Education can make all the difference. A high school degree, a GED, a college degree, or vocational training will give you opportunities and choices. Special programs are available to help youth in foster care afford college and vocational programs.
Talk to both your case worker and high school counselor to help you make your educational plan, and then make sure it happens.
Find out about High School Graduation Requirements:
There are different high school graduation requirements for each county in Maryland. For information on Baltimore City’s high school graduation requirements, check out: http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/Page/24409
For more information about general high school graduation requirements, check out: www.marylandpublicschools.org.
High School Assessments: The High School Assessments (HSAs), are four exams—one each in algebra/data analysis, biology, government, and English—that all students must take and pass to graduate high school. HSAs are required for those students who entered 9th grade in or after 2005. For information about HSA, check out: http://hsaexam.org/
Financial Assistance in High School: As a foster youth, you may be eligible for covered graduation expenses such as class rings, senior pictures, prom attire, and graduation fees under the Ready by 21 program. Check out our flyer explaining Chafee expenditures for eligibility requirements and details; or contact your case worker for more information.
Find Out About Tuition Waver at Public Colleges in Maryland:
As a foster youth in Maryland, you may be eligible to attend public college in Maryland without paying tuition. For more information, check out www.mhec.state.md.us. Take a look at the list of public universities and colleges in Maryland – click here!
Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV): The Maryland ETV program offers funds on a first-come, First-serve basis to students currently in foster care as well as former foster care youths. Through this program, you may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for education related expenses. Check out www.statevoucher.org for more information.
Need help with the FAFSA?
- Check out this great tip sheet for foster youth: Foster Youth FAFSA Tip Sheet
- Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243
- Visit The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators website at: http://www.nasfaa.org/
- Call your BCDSS case worker
- Talk to your school guidance counselor or staff at your GED program
- Ask your attorney
Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The FAFSA is the federal application for financial aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, including the state and the student’s school.
Maryland’s student Financial Aid deadline is March 1st. Foster youth MUST meet this deadline every year in order to be eligible for the tuition waiver and ETV. Aid is provided on a first come, first serve basis; so apply as soon as possible.
Fill out the FAFSA online at www.FAFSA.ed.gov
The FASFA form is also available for download at https://fafsa.ed.gov/options.htm. You will need to mail in the completed form for processing.
To request a paper copy, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665. Hearing impaired applicants can contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.
Additional Financial Aid Resources
- State Financial Aid Programs — lists the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s State Financial Aid Assistance Programs & Applications. http://mhec.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx
- Orphan Foundation of America — provides college scholarships and connections to mentors and internships for teens in foster care. orphan.org
- National Foster Parents Association — offers scholarships for teens in foster care.http://nfpaonline.org/education
- Foster Club — this national network for young people in foster care has information on scholarships and other sources of financial aid just for foster youths. https://www.fosterclub.com/_transition/article/higher-ed
- College Success Foundation — provides college scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-potential students. Check out the of available scholarships.www.collegesuccessfoundation.org/
- FinAid! — a comprehensive source of student financial aid information. www.finaid.org
- FastWeb! — free scholarship, financial aid and college search service. www.fastweb.com
- United Negro College Fund – offers scholarships and paid internships for students.www.uncf.org
- College Scholarships, Colleges and Online Degrees — online directory of college and university admissions, scholarship, and financial aid offices. www.college-scholarships.com
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund — provides information on the TMCF scholarship and links to other minority scholarship programs. http://tmcf.org/our-scholarships
- National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators — links to college access resources including the Cash for College program; also gives tips for foster youth filling out the FAFSA. http://www.nasfaa.org
- Trade School Financial Aid & Scholarships — lists links to scholarship programs for trade schools such as nursing and culinary school. http://www.tradeschools.com/