Life after foster care can be rough. In most areas, foster youth “age out” or leave the social services system when they turn 18 or graduate from high school. Few young people are capable of establishing an independent life at the age of 18. In the case of an aged out foster kid, this can be especially difficult if their goal is to continue their education.
Ageing out into higher education can be difficult without a family or guardian to help them out, many foster youth find it especially difficult to find the means to get into college. To help them out, many organizations and institutions have set up scholarship programs especially for foster youth.
If you are a former foster youth, or know of a foster youth, who wants to continue their education, your first step is to look into the scholarship opportunities for foster youths available in the area. The following are just a few examples of what’s out there.
Foster Care to Success (FC2S)
One of the oldest and largest national non-profit organizations working to send foster youths to college. FC2S was founded in 1981 and has since helped over 50,000 foster youth age out and enter college.
Aside from scholarship and grants, FC2S also offers a peer-to-peer mentoring program, textbook funding, and care packages – the kind of support that many kids take for granted from their families.
Foster youth in Washington State, can apply for the
Washington State Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth
This program is supported by the current and former governors of the state who hold an annual golf tournament – the Governor’s’ Cup – to provide funding for the program.
Using the proceeds from the Governor’s Cup, the program provides scholarships to approximately 40 foster youth a year. Depending on the college, scholarship amounts range from $2000-$4000 a year. Foster youth must have resided in Washington State and enrol in an eligible college or university in the same state.
In Kentucky, the state provides Tuition Fees Waiver for Foster Children or Adopted Children. Resident Kentucky foster children and adoptees are eligible for this program as long as their full-time enrollees at one of the state’s four year universities, or at schools within the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
Some universities and colleges also offer specific scholarships for foster kids. One example of this would be the University of California, Los Angeles which offers the Carl H. Undergraduate Scholarship.
Carl H. Undergraduate Scholarship
Also available to adoptees, student parents who have surrendered a child for adoption and foster parents.
Guardian Scholars Program of UC San Diego
Scholarships of up to $5,000 per academic year to foster youth. Aside from the Guardian Scholars funding, foster kids in UC San Diego can also apply for the George Parker Memorial Scholarship ($2,000 a year) and the Sony Computer Scholarship (a new Sony VAIO notebook for five former foster youth enrolled in UC San Diego).
Aside from awarding scholarships, the Guardian Scholars Program, also looks out for all former foster youths at UC San Diego. Scholars and non-scholars alike, foster youth get access to on-campus housing, priority enrolment on their second term, student employment opportunities, assistance with financial aid applications, counseling and career planning.