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Rep. Jarrells Announces Unanimous Passage of Foster-to-College Scholarship Act

June 7, 2023
Dontavius L. Jarrells News

COLUMBUS – Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Dontavius L. Jarrells (D-Columbus) today announced the House Higher Education Committee’s unanimous passage of the Foster-to-College Scholarship Act (HB 164). If enacted, this legislation would provide full college scholarships for any Ohioan who was in foster care after their 13th birthday.

“For foster children, adversity, hardship, and disadvantage come baked in,” said Rep. Jarrells. “As leaders in our state, it is our duty to do everything in our power to protect and support this vulnerable population of Ohioans, and that is exactly what HB 164 intends to do.”

According to national data, Ohio is in the bottom 10% of states in the nation for foster children when it comes to the following: the likelihood of graduating from high school or getting a GED, likelihood of obtaining employment, likelihood of being enrolled in school, and likelihood of being incarcerated or having a criminal record

In addition, 35 other states, including Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, currently offer scholarships to students who’ve gone through foster care. A study of Texas’ scholarship program showed that their foster students in the program were 3.5 times as likely to complete their degree as peer students. Research also shows that students who know they can pay for college are more likely to aspire to attend – and aspiring to attend college makes students more likely to keep their grades up and stay in school.

“Beyond this data, the most compelling arguments for HB 164 come from the powerful testimonies we’ve received from former foster children themselves,” said Rep. Jarrells. “Not only is it time for us to bring Ohio into line with the majority of states that already provide scholarships to foster children, but it is also time for us to bring Ohio into line with our own values – which promise every Ohioan, no matter their life circumstance, the opportunity to achieve greatness.”

The Foster-to-College Scholarship Act now awaits a vote on the House Floor.