“Ohio Reach Postsecondary”

COLUMBUS, OH, May 18, 2023 – In recognition of the importance and value of increasing access to higher education for foster care-connected students, Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) Chancellor Randy Gardner has announced a new designation for colleges, universities, and Ohio Technical Centers working to make their campus inclusive of those students.

The “Ohio Reach Postsecondary” designation will be awarded to those campuses meeting “foster friendly” criteria that depict their support of students with experience in foster care or kinship. Ohio Reach is a network of professionals, advocates, and students across Ohio determined to support former foster youth on their education journey. Ohio Reach, administered through the Ohio Children’s Alliance, provides resources to institutions of higher education, child welfare agencies, and foster care alumni enrolled in higher education to support their academic success.

“Ohio takes pride in offering numerous opportunities when it comes to higher education options, and in making those options available to all students,” Chancellor Gardner said. “This designation, similar to our Collegiate Purple Star designation for military-connected students, will recognize those colleges, universities, and Ohio Technical Centers that go above and beyond to support those students with foster care connections.”

Criteria for receiving the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation, recommended by the Ohio Reach Coalition with input from alumni of care through the Ohio Youth Action Board, include:

  • A designated campus liaison
  • Champions in various campus departments
  • The ability to connect students to resources
  • Basic needs, food, and housing
  • Community-building opportunities for students
  • Targeted outreach to students, and efforts made to identify and support them
  • Expanding the eligibility of on-campus services
  • Staff training on working with alumni of foster care
  • Succession/transition planning
  • Data collection
  • Mentorship

More information and the application for the Ohio Reach Postsecondary designation can be found at https://highered.ohio.gov/ohio-reach.