State officials say more than 360 students in North Carolina are using a program that helps former foster children with college expenses.

The NC Reach program is designed to be a bridge for children in state care to adulthood. It was established in 2007 and is serving a record number of students this school year.

Along with help with tuition, room and board and books, the program also gives students virtual mentoring, care package and access to internships.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos says too many children who age out of the child welfare system remain dependent on government help, and the NC Reach program is designed to end that cycle.