Welcome to MTSU!

The transition into college can be a challenging one for all students. For students coming from a foster care situation or for those who have been living as independent minors or in homeless situations, it can be especially difficult simply because it is hard to know where to begin the journey or know who to turn to or trust. That is why Middle Tennessee State University, in conjunction with the Department of Children's Services, and the Tennessee Youth Advisory Council, created Next Step in 2008. Next Step provides additional support for our students coming from these difficult situations.

The keystone of Next Step is our group of student mentors. They are Next Step participants just like you who came from situations just like yours. Participants come back semester after semester to offer peer support and encouragement to our newest members. Simply put, Next Step brings students together to help one another.

There is no pressure to be involved in Next Step and your level of participation is entirely up to you. We have administrators on campus who would love to meet you and who are willing to help you in any way they can. As you navigate through our site, you will find contacts for various areas to best suit your needs. 

About Us

Established in 2008, MTSU along with the Department of Children Services, and the Tennessee Youth Advisory Council, created the Next Step program. This program was created in part to assist in the transition of those aging out of foster care and transitioning into adulthood. However, these resources were also identified as areas of need for students experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and for unaccompanied minors. It is believed that by giving these students the tools they need to succeed it would give them a better chance of succeeding in college and life after graduation. Our research has proven this time and time again!

The Next Step program at MTSU aims to address the needs of this population by working to assist with their core needs as well as address the basics of navigating higher education at MTSU.

It is our belief that when working to assist anyone, it is important to make sure their most basic needs (food, shelter, health, etc.) are met first. Therefore, we work to assist students in this population to connect them with appropriate on-campus and community resources to address those needs in addition to getting them on track for their degree programs at MTSU.


The mission of Next Step is to encourage and empower former foster, homeless, and independent youth (unaccompanied minors) as they strive to attain higher education while enabling them to sustain and succeed in beyond their college career at MTSU.

What We Do?

We connect students in this population with on-campus and community resources to best suit their needs. Our Outreach Coordinator works one-on-one with you through the entire process- from application to graduation! We help to connect students with appropriate contacts in various offices and departments across campus that they may have not been aware of before, along with encouraging students to connect with others to make their time here at MTSU as successful as possible. 

Who We Help?

We work with students that have aged out of foster care, experienced or at-risk of homelessness, and unaccompanied minors. These are students that although they experience the same struggles of adapting to college life, they may have the added stress of supporting themselves without the support and guidance of parents or family. 

What Sets Us Apart?

We have a single point of contact dedicated specifically to the assistance of students coming from foster care and those at-risk or experiencing homelessness, as well as unaccompanied minors. At MTSU, we have made sure that we put the needs of the students first by addressing their basic needs to help in their journey to obtaining a post-secondary degree.

We are glad to have you as a part of the MTSU family and look forward to meeting you!