A PROJECT OF THE County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency


Sucess is not dependent on education alone, but for most people, the better their education, the more successful they are likely to become. Statistics show that people with an education get promoted more and make more money over thier lifetime. Here are some basics:

High School Diploma or General Education Development (GED)

Even if you've dropped out of high school, there are still things you can do to get your diploma or GED. it's not as hard or won't take as long as you might think. Most employers prefer applicants have a high school diploma or GED. Check out this link for high school diploma or GED prep. 

Community College

The beauty of Community College is that anyone over the the age of 18 can attend. Community colleges offer classes at low costs for anyone interested in learning academic or career related subjects. As a former foster youth, you will not have to pay for taking classes at a community college in California. Talk with your ILS worker for more information. Check out this link for Foster Youth Liaisons at Community College in San Diego. 

Many people start their college education by taking classes to transfer to a university. They may also earn their two year Associates Degree or vocational certificate at a community college such as Cosmotology or Mechanics. Check out this link of Associate Degrees and career certifcate programs. 


Universities are public and priavate institutions that offer degrees called Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees. Universities cost more to attend but former foster youth are eligiable for specific scholarships and grants that reduce the costs of attendance. It can be cost effective to first attend a community college and enroll in the transfer program. Some Universities have year round housing for former foster youth, which make them a viable and cost effective option. Check out this link for support programs for foster youth at universities in San Diego. 

If you want to go straight from high school to a university, talk with your high school counselor about the entrance requirements, such as your A-G requirements, your grade point average and your SAT / ACT test scores. Check out this link for SAT / ACT fee waivers. 

College Planning Guide (PDF)

Vocational Schools and Regional Occupational Programs

The word "vocational" is another way to say "job". Vocational schools offer classes that teach you how to become skilled in a specific kind of work. You can become certified by a vocational school in jobs like auto repair, cosmetology, and game design (and other careers). Classes at vocational colleges may not transfer to a college or univeristy, so you would start over if you wanted a different career. Check out this link for vocational schools in San Diego.

Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) are like vocational schools but they are more of an introduction to a specific subject. With ROP you can take only the classes you're interested in. If you are interested in car repair, medical assisting, graphics design, landscaping or animal care (or other fields) this might be the path for you. San Diego Regional Occupational Programs

Confused? Not sure what type of education is right for you? Check out this link for everything Foster Youth need to know about going to college.