There are four main resources to help former fosters, orphans, or wards of the state pay for college:
Federal Aid (grants/loans/work-study) obtained via the FAFSA (Free Application of Federal Student Aid)
FORWARD with Federal Aid
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for federal and state grants, loans, and work-study.
Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
- Must be renewed annually
- Funding priority deadline is March 31 (filing earlier is encouraged) to ensure the maximum opportunity to receive grants (“free money”.)
- Foster Youth:
Tips for Completing the FAFSA
Information on filling out the FAFSA with special circumstances, e.g. no parental involvement: http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out#are-you-unable-special-circumstance
FORWARD with State Tuition and Fee Waivers
If you were in foster care before you graduated high school or were adopted out of foster care, you may be eligible to have all of your tuition and fees waived.
To be eligible you must attend a state college or university within three years of graduating high school and before your 21st birthday.
In addition to properly completing the FAFSA, you must submit documentation from CPS or another authority confirming enrollment in the foster care system to:
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(Tuition Waivers do not cover housing, parking permits, or other living expenses.)
FORWARD with the Texas Education and Training Voucher
The Texas Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program allows the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to expand and supplement the current assistance provided to former and eligible foster care youth and specifically, helps to begin, continue and/or complete educational goals. This voucher may assist with housing and living expenses and may help you avoid taking out student loans.
To learn more, visit their website at http://discoverbcfs.net/texasetv
FORWARD with Scholarships
The following is a partial list of scholarships that may be available to you. We encourage you to consider these as well as other scholarship opportunities that may exist in your local community, the state of Texas, nationally, and through Sam Houston State ScholarX Scholarship Application on the Sam Houston State University scholarship web page.
- Orphan Foundation of America: http://orphan.org/index.php?id=30
- National Foster Parent Association: http://nfpaonline.org/education
- Texas Foster Family Association Scholarship: http://www.tffa.org/news/scholarship-fund/
- Sam Houston State’s Former Foster Youth Scholarship as well as other institutional scholarships at http://www.shsu.edu/~fao_www/scholarships/
Links to other financial aid resources