Higher education is often a pipe dream for foster youths. Many of them do not complete high school and a lack of financial resources decreases access to academic programs and post-secondary education. This article on financial aid for foster care students outlines different financial aid programs, including student loans, scholarships, and grants for foster care students.
Does FAFSA Help Foster Care Students?
Yes. While FAFSA doesn’t offer any specific financial aid to foster care students, it exists to help students with financial needs, which includes foster children. A foster child may require a lot of financial assistance to complete their education. Foster students can apply for FAFSA and if they meet the eligibility requirements they can receive money. Foster students are qualified as independent students and can therefore receive financial assistance.
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How to Find Financial Aid for Foster Care Students
- School website. If you want to know whether a postsecondary institution offers financial aid for foster youths or want to find different schools that do, you can check the websites of your preferred schools to see the availability of college scholarships. You can also contact the school via email for more detailed information on grant programs.
- Childwelfare.gov. This organization is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. It helps to protect children, youths, and foster families. It shares information, resources, and tools on child welfare and protection. It also has a section that includes a list of available student financial aid resources for foster youth.
- Consideringadoption.com. This is an adoption company that also provides information and resources on foster care, including financial aid for foster care students. You can find a page there that explains program requirements, eligibility, and tips for applying.
- wifostercareandadoption.org. This is a foster care and adoption center that assists foster youths in getting higher education through access to college. It includes a section of relevant information on scholarship and financial aid opportunities for foster kids.
- financialaidfinder.com. This platform provides assistance to children from different walks of life, including foster care students, to find financial aid opportunities for their postsecondary education. There is a page dedicated to helpful information on scholarships and financial awards for foster children.
Financial Aid: The Best Scholarships and Grants for Foster Care Students
|Scholarship or Grant Name||Provider||Amount|
|Education and Training Vouchers (ETV)||Alaska Department of Health and Social Services||Max of $5,000|
|Tuition Waiver for Current & Former Foster Care Recipients||California State University||Waiver|
|embrella’s Private Scholarships & Grants for Foster, Adopted & KLG Youth in NJ||embrella||Varies|
|Foster Care to Success Sponsored Scholarships||Foster Care to Success||$1,500 to $5,000|
|David E Ballard Living Legacy Scholarship||HOB Music||$10,000|
|Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program||The Horatio Alger Association||$25,000|
|NFPA Scholarships||The National Foster Parent Association||$500|
|Vermont John H Chafee Education and Training Scholarship||Vermont Student Assistance Corporation||$1,000 to $5,000|
|The Washington State Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth||Washington State||$2,000 to $4,000|
|Foundation Scholarship||Western Michigan University||$64,000|
The Best Financial Aid Resources for Foster Care Students
Below is a brief description of some of the best scholarships and grants available for eligible students in foster care programs.
Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) | Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
The ETV scholarship award is offered to eligible present and former foster care youth to pursue higher education in an accredited technical or community college or university. Each student’s award amount is unique based on the institution and cost of attendance, reaching up to $5,000 per academic year.
Tuition Waiver For Current & Former Foster Care Recipients | California State University
California State University offers a tuition waiver to current and former foster care youth enrolled in an undergraduate program. The tuition waiver covers the tuition, application fee, and state-supported courses. It doesn’t cover other costs of attendance, including campus fees and housing. The waiver amount may be reduced depending on other state or federal student aid.
embrella’s Private Scholarships & Grants for Foster, Adopted & KLG Youth in NJ | embrella
The embrella organization serves foster and adoptive families in New Jersey. The company offers various scholarships and grants to fostered and adopted youths in the state. The awards are available to senior high school students to help them pursue the higher education of their choice. The awards are funded by private benefactors.
Foster Care to Success Sponsored Scholarships | Foster Care to Success
Foster Care to Success is an organization that partners with many organizations and individuals to provide scholarships for foster care youths. The sponsored scholarship program works with different organizations, families, and individuals to offer higher education for foster youth, cover college costs, and help them achieve their educational goals.
David E Ballard Living Legacy Scholarship | HOB Music
This scholarship was founded by HOB music in partnership with Living Legacy to give one student $10,000 worth of scholarship in memory of David E Ballard. The scholarship is designed to support foster care youths or those who have experienced homelessness and who want to pursue a career in live entertainment.
Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program | The Horatio Alger Association
This scholarship program is designed to assist high school students who have experienced and overcome challenges in their lives. The program is sponsored by members of the Horatio Alger Association who have also faced serious challenges and overcome them to start successful lives. The program gives up to $25,000 in awards to each student.
NFPA Scholarships | The National Foster Parent Association
NFPA offers multiple scholarship awards to different students, including foster care students. The Gordon Evans Scholarship awards $500 to the highest-scoring students among foster care youth, kinship care youth, and adoptive-foster youth. The continuing education scholarship is for students who wish to continue their higher education.
Vermont John H Chafee Education and Training Scholarship | Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
The state of Vermont, along with the federal government, offers scholarship opportunities to students who have been through the foster care system. This is done to assist them through their college education or career training programs. Students who apply for this program should be enrolled in any program at an eligible institution, without minimum credit requirements.
The Washington State Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth | Washington State
This scholarship is supported by the former and current governor of Washington to help students who have been through foster care through their college education. The scholarship is funded by the proceeds from the Governor’s Cup, an annual golf tournament, and ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. It can be renewed every year if you maintain academic excellence.
Foundation Scholarship | Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University offers scholarships to students with financial needs, including foster care students. The scholarship is $64,000 and will be awarded over four years at $16,000 per year. To qualify, students need to have a high grade point average at the time of admission and be in financial need. It is a highly competitive award.
Schools That Offer Financial Aid for Foster Care Students
California State University
California State University offers different financial aid opportunities for those who were or are in foster care, including the tuition waiver, FAFSA, and California Dream Act. These award programs exist to help foster students who can’t afford higher education to stand a chance at building a successful life.
The City University of New York (CUNY)
The City University of New York (CUNY), the Central Office of Student Affairs (COSA), and their partners provide college financing programs to foster students enrolled in the school. The Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI) offers students academic, financial, and psychosocial support, covering the costs of MetroCards, meals, intersession tuition, and housing.
Columbia College is a community college in Sonora, California. It offers several financial assistance programs to foster care students, including Pell Grants, the Chafee Grant, Cal Grant, and FSEOG. It also offers a tuition waiver program that exempts foster students from paying the $46-per-unit fee.
Midland College is a community college in Texas. It offers different support programs for foster students. This includes the Foster Care Emergency Aid program. This aid supports students by providing assistance with housing expenses, food, utilities, technology for educational purposes, educational costs, and transportation and relocation expenses.
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University is a public research university in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It offers a foundation scholarship applicable to foster care students, wards of the state, and orphans. The school awards $64,000 to these students over four years by giving them $16,000 each year. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.7 at the time of admission.
Should You Apply for Foster Care Students Financial Aid?
Yes, as a foster child, you should take advantage of financial aid options for foster students. College and other higher institutions are expensive and the money received through federal programs, grants, and scholarships can help reduce the financial burden. This can increase your chances of getting a college degree and building a successful career.
Financial Aid for Foster Care Students FAQ
Foster children may have to count on FAFSA since the majority of them do not have any other means of financial support to put them through school. They are considered independent students.
FAFSA asks if you were in foster care because foster students are considered independent students, making them eligible for many college aid programs.
Ohio foster kids don’t get free college. However, they are eligible for a lot of Ohio financial aid opportunities that can help to reduce the college tuition cost and allow students to attend prestigious schools in the state.
To be qualified as independent for FAFSA, you have to be married, a US veteran, in active duty military service other than training purposes, an emancipated minor, newly homeless youth, self-supporting and at risk, a parent who provides more than half of the financial support for a child who lives with them, or a foster youth, orphan, or ward of the court.
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