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Fostering Panther Pride

To address the needs of students coming from former foster care and/or homeless backgrounds, FIU has launched an initiative to offer appropriate and customized services that will provide these students with opportunities to succeed academically and graduate in good standing from a top-tier public research university. Nearly one third of former foster care and homeless youth attending FIU are on academic probation with GPAs less than 2.0.

The struggles of these students reflect the nationwide challenges this particular population faces. These students lack a support system to effectively achieve their goals. They lack knowledge of how to navigate the higher education system and to finance their studies, struggle to support themselves with food and shelter, and often suffer from severe mental and emotional challenges as a result of childhood trauma.

Leveraging Our Resources

Fostering Panther Pride will leverage the expertise and resources of community-based organizations such as the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Educate Tomorrow, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Voices for Children, Chad Moss Construction and HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected and Disadvantaged Youth) to better serve the needs of these students and together create a strong residual impact on our youth.

Fostering Panther Pride is comprised of five components

  • College Coach: To serve as the contact person to provide students with a support system and help them navigate the university’s resources. The College Coach will be responsible for organizing customized outreach focused on financial aid, study skills, internships and other services that will assist students in graduating with an FIU degree.
  • Mentoring Program: students will be assigned a trained mentor to help guide them through their undergraduate journey.
  • Student Academic Assistance: high school seniors will have an opportunity to participate in the Golden Scholars Bridge Program, a summer transition academy for those needing one area of remediation to be admitted to FIU.
  • First Generation Scholars: $100,000 in scholarships over the next five years has been secured for students who are first in their family to receive a college degree.
  • Research: Fostering Panther Pride will help FIU faculty identify best practices to assist the population of homeless and foster care youth, producing a replicable model for other communities.

Fostering Panther Pride in Progress

Through generous contributions from Educate Tomorrow, the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, The Miami Foundation, Voices for Children, Chad Moss Construction, HANDY, Inc., FIU’s Office of The Provost and Vice Provost Steven V. Moll, FIU has hired a full-time college coach who will further develop and manage the several components of this initiative.

Contact Information

Ana Ramos, MSW, RCSWI 
Office of Student Access and Success
Program Director 
PC 249-C


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