Nearly 58% of foster youth will graduate high school by the age of 18 and less than 2% will graduate college by the age of 25. These are shocking statistics, if you ask me.
One thing that makes college difficult for individuals who have either been adopted from foster care or aged out of the foster care system is the cost of receiving a higher education.
To be honest, it’s a little frightening looking at the cost of college tuition. Costs are constantly increasing. For example, in the state of Utah this year, the annual tuition for the University of Utah is roughly $24,000 for a resident student living on campus and $42,000 for a non-resident student living on campus.
To be honest, it’s a little frightening looking at the cost of college tuition.
Parents who have adopted an older child haven’t had the time to save as much for their son or daughter’s education. Additionally, these children have experienced a variety of hardships. These hardships often cause a variety of emotional, physical, or developmental issues that can make it more difficult to progress in school and meet the requirements for traditional scholarships.
However, there are some programs aimed at helping foster care alumni afford a college education.
At UMass Amherst, for example, the costs are equivalent to those at the University of Utah; however, any student who was adopted through the Department of Children and Families since 2000 by a Massachusetts resident has the opportunity to have 100% of their tuition waived until the adoptee reaches his/her 25th birthday. Additional legislation (added in 2008) allows for coverage of fees aside from tuition.
In hopes of encouraging college attendance, there is a federal program for children adopted after the age of 13 available through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can ultimately make it easier for them to receive financial aid.
Another program is available for children adopted from foster care at 16 or older that extends the assistance to vocational or technical training programs. The program is called the Education and Training Voucher.
A fantastic resource is Foster Care to Success. It has a number of programs, including a mentoring program that allows individuals or even businesses to mentor students or even send care packages to them to help them reach their educational goals and find success.
The Wisconsin Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center lists some great resources that can help ease the financial burden.
I know there are countless more programs and scholarships, some specific to your state and even specifically coming from companies in your area. My advice to you? Contact the college or university you or your child will be attending, talk to case workers you know, ask around in your support groups, and use your resources at the Department of Child and Family services.