Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Aimee Miller-Ott


A college education is an indicator of success. Unfortunately, research shows that foster youth are attending college at a very low rate. This research study was conducted to understand the messages foster youth receive about college and the impact those messages have on their post-secondary education decisions. Using qualitative interviews, I investigated the communicative messages former and current foster youth received that encouraged or discouraged them in their pursuit of a post-secondary degree. Specifically, I focused on messages former and current foster youth received from their parents/caregivers, peers, school counselors, and social workers.

Through data analysis, three message types were uncovered. Foster youth reported receiving supportive/motivational, cautionary, and discouraging messages, as they were deciding if they would pursue a post-secondary education. Results suggest that the messages conveying support from foster parents and school counselors play a vital role in foster youths’ educational decisions. Practical implications, limitations, and suggestions for further research are discussed in detail.


Imported from ProQuest Kilgore_ilstu_0092N_10899.pdf


Page Count