PHOENIX, May 15, 2008 — National Foster Care Month starts off with a bang as University of Phoenix and the National Foster Parent Association join forces to share their messages of the benefits of lifelong learning and education. The organizations will award 50 scholarships to exceptional foster children who clearly demonstrate a passion for learning, strength of character and the desire to make a difference. The recipients will receive full-tuition First Chance Scholarships to attend University of Phoenix and achieve their higher-education goals.

Launched on May 1, 2008, the goal of the program is to provide individuals who may not otherwise have the means of attending a higher education institution with the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of an education. With more than 513,000 youth in foster care nationwide, approximately 20,000 age out of the system each year. Most go straight into the workforce, usually in unskilled and minimum wage positions. University of Phoenix provides access to education for more than 300,000 working students worldwide.

Established in 2006, the First Chance Scholarship program was founded by University of Phoenix, along with actor and education advocate Tom Arnold. The program is intended to promote the life-changing benefits of education, and honor individuals who have shown desire to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through education.

"We want to reach individuals who are looking to improve their lives, but do not have the financial means or do not know the educational options available to them," said Dr. Bill Pepicello, president of University of Phoenix. "For more than 30 years, we have been helping people improve their lives through education. The National Foster Parent Association is a perfect partner for this program -- they are equally committed to this goal and they represent such a deserving group of young men and women."

The NFPA strives to support foster parents, and remains a consistently strong voice on behalf of all children. With a nationwide network of affiliated state and local Foster Parent Associations, the NFPA supports over 140,000 foster families who care for more than 513,000 foster children.

"We are delighted to be partnering with University of Phoenix in order to bring opportunities for education to our kids," said Karen Jorgenson, executive director of NFPA. "These 50 First Chance Scholarships will do so much good for these kids. We look forward to starting the application process and helping better lives."

There will be two application periods for the scholarship. Applications for the first set of 25 scholarships will be accepted from May 19 to July 7 and awarded on July 31. The second submission period for the next 25 scholarships will be November 25 to January 23 and awarded on March 2, 2009.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As of August 31, 2008, 362,100 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world.

National Foster Parent Association

The National Foster Parent Association is the only national organization which strives to support foster parents, and remains a consistently strong voice on behalf of all children. With affiliates in U.S. states and territories, NFPA serves foster families and the children and youth in their care through a network of affiliates.



Carl D Jones, NFPA, (253) 853-4000
Karen Jorgenson, NFPA, (253) 853-4000
Mary Little, CKPR, (602) 417-0682
Carrie Severson, CKPR, (602) 417-0689