Fostering Success Program supports students with independent backgrounds


Collegian | Chloe Leline

Emmalee Krieg, Staff Reporter

Oftentimes, support in education trickles off at the collegiate level. Community and a sense of belonging can be hard to find for independent students.

At Colorado State University, the Fostering Success Program builds a sense of belonging and support among independent students to promote growth and success in college and beyond.


So what is an independent student?

Melissa Henke, the Fostering Success Program coordinator and former FSP student, broke it down.

“This can mean folks who have experienced foster care, kinship care, orphaned, unaccompanied homeless youth, emancipation and other similar backgrounds,” Henke said. “In summation, FSP students have had a lack of parental support at some time during their youth and even during college years.”

According to FSP’s website, “The Fostering Success Program at CSU is a donor-funded community of about 250 students from independent backgrounds and CSU faculty/staff volunteers that provide scholarships, fun events, academic support and many other resources to Rams.”

“These experiences that our students have shared can be varied, but we really try to be inclusive in our understanding of what independent status means and support our students in quite a few ways,” Henke said.

FSP utilizes a solution-focused approach to provide support in many areas such as academic, financial, personal and career.

“We have an incredible community. I’m very proud of the support that we offer to our students here.” –Melissa Henke, Fostering Success Program coordinator

One thing to know for sure, FSP does awesome care packages for its students.

“Our care packages are really born out of this idea that students who don’t have parental support might not (have) received a lot of the care packages that other students in the dorms might have received from their family,” Henke said.

The packages themselves contain personal care items, hygiene items, snacks, gift cards and other general supplies.


“Something that I’m really passionate about is our mentoring program,” Henke said. “We partner with Educate Tomorrow, which is an incredible organization. We’re able to provide mentoring services in which an upper-class independent student guides and supports new first-year and transfer independent students through their first year at CSU.”

Educate Tomorrow is an organization that believes in individualized coaching over a long period of time to help students focus on improving academics along with economic stability, affordable housing and overall well-being.

Not only does FSP have other services, such as their emergency aid and funding, but they also have scholarships, financial wellness education and events that are a huge cornerstone of what FSP does. Dinners are one of the notable events they put on for their community. 

“We have a dinner that we do about every month that we call a FSP family dinner where we get together at a local Fort Collins establishment and just get together as a community,” Henke said. 

Overall, CSU’s Fostering Success Program establishes opportunity and support for independent students from all backgrounds.

“We have an incredible community,” Henke said. “I’m very proud of the support that we offer to our students here. I’m one of the students that benefited from it myself, and I feel very lucky to come full circle and help the students that we have now.”

Reach Emmalee Krieg at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.