A student walks near Royce Hall on the campus of UCLA on April 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Under a new law, foster children in California will have their tuition covered if they attend a state or community college.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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Children and teens in foster care across California will be able to attend state and community colleges free of charge under legislation signed into law this week.
Through the new Fostering Futures program, the state will allocate $25 million to cover tuition for foster youth attending a California State University, University of California or a community college, according to state Sen. Angelique Ashby's office.
The funding also covers the cost of housing, books and food.
“Far too many foster youth want to go to college, and are unable to afford it,” Ashby, who authored the bill, said in a statement. “This funding will ensure that California’s most vulnerable young people can take agency over their lives by seeking higher education."
There are approximately 60,000 children in the state's foster care system and lawmakers say the vast majority of them, or 96%, want to receive higher education.
While 64% of foster youth graduate high school in California, only 4% currently obtain a four-year college degree, according to Ashby.