Cougs come from all walks of life, including foster care. You can succeed at WSU Vancouver, and we're here to help.
"My advice to foster youth: Ask yourself, what is your dream? Then, know that it doesn't just have to be a dream. You can make it happen, and the tools and resources are available for you to succeed."
—Darien Chui, Passport Scholar, accounting and management information systems major
Designated support staff provide assistance and guidance. Our mission is to promote your academic and personal success. Call or email us.
- April Tovar—Campus Director, Student Financial Services
- Julie Mercado—Manager, Center for Intercultural Learning and Affirmation (CILA)
You can afford college! Students from foster care are eligible for many types of financial aid.
Visit Student Financial Services for information about financial aid, scholarships and other financial assistance.
Passport to College Promise Scholarship program
WSU Vancouver participates in Washington State’s Passport to College Promise Scholarship program. The program provides financial assistance and other support to help students from foster care attend and succeed in college.
Many scholarships are available just for students from foster care.
- College Bound Scholarship
- Passport to College Promise Scholarship
- Washington State Governors' Scholarship
- Casey Family Scholars Scholarship
- Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program
Learn about more scholarship opportunities.
"Through the scholarships that were awarded to me because I was in foster care, my tuition, books and living expenses were taken care of. This made my dream of college an actual possibility!"
—Corrina Gensitskiy, Passport Scholar, social science major
Additional foster-care resources
- Extended Foster Care Program—Eligible foster youth at age 18 can voluntarily agree to continue receiving foster-care services while they are in college.
- Independent Living Skills (ILS) Program
- Transitional Living Skills (TL) Program
- Supplemental Education Transition Planning Program (SETUP)—Foster youth can receive support, such as financial aid guidance and college application assistance, to prepare for college.
- Connect 2 Careers Program—Available through Educational Service District 112, the program helps young people from Clark and Cowlitz counties gain skills needed to find jobs.
Cougs from foster care
Corrina Gensitskiy—Passport Scholar
Hi. I am a first-generation college student. I am majoring in social science, which is basically the study of people and why people do what they do.
I am one of the younger kids from a family of 10. At age 15, I entered the foster care system. Before that, I had no hopes of attending college. Through the scholarships that were awarded to me because I was in foster care, my tuition, books and living expenses were taken care of. This made my dream of college an actual possibility!
I chose WSU Vancouver because I was born and raised in Vancouver and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. The campus is gorgeous and sits atop a hill with amazing views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. How many campuses can give you that kind of view? The university offers a wide variety of classes and class times, so I can design a class schedule that caters to my work hours.
After graduating, I plan to become a police officer. I volunteer for the Vancouver Police Department and, in summer 2016, I worked for the Police Activities League connecting kids with cops through fun activities.
Darien Chui—Passport Scholar, Passport Navigator
I am majoring in accounting and management information systems at WSU Vancouver. After transferring between several high schools—four of which were in Vancouver—I grew tired of moving around from place to place. That’s what made me decide I wanted to attend college locally. I started off at Clark Community College, where I obtained a general A.A. transfer degree with a focus on business. WSU Vancouver’s close ties with Clark helped make the transfer process smooth.
In my opinion, there are two things it comes down to when people feel they can’t pursue a college education: affordability and motivation to push further. But anyone who’s been in the foster care system for at least one year after their 16th birthday can almost guarantee that their education costs will be nearly completely covered, and, in many cases, 100 percent covered as long as you attend a school in Washington state. Aside from the financial support of the various scholarships and grants available for foster youth, I’ve had a tremendous amount of support from Independent Living Services, faculty and staff on campus, and several friends I’ve made at WSU Vancouver.
I’m open to change and pivots that may come along my path, but my current post-graduation plan is to work toward a career in cybersecurity or risk management in a public accounting firm.
My advice to foster youth: Ask yourself, what is your dream? Then know that it doesn’t just have to be a dream. You can make it happen, and the tools and resources are available for you to succeed. Yes, college isn’t for everybody, but college is not just for “smart” people. Find what drives and motivates you and run with it!