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Financial Aid and Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children

Mark Kantrowitz

September 17, 2012

Most private scholarships for foster care students are restricted to children who are currently in foster care or who aged out of foster care. There are some for students who were adopted out of foster care, but these generally have geographic restrictions or are limited to students who are enrolled at specific colleges. For example, the Kansas Foster and Adoptive Children Scholarship Fund from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation is limited to students who are or were foster children in the state of Kansas. Similarly, the Orangewood Children’s Trust Fund Scholarship is limited to foster children from Orange County, California. The Robert & Dorothy DeBolt Scholarship is limited to students adopted out of foster care in California. The BBFFA Scholarship is limited to children who are or were foster children in Boulder County, Colorado.

Students should use the free Fastweb scholarship matching service to find scholarships that match their background situation. Fastweb enforces the scholarship’s geographic and other restrictions, ensuring that the student sees only the scholarships for which he or she is eligible. Be sure to answer the optional questions, some of which relate to adoption status. Fastweb will also match the student to other relevant scholarships, such as the Horatio Alger National Scholarship for high school seniors who have “faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives”.

There are also several national scholarships for former foster children and adopted children. The Fostering a Future Scholarship is restricted to children adopted out of foster care after reaching age 13. Foster Care to Success administers the Casey Family Scholars Program, which provides scholarships to former foster youth. The National Foster Parent Association sponsors the NFPA Youth Scholarship. The Orphan Society of America provides college scholarships for individuals who were orphaned by violence.

Some states provide student financial aid or other assistance to children who spent time in the foster care system or who were adopted out of the foster care system. These scholarships and tuition waivers are usually restricted to students who enroll in the state’s public colleges and universities. Funding may be restricted to students whose families previously received adoption assistance. Some programs are limited to students who are in foster care or aged out of foster care, excluding students who were adopted out of foster care. States providing public college tuition waiver or other assistance to current and former foster childre include: Alabama, Alaska (ETV), Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas (ETV), Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington (Independence), and West Virginia. There’s also the Education Training Voucher (ETV) program for current and former foster youth.


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