Financial Aid For Dependents, Homeless, Orphans, and Foster Youth or Wards of the Court...

"Financial Aid For Dependents, Homeless, Orphans, and Foster Youth or Wards of the Court..." submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Monday 9th January 2012

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Foster care means 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State has placement and care responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child care institutions, and pre-adoptive homes. A child is in foster care in accordance with this definition regardless of whether the foster care facility is licensed and payments are made by the state or local agency for the care of the child, whether adoption subsidy payments are being made prior to the finalization of an adoption, or whether there is federal matching of any payments that are made.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires most students to provide financial information from their parents in order to determine student eligibility for aid; the application also requires a parental signature. While these are logical requirements for most applicants, they create insurmountable barriers for unaccompanied homeless youth, whose parents are unavailable or are unwilling to provide this information.

Financial aid for Foster Youth

College-based tuition waivers/scholarships Some colleges offer their own tuition waivers and scholarships for foster youth Check with your college’s financial aid office
Orphan Foundation of America Provides scholarships for foster youth
State-administered grant programs such as Chafee Many states administer federal grant programs for foster youth

Financial aid for students With Dependents

If you’re both a parent and a student, you may be eligible for cash aid and help with child care, transportation and job or training expenses through your local community college. Contact your county social services office for more information if your child’s other parent is deceased or absent from the home, or if you or your spouse is physically or mentally disabled, unemployed or working fewer than 100 hours a month.

Students with intellectual disabilities

Students with intellectual disabilities can receive federal student aid under the Federal Pell Grant Program, FSEOG Program and Federal Work-Study Program. To be eligible, you must:

A recent federal law, The College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) of 2007 (P.L. 110-84), eliminated this barrier for unaccompanied youth applying for aid for the 2009–2010 school year and future years. The CCRAA expanded the definition of “independent student” to include unaccompanied homeless youth and youth who are unaccompanied, at risk of homelessness, and self- supporting. Verification of the youth’s situation must be made by one of the following:

Youth who are removed from their homes are under the care and custody of the state. They may be placed into any one of the following types of settings:

  1. The home of a noncustodial parent
  2. The approved home of a relative
  3. The approved home of a non-relative extended family member (such as a family friend)
  4. A foster home
  5. A group home
  6. A tribal foster home or other placement under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act

Homeless Youth and Foster Care Resources:

Orphan Foundation of America (OFA)

Each year, Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) awards millions of dollars in scholarships and grants to more than 3,500 students in all 50 states and serves thousands more youth who are still in high school and just starting the college application process. Supported by volunteer mentors and coaches, OFA students have a remarkable 70% graduation rate after five years—three times the rate of other independent students. These former foster youth go on to build productive, successful lives, raising families and, significantly, often becoming volunteers in their own communities—carrying on the legacy of Rivers’ lifelong commitment to service.

OFA is the largest national nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to helping former foster youth obtain the academic and technical skills and competencies needed to thrive in today’s economy. To that end, OFA provides scholarship and grant money to former foster students in colleges and specialized training programs across the country. In 2009-2010, OFA awarded over $15 million in financial aid to more than 3,500 students. Every OFA student receives care packages and coaching, and is eligible to participate in mentoring and internship programs.

Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) also administers the The Education Training Voucher (ETV) program awards grants to current and former foster youth to help pay for college or specialized education. ETV grants are funded by the federal government and administered by the states. In most states, eligible students may receive grants of up to $5,000 per academic year.

These are the typical circumstances through which a youth becomes a dependent of the court. The state then becomes legally responsible for the youth; the youth is said to be in foster care. The federal definition of foster care is given in the next paragraph. In 2007, there were almost 500,000 children and youth in foster care nationwide at any given time; over 783,000 children and youth were served by the foster care system. The following is the federal definition of foster care provided in the Code of Federal Regulations at 45 CFR §1355.20. Recent changes to the definition of an independent student in the FAFSA make it much easier for students without the support of their birth families to get the help they need to secure financial aid. More Details About Financial Aid Assistance to Students from Foster Care and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Visit:

Casey Family Programs

Casey Family Programs help youth successfully prepare for and complete postsecondary education or training. The guide will also be useful to other adults working with youth in foster care, including teachers, counselors, mentors, CASA (court-appointed special advocate) volunteers, caregivers, and birth parents. It’s My Life: Postsecondary Education and Training gives busy professionals the recommendations, strategies, and resources they need to improve their work preparing young people for college access and success.

To get lists of community tutoring programs, check out United Way and other community clearinghouses. University students will sometimes tutor . Also check with the student’s school. We also suggest these resources:

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