Human Services Secretary Highlights Tuition Waiver Program for Students in the Foster Care System

Human Services Secretary Highlights Tuition Waiver Program for Students in the Foster Care System

HARRISBURG, PA — On Monday, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller joined lawmakers and advocates to highlight the Fostering Independence Through Education Act, a law that provides a tuition waiver program for students in the foster care system.

“We want to give students the ability to achieve a better life, but too often students from the foster care system do not have the opportunities and resources they need to succeed,” said Secretary Miller. “This program makes it so that students from the foster care system only need to focus on adjusting to college life and getting good grades.”

Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 16 of 2019 on June 28. The Fostering Independence Through Education Act law provides tuition waivers for youth who were in foster care or adopted from foster care, and are eligible for the Chaffee Education and Training Grant. This includes youth who are or were in the Pennsylvania foster care system at age 16 or older and youth who were adopted or entered into custodianship arrangements from the Pennsylvania foster care system at age 16 or older. The tuition waiver can be used for up to five years – they do not need to be consecutive – or until the participant reaches age 26.

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This tuition waiver applies to public and private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania as well as community colleges and most vocational-technical schools. The law also requires educational institutions to designate a point of contact at the school that will be a resource for eligible students to identify and apply for financial aid and scholarships and to help them access campus and community resources and educational support services.

“October is a time when many high schoolers are applying to college. DHS is proud to highlight this program and we encourage all students in the foster care system to take advantage of this waiver,” said Secretary Miller.

The program will begin in the Fall semester of 2020. Application information for the waiver will be available from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in January 2020.

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Source: Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

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