Are you struggling to pay for college? To find a community that cares about the same things you do? Looking for someone who will listen to your problems without judgment?

The organizations of the CUNY Foster Care Collaborative can help you pay for school, talk through personal challenges, and connect you with communities of students with similar experiences. We provide these resources with one goal in mind: helping you graduate from college.

CUNY Programs to Help You in Succeed in College

Black Male Initiative (BMI)

The CUNY Black Male Initiative (BMI) is intended to increase, encourage, and support the inclusion and educational success of under-represented groups in higher education, in particular, black men.

College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (COPE)

COPE is a partnership between CUNY and New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA). COPE help students meet college and HRA requirements so they can receive public assistance while balancing work and college.

McNair Scholars

The McNair Scholars program is designed to help you get your doctorate once you graduate from college. Services provided under the McNair Scholars Program includes the opportunity to engage in academic research, mentoring, academic advising, non-credit workshops, and stipends linked to the accomplishment of specific academic milestones.

Mental Health Counseling

The campus counseling centers provide high quality counseling and mental health services to students. If you’re struggling to adjust to college or to cope with issues in your personal life, you can turn to your college’s mental health counseling department.

Single Stop

Single Stop Program Coordinators can help you access public benefits, prepare your taxes, get financial counseling, and answer your legal questions. Visit the on-campus Single Stop office for help.

Student Support Services (SSS)

If you need assistance with college-level work and/or staying motivated in college, SSS can help address your needs.

CUNY Colleges with Student Support Services Programs:


Women’s Centers

The CUNY Women’s Centers provide comprehensive services that speak to the emotional, intellectual, physical and financial well-being of women.

Public and Community Programs to Help You Succeed in College



The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows youth who are discharged from foster care to remain on Medicaid (free, public health insurance) until age 26, regardless of income or resources.


Back to School Packages

The Back-to-School Package Programs provides college-enrolled youth in foster care with the tools needed to succeed in college. Youth receive $2,500 in supplies throughout their studies, including a laptop computer, printer, software, backpack, bed linens, toiletries, school supplies, and more.

Guardian Scholars

In partnership with New Yorkers for Children and the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, four CUNY schools have the Guardian Scholars program. Hostos, Hunter, John Jay, and Kingsborough provide foster students with stipends, one-on-one advisement, and coordinated access to campus and community resources.


iFoster is a national, non-profit organization that can help you get low-cost or no-cost services and resources. Sign up for a free iFoster membership and start getting personalized recommendations for resources that can help you succeed in college.

New Yorkers for Children Spirit Award

The Spirit Award is a $10,000 scholarship for one young person with a history in foster care in NYC who is succeeding at any 2- or 4-year college. The recipient will be a young person with outstanding leadership skills, a commitment to the community, and the determination and ability to succeed in college.

NYC College Line

NYC College Line can help connect you to the resources and services that can help you not only get into college, but also help you thrive once you’re there. You can search for programs, information, and resources and filter your search based on your individual needs.


Represent Magazine is one of the premiere venues for youth in care to share their stories with other youth in care. Written by youth in care for youth in care, this magazine provides insight into the challenges and triumphs of youth in or aging out of the foster care system. Represent is published by Youth Communication, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the social, emotional, and literacy skills of youth in care.


Written by youth with a history in foster care, you can find stories from people who also faced the triumphs and challenges of foster care. This website should be one of your first stops to learn about resources are available in the city and the community to help you with issues ranging from education and immigration to housing and health.