Scholarships for Adopted Children and Children from Foster Homes

Scholarships for adopted children are harder to find than you might think, unless you happen to have been a foster child at one point. Everywhere you search for “adopted student scholarship” or something like that, you’ll find a little bit of information where an adoptee can find student aid interspersed with a lot of information on foster student financial help.

Adoptee Scholarships and Foster Student Aid

In many ways, that’s reasonable and just. Adopted children have families who’ve adopted them into their household, so they may have more financial wherewithal than the average foster boy or girl. The education statistics on kids in the foster care system are appalling, so these students need all the help they can get. But if you were adopted at an early age and was never in foster care, be warned that the financial aid might not be what you expect to get. Though it’s hard for adopted children to get student aid without being a hardship case, a little bit of research shows student aid and even education laws which can help.

American Legion Legacy Scholarship

Scholarships for Adopted Children and Foster Kids

Scholarships for Adopted Children and Foster Kids

For children who lost a parent in the U.S. military or National Guard after the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2001, you can apply to the American Legion for a legacy scholarship. High school seniors are eligible to apply for the scholarship and applications must be submitted no later than April 15th (every year). This is a substantial scholarship, as it pays out $37,000 over the course of your college career.

Scholarships for Foster Children

Every single year, roughly 25,000 foster care youths turn 18 and try to make the transition to self-sufficiency. Of these 25,000, only half finish their high school education. Only 11% go on to college or a vocational education, which is far below the national average. That’s why the Casey Family Program exists to help children still in foster care to make the transition to a post-secondary education.

Casey Family Programs

The Casey Family Program provides up to $10,000 for foster youths under the age of 25 to attend undergraduate school. To qualify, students need to have spent at least 12 months in foster care and cannot have been subsequently adopted. This program is administered by the Orphan Foundation of America. OFA’s Foster Care to Success college fund for foster youth does treat things in the lives of foster children, who often have the fewest opportunities of all children turning 18 in America.

Foster Care to Success Scholarships

The Foster Care to Success Scholarships are funded by the America’s College Fund for Foster Youth. The FCS gives out roughly 100 scholarships every year for foster care scholars to continue into a college education. The program has a 75% retention rate and a 60% graduation rate. Young men and women who’ve been through the foster care system need funding worse than most other young students, so this program is essential. The application process for the 2012/2013 college year is now closed, but if you didn’t get on the scholarships this year, apply for the 2013/2014 scholarship season, if you’re still under the age of 25. You’re young and another year will come around before you know it.

Foster youths also should take a look at the Dave Thomas Foundation, though their work is targeted mainly at children from foster care.

North American Council on Adoptable Children

To learn more information about financial aid for adoptable children, try calling, mailing, faxing, or emailing the North American Council on Adoptable Children at 970 Raymond Avenue, Suite3 106 in St. Paul, Minnesota 55114. The NACAC is available via phone at 651-644-3036, fax at 651-644-9848, or email at

National Foster Parent Association

Ironically, the National Foster Parent Association is a leader in offering scholarships not just to foster youth, but also adopted youth and the biological youth of licensed foster parents. The NFPA scholarships are designed to help those whose lives have been touched by family tragedy to further their education beyond secondary school, entering junior college, university, technical school, or vocational school with the help of financial aid. To apply, you want to fill out the FAFSA application I’ve discussed before.

Jim Casey Youth Org

All young people deserve a stable education, so Jim Casey Youth helps foster students entering postsecondary studies apply for tuition waivers up to the age of 24, while providing support for other post-secondary education needs like school supplies, books, tuition payment, housing, computers, and education training vouchers.

Education for Foster Youth Tuition Waivers

If you’re ever been in the foster care system, you might qualify for the Education Training Voucher or ETV program. This scholarship is worth $5,000 a year is available to students in Ohio, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, and Colorado. Students in Washington DC also qualify. If you don’t live in any of these states or districts, contact your state representative and ask about the Education Training Voucher, because you may still qualify.

College Tuition Waiver Programs

Several states have college tuition waiver programs for adopted children who were once in foster care. These waive either some or all the fees associated with college, or the state acts to pay those fees. People might wonder why states would offer waivers like these, but this helps teenagers who’ve been in foster care and might not have the family connections to help them enter college and maintain payments on their university studies. Also, such laws encourage people to adopt children by defraying some of the costs associated with parental responsibilities.

The states with college tuition waivers for adopted people are Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. The states of Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Washington DC have college scholarship programs designed to help adopted children. I’ll discuss these in a moment, but I want to encourage adoptees and foster children to keep checking on the status of tuition waiver programs in their states, because Arkansas, Missouri, and Montana are looking into the feasibility of these programs.

by John Clifton

2 comments for “Scholarships for Adopted Children and Children from Foster Homes

  1. Mario Corona
    August 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Looking for scholarship to help pay for a 5year old child at a Christiane private school. My wife and I adopted two foster children and will like to give them a better life

  2. Helen Belt
    September 18, 2013 at 3:14 am

    I brought my daughter home as a foster child. At age of 4, I adopted her through the courts of New York. She is now a senior in high school and I am seeking if she is eligible for adoption/foster care scholarships. I still receive monthly care for her from the State of NY.

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