As Colleges Go Online, Not All Students Head Home

Mar 23, 2020



Colleges across the state are going to online classes, and for many students, that means heading home to parents. But for some students, that’s not an option.

Take the 69 students at Fresno State who are current or former foster care youth. They’re all part of an academic support program called Renaissance Scholars. Academic advisor Adriana Vasquez says her students are anxious.  


“One student mentioned the situation in Italy and [asked] if it’s going to be like that here. Where it’s going to be for a few months, where we’re going to be pretty much staying at home and if she was going to have enough to survive,” she said.

Vasquez said the office has been handing out gift cards, and basic hygiene items to offset living expenses for the students. Three scholars lost their teaching assistant jobs last week when the public schools closed, Vasquez said.

“We’re just going to try to use all of our resources to meet their needs,” Vasquez said. 

About 10 of the students live in the dorms and they’re expected to stay open. But most of the scholars, like 21-year-old Kristie Snell, live in off-campus apartments. She says it’s been a little rough watching other kids pack up their stuff and leave.

“You know a lot of people are going home. I don’t really, like, have that option so it’s just a little scary,” she said.   

But she said, she’s resourceful.  Being a foster youth taught her that.

“I’m a little bit used to this type of situation, you know, just being alone and trying to find stuff for myself and stuff like that,” she said.

Snell works part-time at Target. She sees a lot of stressed out people waiting in long lines.  

“It’s just a little crazy. I just feel bad for a lot of people,” she said. 

And of all the harried folks she sees coming through the doors, she said she feels especially sorry for the parents.