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Texas A&M program provides financial assistance, support to students who've aged out of foster care

Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 20:20:51-05

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M students who have aged out of the foster care system can now get financial assistance for college expenses as part of a new program.

SIL is a voluntary extended foster care placement where young adults over the age of 18 can live on their own while still receiving services. It helps them become independent and get a college degree.

"They will have someone who is there to help them navigate what being a student at Texas A&M looks like," said Melanie McKoin-Owens, Case Manager and Student Assistance Services at Texas A&M. "So whether that's how to get connected with your faculty, how to navigate living in the residence hall or how to figure out how do I plan for dinner now. Whatever that looks like, they will have someone that they can go to."

The program provides a monthly stipend that covers on-campus housing and dining, as well as personal costs such as phone bills, hygiene products and other expenses.

"It's given me the support that I didn't think I needed, and that's been everything from financial support to emotional support to academic support. It's just nice to have someone to go to to talk to about my grades and like celebrate my accomplishments and talk through my struggles. It's just a lot that I didn't think I needed but I'm really glad I have," said Mikayla Slaydon, a sophomore at Texas A&M and student in the SIL program.

Texas A&M at Corpus Christi and Kingsville were the first schools to institute the program, which is now in place at six of the 11 system schools.

The flagship campus in College Station is the most recent university in the state to impliment the SIL program.