Stark State College among first schools to receive designation for supporting students connected to foster care | Stark State College | North Canton, Ohio
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Stark State College among first schools to receive designation for supporting students connected to foster care

Ohio Reach postsecondary designation(North Canton, OH – Sept. 13, 2023) –– Stark State College is among 28 Ohio colleges, universities and technical centers to receive the new Ohio Reach postsecondary designation for efforts to support foster care-connected students.

Ohio Reach is a network of professionals, advocates, and students across Ohio determined to support former foster youth on their education journey. Administered through the Ohio Children’s Alliance, it provides resources to institutions of higher education, child welfare agencies and foster care alumni enrolled in higher education to support their academic success.

These students will have a designated campus liaison at Stark State – Drew Felberg, director of admissions and SSC Akron – to coordinate resources in food, housing, community building, mentorship and other areas as well as “campus champions” in advising (Melanie Carr, manager of advising and Gateway Student Services, and Brian Moore, associate professor), financial aid (Matt Kirksey, director of financial aid and scholarships) and student support services (Lisa Gilliland, director of disability support services and military services, and Elizabeth Inkinen-Schell, student support counselor).

“If they don’t have a trusted adult to help guide them, some foster-connected youth may be especially attracted to schools with the Ohio Reach postsecondary designation knowing that they’ll receive support, if needed,” said Gov. Mike DeWine. “This extra support and guidance could make a meaningful difference and help a student continue along a successful path to live their version of the American dream.”

“This designation recognizes those colleges, universities, and technical centers that go above and beyond to support those students with foster care connections,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner.

For more information about Stark State’s Ohio Reach program, call 330-494-6170 ext. 4228 or email

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