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Financial Assistance for Post-Secondary Education and Training

Overwhelming research suggests that young people leaving foster care, struggle with adult responsibilities oftentimes making planning for the future and pursuing higher education or training very difficult. The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 addressed this challenge with programs to help youth transition to adulthood. The Education Training Voucher (ETV) Program followed in 2002, creating a federally-funded, state-administered initiative to provide funding and support for post-secondary education.  In addition, the state of Alaska has recognized the growing needs of this population and has increased support through various partnerships to meet the educational needs of youth in foster care.

Education and Training Vouchers (ETV)

IL.jpgETV offers financial assistance to eligible current and former foster youth to attend an accredited college, university, vocational or technical college.
The maximum ETV award is $5,000. Awards are unique to each student and are based on the cost of attendance formula established by their college of choice.
Students can utilize up to $5,000 per academic year (as long as youth are enrolled at least half time)! This can cover the following school related expenses:

  • Tuition
  • Student Fees
  • Books & Supplies
  • Room (On-campus & off-campus housing)
  • Board (Food)
  • Transportation
  • Personal/Miscellaneous
  • Child care

Once awarded, students must maintain good academic standing and meet the institutions Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
*Students should not expect ETV to cover their entire cost of attendance. ETV funds can be combined with other grants and scholarships to minimize or eliminate the need for student loans

ETV Eligibility

  • OCS youth who are or were in custody and in foster care (out-of-home care) on or after their 16th birthday and have not yet reached age 21.
  • Youth must have completed a high school diploma or GED.
  • Youth must be accepted into a qualifying institution of higher education.
  • Youth must be enrolled in a program prior to their 21st birthday to receive funds until they reach age 23.
  • Youth must be attending at least half-time to an accredited school.
  • An accredited school is one that: Awards a Bachelor’s degree or not less than a 2-year program that provides credit toward a degree, Provides not less than 1-year of training towards gainful employment, or is a vocational program that provides training for gainful employment and has been in existence for at least two years.

University of Alaska Presidential Foster Youth Tuition Waiver

Applications are due June 1st!!

The University of Alaska, in partnership with the Office of Children's Services offers 15 Presidential Foster Youth Tuition Waivers each year to eligible current and former foster youth.

Presidential Foster Youth Tuition Waivers can be used toward the cost of tuition at any University of Alaska Campus for up to 144 undergraduate credits within 6 years, not to exceed 10 semesters.

Presidential Tuition Waiver Eligibility

  • OCS youth who are or were in custody and in foster care (out-of-home care) on or after their 16th birthday and have not yet reached age 21.
  • Be a resident of Alaska, and;
  • Must be accepted in to an undergraduate certificate or degree program and enroll in classes by the first fall semester following receipt of the Award or graduation from high school whichever occurs later;
  • Maintain good standing within the University community (academic, financial, and conduct);
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Financial Aid Information

FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) - Applying for federal student aid is quicker and easier than ever. This is the key to additional funding - if you want to receive the Chafee ETG, Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG), Tuition and Fee Waiver or other scholarships you must fill out and submit the FAFSA application.

Federal Student Aid Programs

The following types of aid available to help you pay for your education after high school.

  • Grants - student aid funds that do not have to be repaid (other conditions apply).
  • Work-Study - a part-time work program to earn money while you are in school.
  • Federal Loans - student aid funds that you must repay with interest.  

Types of federal student loans:

  • Perkins loan - Low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.
  • Direct Stafford - Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are federal student loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. 
  • Direct PLUS - PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. 
  • Direct Loan Consolidation - A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you combine multiple federal education loans into one loan.
  • Pell Grant - Provides funds based on the student's financial need and does not need to be repaid. Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and non-federal sources might be added. 
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) - You must be an undergraduate student who does not have a bachelor's or a professional degree. You must be eligible to receive a Pell Grant and have exceptional financial need.
  • Foster Care and Education FAQs - Question and Answer Fact Sheet available from the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education - Post-secondary Education Resources for Youth in and Transitioning out of the Child Welfare System. 
  • Foster Care to Success (FCS) (formerly Orphan Foundation of America) - The national non-profit program FCS provides scholarship and grant money to former foster students in colleges and specialized training programs across the country. An OFA Application is required. 
  • National Foster Parent Association Scholarships - The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships for foster youth, adopted youth, or biological youth of currently licensed foster parents, who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational/technical school or junior college.
  • Fostering a Future - The Fostering a Future Scholarship, sponsored by Children's Action Network and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, is a national scholarship program designed to provide youth who were adopted from foster care at or after the age of 13 with financial assistance in pursuing a college, vocational or technical education.