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June 2000Vol. 1, No. 4Tuition Waiver Availability for Foster Care Youth

Keep track of State legislation granting tuition waivers to foster care youth through a new feature on the website of the National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD). The 7 tuition waiver States currently highlighted on a map of the U.S. are:

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Maine

(March 2003--Editor's note: a more up-to-date map can be found at

More detailed information can be obtained by clicking on a particular State, except for West Virginia where tuition waiver legislation passed but no information is available. States listed above provide financing for recently emancipated foster youth to attend any State college or university, with the exception of Virginia, which only provides waivers for 2-year community colleges. In general, former foster care youth are required to apply for Federal student financial aid programs and maintain good academic standing. Additionally, Minnesota requires its waiver recipients to contribute toward their expenses with gainful employment if they are able to work.

Foster youth in these States were instrumental in lobbying legislators to pass tuition waivers. In Texas, their voices convinced legislators to pass a tuition waiver bill in 1993 that had earlier failed in 1990 without foster youth advocacy. Some universities in Texas have partnered with Child Protective Services to provide additional educational incentives. For example, former foster care students at Texas A&M University at Commerce may receive an additional 4-year scholarship to help pay for room and board. They are also assigned a faculty/staff mentor and sponsor in the community. Maryland teens from the foster care system followed their Texan counterparts in February 2000 and successfully lobbied for tuition waivers.

NRCYD's website also lists States where tuition waiver legislation is being proposed (Massachusetts, Arkansas), is pending (Washington, Oklahoma), and where interest is growing (Montana, North Carolina). There is no tuition waiver legislation in Iowa but a 5-year pilot project, which began last year through Iowa College Student Aid Commission, will fund 20 scholarships to former foster youth. All costs for the first year, including tutoring, room & board, and books are covered, and are renewable for up to 4 years if students meet academic progress requirements. As information becomes available about other States, the website will be updated.

For more information, contact:

National Resource Center for Youth Development
University of Oklahoma
College of Continuing Education
4502 E. 41st St.
Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: 918-660-3700
Fax: 918-660-3737
Email: (March 2003--Editor's note: