with approximately 40% of young people in their early twenties.
Many become caught in a cycle of disadvantage and, lose access to both education and much needed learning support.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation provides a unique tertiary scholarships program specifically for young people who have lived in out-of-home care, and are financially disadvantaged.
The national Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship program is the only scholarship program that targets the growing group of young people who live in out of home care, now estimated to be more than 40,000 nationally.
Some of these young people are the most disadvantaged in our community, having had a very traumatic start to life including going through multiple foster care or group care home placements.
Making tertiary education possible
Financial support is provided so that scholarship recipients can afford their study expenses such as textbooks, and also the cost of living on their own with no parental support. It means that they can study without needing to hold down multiple jobs at the same time.
Getting an education is personally empowering to these young people, giving them opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, and they in turn can become great role models to their family, friends and community.
Sisters of Charity Foundation, CEO, Reba Meagher says some of these young people are the most disadvantaged in our community, having had a very traumatic start to life including going through multiple foster care or group care home placements until they finally settle.
Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarships are currently in place at Deakin University, Western Sydney University, The University of Queensland, Macquarie University, The University of Notre Dame Sydney and Australia Catholic University.
Shantell Bennett, a recipient of a Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship at ACU is now two years into her Bachelor of Nursing. She explains, “Never in a million years would I have had the opportunity to attend university without this amazing scholarship. Foster children often don’t have anyone cheering for them and they are looked upon as burdens to society. “Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to break stereotypes for other young adults like me who are labeled a ‘foster child’ and thought of in a negative way. I am so happy that other young people will be able to also have this very real opportunity to turn their lives around.”
Take a look at some of the inspiring stories of our scholarship recipients: