College Grants for Foster & Adopted Children

Government programs and nonprofit organizations offer grants and scholarships specifically for adopted children and current and former foster youth pursuing higher education goals. Certain programs offer funding to pay up to the full cost of college attendance, but others may only pay for tuition and school fees. Eligibility guidelines also differ and certain programs only offer student aid for current or former foster children and exclude adopted youth.

  1. Chafee Grants

    • The United States Administration for Children & Families funds the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, which provides financial assistance to help former and current foster children transition out of foster care. Within the CFCIP, the Educational and Training Vouchers program offers educational funding for children who have become too old to remain in foster care. The CFCIP disburses grants to states and Indian tribes throughout the United States, which administer their own Chafee Grant programs. Through the EVP, students may receive a maximum of $5,000 per year as of June 2011. However, each state or tribal program has different eligibility and award guidelines.

    State Programs

    • Certain states sponsor their own student aid programs for foster care and adopted youth, which may include tuition waivers or educational grants. Kentucky, for instance, offers tuition waivers for foster care and adopted students attending public four-year postsecondary institutions, community colleges and technical schools. Tennessee administers the Tennessee Hope Foster Child Tuition Grant, which extends eligibility to certain foster care and adopted children who lived under the guardianship of the state's Department of Children's Services. The Tennessee program offers up to the full cost of attendance for qualified students attending public schools in Tennessee.

    National Organizations

    • A limited number of national organizations associated with foster care or adoptive services offer scholarships. For instance, the National Foster Parent Association sponsors scholarships for adopted children and youth who lived under the guardianship of a foster care system. The program also extends eligibility to the biological children of foster parents who hold membership with the NFPA and currently hold a license to care for foster children. Eligible students can use the NFPA scholarship to attend a four-year school, junior college or a technical school. Students planning to attend a four-year college or university can apply only during their senior high school year. Foster youth planning to attend a junior college or technical or vocational school must be at least 17 years old to qualify. According to the NFPA, it will award five $1,000 scholarships in 2011.

    Regional Organizations

    • Certain regional nonprofit organizations associated with foster care and adopted children offer scholarships for qualified students. For example, the Adopt a Special Kid organization, which administers adoption services in Northern California, offers the Dorothy and Robert DeBolt Scholarship to children who were adopted out of the California foster care system. Scholarship recipients can use funds to attend four- or two-year postsecondary institutions or vocational schools throughout the United States. As of June 2011, the DeBolt program pays up to $2,000, which recipients can use to pay for tuition, housing, textbook and school fees.

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