students reading and smiling on a bench


Mentorship, Access, and Guidance in College (MAGIC) helps students who have experienced foster care graduate from college, by removing barriers that interfere with academic success and the process of becoming an interdependent adult.

MAGIC Offers EMU Students

  • Mentorship Expand dropdown
    • Consistent coaching support
    • Help connecting to a mentor and support network
    • Connection to students from similar backgrounds
    • Opportunities for student leadership and engagement
    • Participation in statewide and national networking events
    • A program model which emphasizes interdependence over independence
  • Access Expand dropdown
    • University liaisons to help navigate questions and concerns
    • Educational and employment opportunities
    • Assistance applying for scholarships, resources and career-related opportunities 
    • Emergency financial assistance for active participants
    • Campus and community resources
  • Guidance in College Expand dropdown
    • Personal, professional and academic support
    • Monthly Life Skills Workshops
    • Assistance navigating campus and community life
    • Financial literacy and support

While 70% of young people who spent time in foster care plan on going to college, the experience of foster care can make it exceedingly difficult for students to be successful on campus. Because of this, only about 2% of students from foster care complete a Bachelor’s degree by the time they turn 26 compared to 24% of the general population (Courtney et al, 2011). In addition, only 11% of young women and 5% of young men who experienced care will attain Associate's degrees (Courtney et al, 2010).

Some of the most common barriers these students face are:

  • Homelessness:
    • 25–36% of foster care youth are homeless after aging out, compared to 2.6% of the 18–24 aged population in the U.S. (Courtney et al, 2011)
    • Over 30% of alumni of foster care report episodes of homelessness before the age of 26. (Courtney et al, 2010)
  • Lack of financial support:
    • The mean income for alumni of foster care is $13,989 compared to a mean income of $32,312 for the general population. (Courtney et al, 2011)
    • 48% of alumni of foster care are employed, compared to 80% of the general population. (Courtney et al, 2011)
    • 57% of alumni of foster care indicated that they lacked individuals to lend them money in the event of an emergency. (Courtney et al, 2011)
    • Fewer than half of alumni of care have bank accounts, making them vulnerable to predatory lending practices and paycheck cashing shops. (Courtney et al, 2011)
  • Physical and mental health concerns (like trauma): the rates of post-traumatic stress syndrome among alumni of foster care were higher than among war veterans. (Courtney et al, 2011)
  • Lacking basic life skills and resources (like documentation). (Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative, 2007)

Want more information about MAGIC, the program's impact and research?

  • MAGIC in the News  Expand dropdown
  • Student and Community Member Testimonials Expand dropdown
    "The EMU MAGIC program is one of Michigan’s exemplary campus-based support programs for students who have experienced foster care. Program staff and campus champions provide high quality coaching and mentoring, extensive outreach, and have built a strong support network for MAGIC participants. Since their inception, the EMU MAGIC program has partnered with students, creating student leaders who inspire others as they transform their lives and pave the way for brighter futures for all students who experience foster care." — Maddy Day, Director of Outreach and Training, Center for Fostering Success

    "Last year I was privileged to be invited to the EMU’s Commencement by one of our multi-year scholarship recipients. For the past four years we have watched from afar as this young woman moved from foster care to EMU where she received personalized supports from the Mentorship Access Guidance in College (MAGIC) program. Her transition from foster care to college freshman, to upper classman, to college graduate and now to graduate school student was remarkable. Of course the specialized support services provided by MAGIC were essential to her academic success, but attention to providing caring and trusted relationships between students and staff seems the hallmark of this program. Too many capable young adults from foster care enroll in higher education only to feel lost and alone. MAGIC welcomes students to a safe and supportive environment where important relationships develop. It provides a supportive community where dreams of college success can and do become a reality. What a wonderful day this was!" — John Emerson, Postsecondary Education Advisor, Casey Family Programs

    "MAGIC and their staff are instrumental supports in a student’s transition into independence on a college campus. They wear a variety of hats for their students (whatever is needed actually!) and are always accessible to us in partnership!" — Tanya Maki, ETV Coordinator, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan

    "I appreciate MAGIC so much, words can't explain how much a big help the program is." — Kyla, EMU MAGIC student

    "I am always going to keep thriving, especially with the support that I have from the MAGIC coaches. They are always looking out for me." — Corbin, EMU MAGIC alumnus

Read Corbin's Story

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