University Times

Grad 2025: Initiating Success

CSU’s Graduation 2015 Initiative helps students to graduate amid difficult circumstances.

Demontae+Thompson
Demontae Thompson

Demontae Thompson

Facebook/Demontae Thompson

Facebook/Demontae Thompson

Demontae Thompson

Mike Nelson, Staff Reporter

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Foster kids are far less likely to enroll in and graduate from college, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The CSU Graduation 2025 Initiative is a program intended to help students graduate and ensure they receive the necessary opportunities in order to succeed in school.

Part of this initiative includes helping former foster youth, as well as providing resources to students who wish to attend a higher education institution. Specifically, support includes: housing, peer support and financial aid.

According to the CSU website, 93 percent of foster youth say that they want to attend college, but only 20 percent actually ever do attend a four-year university. Furthermore, 3 percent of them actually graduate with a degree.

Cal State Northridge alumnus Demontea Thompson has been a foster youth since birth; he spoke of his experiences as an Educational Opportunity Student (EOP) Student:

“We had liaisons in every part of campus. Being Resilient Scholars meant we had special access and a network of support. The generosity of administrators on campus inspired me to change my major from business to student affairs so that I could help others like me.”

The Resilient Scholars Program is a peer-support organization that helps students who need the emotional support to attend school.

Thompson ended up going to USC for his Master’s Degree for administration and student affairs. Today, he serves as the Resident Director of Housing at Cal State LA. He spoke about what he hopes to achieve as director:

“My goal is to change the narrative of foster youth. I acknowledge that there aren’t a lot of people in higher education that look like me, so when I see others who look like me, I want to lift them up.”

In similar fashion, University of California campuses participate in the campus support program, College Pathways, which serves to guide foster students through higher education and helping them achieve their academic goals.

Success stories like Demontea Thompson are an inspiration for many foster youths. These CSU programs continue to develop and benefit more students each year. For those who don’t know of these options, they may be left to fend for themselves. However, those who learn have resources at their disposal. To learn more about how CSU helps foster youths, please visit: https://www2.calstate.edu/attend/student-services/foster-youth.

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Grad 2025: Initiating Success