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Paying for Education
The college and scholarship search process can seem intimidating to any student. If you are a student who has been in the foster care system and has been adopted, there are private college scholarships or grants available for adopted children. Grants are typically funds given by a governing body and do not need to be paid back. Some opportunities may be state specific, while others may be used nationwide. When filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) you will find that being a ward of the state will affect your dependency status and thus affect the amount of grant and aid money available to you through the federal government. The FAFSA will also help students gain access to state funds that may be available.
Recently, the federal government changed a law that will affect children who are in the foster care system and those students who have been adopted. Now, students who are adopted after the age of 13 years of age will not have to use their adoptive parent's income when applying for the FAFSA. This will affect the way the government calculates the student's financial need. When filing the FAFSA, there will be a series of questions that will help determine the dependency status of the student.
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ETV - The Educational Training Voucher (better known as the ETV) is administered by the Orphan Foundation of America. Funds and eligibility will vary state to state, but there is a listing on their website with more information. For example, in the state of Indiana, a student who was adopted after the age of 16, who is a US citizen, meets the financial requirements, and has been accepted or is enrolled in an approved program, the student is eligible for up to $5,000 in funds each year. The application process can be completed easily online.
NFPA- The National Foster Parent Association offers a scholarship for youth who are in the foster care system, adopted youth, or biological youth of a current licensed foster parent. Students can use this scholarship for college or university studies, vocational training, and correspondence courses (including the GED). Those students who are applying for the scholarship and plan to use it for college or university studies must meet these specific requirements: the student must be in their senior year of high school, provide a copy of their high school transcript, provide documentation of the cost of college, and submit required forms by the deadlines. Students will need to provide proof of acceptance into the college before funds will be disbursed and any unused funds must be returned if the student withdraws or does not maintain the grade point average required by the university.
American Legion Legacy Scholarship- The American Legion offers a scholarship to biological and adoptive children of men and women who have lost their life while serving our country in the Armed Services. To be eligible the student must be a legally adopted child of an active military, active national guard, active military reservist who was federalized and lost their life during active duty on or after September 11,2001. The student must be a high school senior or a high school graduate and who will be attending an undergraduate program at an accredited institution in the United States. The scholarship award and number given depends upon the income in the national trust that year. Students will need to reapply each year for the scholarship.
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The Casey Family Foundation is a great resource for families and adoptive children. They have a booklet online that will help students walk through the process of exploring secondary education and how to pay for college. They offer practical tips, helpful websites, and general guidelines to follow. They also explain various terms that are involved in the process that can seem very confusing.
Some states may offer educational assistance outside of the Educational Training Voucher. Now that you know about private college scholarships or grants for adopted children, it is best to check with each individual state department of education to find what assistance is available.
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FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid): http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
National Foster Parent Association: http://www.nfpainc.org/content/?page=YOUTHSCHOLARSHIP&nmenu=4&title=Youth%20Scholarships
Educational Training Voucher: https://www.statevoucher.org/
American Legion Legacy Scholarship: http://www.legion.org/scholarships/legacy