GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Around 150 people came together Friday to help celebrate foster care youth in Michigan at the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund Benefit Dinner.

The event at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park raised $27,400 for scholarships through Michigan Education Trust.

“Youth who experienced foster care often have limited resources and support systems, which makes paying for college challenging,” state Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said in a statement. “The Fostering Futures Scholarship provides a source of assistance to make the dream of college a reality for students who have experienced foster care. I thank the generosity of our sponsors, donors and guests for making this scholarship a reality.”

Each year, there are around 10,000 young people in the Michigan foster care system. Less than 10% of former foster youth nationwide enroll in college and less than 3% eventually earn a degree. The Fostering Futures Scholarship is a significant help to these students, providing them with the opportunity to pursue their educational and career goals, regardless of their financial circumstances.

MET and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services partner to offer the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund, providing former Michigan foster care students with scholarships to attend a Michigan college or university. During the 2022-23 academic year, 429 students at 53 different institutions will be eligible for support. Last year, around 467 students received the award, with 298 attending college in West Michigan.