group of adolescents talking in study group

IFF Fellows

Youth with experience in foster care face extraordinary challenges in their path to adulthood. Nationwide, half of children in foster care finish high school and only 5% graduate college. More than half need governmental assistance within five years of the child welfare system and 50% will have no steady income.

Many youth with foster care backgrounds will experience the college campus as their primary “home,” often the first consistent community of support they’ve had. University residences can be their only housing option and interrupted experiences in school and inconsistent caregiver relationships impact the preparation and support for their transition.

IFF is ensuring that these remarkable young people create the future they deserve. Only 1 in 20 youth from foster care graduates from college nationally. 14 in 20—more than 70%—of IFF Fellows graduate from Rutgers.

fellows graduation rate vs. foster care national average

How do I become a Fellow?

Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate students between the ages of 18-24, attending Rutgers full-time on the New Brunswick or Camden campuses
  • Current or former experiences in foster care or child welfare/child protection, or
  • Participation in the Kinship Legal Guardianship (KLG) Program, and/or
  • Homeless or unaccompanied youth (i.e., student would be homeless without option for campus residence, group home, etc.).

Apply to join our Fellows community.

happy group of college friends on campus

How can I support these programs?

TO MAKE A DONATION, please visit this website.

Volunteers with specialized knowledge often facilitate Fellows workshops. If you have expertise in a particular area that may benefit student development, please contact us. Past workshops have included money management, health and wellness, career readiness and professional networking, and resume writing.

Learn more about the IFF Fellows Program.

Learn about programming on the Camden Campus.

View the 2022-2023 IFF Fellows Summary Report.

Learn about funding opportunities for the IFF Fellows Program.

four students in rutgers graduation cap and gowns

Fellows Funding Opportunities

  • $5,000

    provides summer housing for a student who would otherwise be homeless OR offers housing assistance for several students over semester breaks.

    $3,500

    supports tuition and materials for a three-credit summer course not covered by financial aid OR gap funding for tuition costs not covered during the fall and spring.

    $2,500

    sponsors a paid internship that offers career prep and professional experience.

    $1,250

    engages 20 students for an educational and life-skills session with peers sharing similar life histories OR provides one student with a study abroad experience as enjoyed by the larger student community.

    $750

    provides emergency assistance for unexpected, basic needs like airline, bus and train tickets, health care costs, auto repairs and housing deposits.

    $500

    provides textbooks and academic supplies to one student in support of their course caseload.

    $250

    assists with the purchase of a graduation cap and gown or graduation school application fees.

    $100

    provides emergency food assistance during the academic year. Allows a student to purchase professional clothing for interviews and internships.

    $35

    offers a gift to support basic needs like groceries, personal hygiene, or health care appointment co-pay.

Partners

IFF has convened a coalition of “Campus Champions” for youth transitioning from foster care to higher education, bringing together Rutgers faculty, staff, alumni, and services. These Champions are working to improve how the university supports access and opportunities for former foster youth.

Our Campus Champions are represented by the following Rutgers resources and units:

    • Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) represented by Michelle Shostack, Shornna Berkeley, Lissette Herrera, and Matthew West
    • TRIO Programs represented by Brandon Quiles
    • Student Affairs Rutgers-Camden represented by Mary Beth Daisey
    • Chancellor’s Office of DEI and Civic Engagement represented by Nyeema Watson
    • Office of Student Academic Success represented by Randi Mayers, Jonice Arthur, Marsha Lowery, Ajeenah Nuriddin-Little, and Erin Leuthold
    • Offices of Financial Aid represented by Wendy Karch, Lakeycha Vellon-Cortes, and Sarah Carrero
    • Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance represented by Rebecca Vasquez and Laura Luciano
    • Student Wellness Services represented by Dr. Daniel Lee, Angela Boyd, and Madrid Moore
    • Career Center represented by Miranda Spina
    • Learning Centers represented by Stacey Blackwell and Angela DeRocini
    • Dean of Students Offices represented by Kerri Willson, Sybil James and Amanda Holloway
    • Student Accounting, Billing and Cashier Services represented by Toby Rankins and Laura Grinzo
    • Department of Plant Biology represented by Mark Gregory Robson
    • SAS Office of Advising & Academic Services represented by Vanessa Ortiz
    • SOE Office of Student Access and Inclusion represented by Anna Mae S. Dinio-Bloch
    • Division of Life Sciences - Office of Undergraduate Instruction represented by Martha Haviland
    • Division of Enrollment Management represented by Courtney McAnuff and Lauren Olsen
    • Office of Student Conduct represented by Michelle Jefferson
    • Department of Residence Life represented by Michael Tolbert
    • Rutgers Engineering represented by Michael Brown
    • Student Affairs Compliance and Title IX represented by Molly Rynn and Allison Wisniewski
    • Rutgers Gardens represented by Lauren Errickson

Contact Us

For more information on the IFF Fellows program, contact us at youth_development@ssw.rutgers.edu.