Scholarships for Foster Children

Financial Aid Resources for Foster and Adopted Children

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? It is estimated that more than 400,000 children are living without permanent families in the United States and that over 27,000 of those children will age out of foster care this year. Although most Americans favor adoption, few have taken the necessary steps to formally adopt a child. One deterrent may be the cost of raising a child, which can easily run over $240,000 from birth to high school graduation. When you factor in the average cost of a college education that figure can skyrocket to nearly $350,000 (at today’s rate). Thankfully, there are some resources that can help reduce the expenses of a college degree for those who have spent time in the foster system or have been adopted from a state-run foster program. For example, The North American Council on Adoptable Children has a robust listing of states that offer college tuition waiver programs, which can greatly reduce the tuition fees for those attending colleges within the state’s system, including community colleges, universities, and technical colleges. Students may also qualify for grants and scholarships that are specifically for foster and adopted children, such as:

1. Kansas Foster and Adoptive Children Scholarship Fund

Students who have been foster children in the State of Kansas, or adopted from a Kansas program, may be eligible for scholarships through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. The amount of each scholarship varies, but students may apply in either the spring (July 1) or fall (November 1) semester. For more information, students can email

Cut College Costs2. NFPA Youth Scholarship

Each spring, the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) awards up to five scholarships to foster or adopted children of NFPA members. The scholarships may be used to defray costs of attending college, vocational schools or job training programs. In addition to the Youth Scholarship, NFPA also partners with the University of Phoenix and awards an additional five scholarships to those pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree at the college. For more information on either of these programs, contact or call 800-557-5238.

3. North Carolina Reach

Legal residents of North Carolina, who have aged out of foster care or were adopted after the age of 12, may be eligible to receive funding to cover their college tuition and fees without having to take out student loans. Students must attend one of the 74 North Carolina public community colleges, colleges or universities, and be enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours. Students must reapply each year, after July 1, for a maximum of four years or until they turn 26, whichever occurs first. For more information, call 800-585-6112.

4. The Sponsored Scholarship Program

Each year, Foster Care to Success (FC2S) connects hundreds of students, who are aging out of foster care, with individual and corporate sponsors that will help pay for tuition and other college-related fees. In addition to the financial assistance, students also receive support from the FC2S Team, including academic and career coaching, care packages and internship opportunities. For more information, contact Tina Raheem at

Adoption Month5. OFA/Casey Family Scholars Scholarship

International and U.S. students who have been in foster care for a minimum of one year prior to their 18th birthday, or have lost both parents and have never been adopted, may receive up to $6,000 per year through this program. The scholarships are renewable for an additional five years or until completion of an undergraduate degree, whichever comes first. Each year, 50 to 100 awards are offered. The next deadline is tentatively set for March 31. For more information, contact

6. Dorothy and Robert DeBolt Scholarship

Students who are 25 years of age or younger, and have been adopted after being in the California foster care system, may be eligible to receive $2,000 for tuition, books and other fees. Students must be legal residents of California, but may attend any U.S. accredited college, university or trade school. A history of community service is also required. Applications must be received by May 31. Additional information may be obtained by contacting

Many colleges also provide grants and scholarships to foster and adopted children. Arizona State University awards a number of scholarships, valued up to $8,000 annually, to students under the age of 21. To be eligible, the students must be enrolled full time and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Students should always check with their financial aid department to ensure they are not missing out on any potential financial aid, as well as national and community organizations that support foster and adoptive families. It’s also a good idea for students to widen their search for scholarships to include programs that may be for merit (grades), athletics, creative writing, and other talents or skills.

Get a Customized List of Scholarships Just for You
It's fast, easy and free. Sign Up and Start Your Search Today!


Tamara is the Social Media Coordinator and a regular writer for, and She enjoys helping students prepare for college. As a mother of four, Tamara has first-hand experience with many areas of education, including special needs (autism), the International Baccalaureate program and post-secondary education. She enjoys speaking at schools and mentoring others online. In her free time, Tamara enjoys volunteering and supporting her favorite football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
16 Responses to “Financial Aid Resources for Foster and Adopted Children”
  1. Rene Shipp says:

    Are there any scholarships for a foreign adopted student about to enter college in TX. Seems you have to go through the system in tx to rec. help from them. Thanks.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Unfortunately, most organizations do not include foreign adoptions. Most assume that parents who have the means to afford a private adoption outside the U.S. are affluent enough to cover college expenses, as well. Although this is not the case with all families, it seems to be the reasoning for excluding them from scholarship opportunities. State programs are typically restricted to only those who were adopted through state agencies.

  2. Christina Trent says:

    Are there any scholarship options for students about to start college who were adopted at birth? Most scholarships that I can see have a specific state and/or the student has to have been adopted after the age of 16…

    Thank you

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Unfortunately, I have never come across one for students who were adopted at birth. The awards are typically given to teenagers who spent the majority of their lives in foster care, and were never fortunate enough to have a stable home.

  3. Christy Stinson says:

    I know a man who is 32. He was in foster care much of his childhood. He did get a GED and has struggled to care for his now 6 children. He wants to become a firefighter. This man is committed to his family and children and his story inspires others. However, because he is working long hours on low pay to support his family, he cannot afford an education. Are there scholarships for people like him?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Yes! There are many for returning adult students and even scholarships specifically for those pursuing a career as a firefighter. Be sure he applies for FAFSA and meets with a financial aid officer at his intended college, as he may be eligible for need-based aid, as well. Please have him register for a free account with, as he should start applying for scholarships 6 to 12 months before he expects to enroll in a program.

  4. Alison says:

    How do I find scholarships for California residents who were adopted but not in Foster care?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Alison,

      The majority of these awards are for students who spent considerable time in foster care or lost their parents later in their lives (after age 16). If you were adopted at a young age, you are generally treated as a biological child in the scholarship world. I would focus on other scholarships, such as those specific to CA residents ( and those that target your unique skills and talents. Don’t forget to register for a account, too!

  5. Wanda Brown Reed says:

    Are there scholarships or exceptions for children that were in foster care and adopted by two parents and one parent deserted the marriage when the one parent became disable causing more emotional hardship with the child affecting grades and life style. The state is Michigan and South Carolina. Thank you

    • Tamara Krause says:

      I have come across one or two scholarships for children of divorced parents, but none specific to those who were also adopted. I would not spend time looking for programs with such a narrow focus. Instead, think about your interests, hobbies and talents and look for scholarship programs where you can use these to stand out among other applicants.

  6. Lin says:

    Have you come across any scholarships for children who were in respite care for any duration of time? Or for children diagnosed with an attachment disorder?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      None that I can think of at this time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You may want to check with organizations that work with these issues.

  7. Madison says:

    I was wondering what exact grants I could get. I was in foster care until the age of 14. I was adopted and I am now 20 looking to go to collegeor trade school to become a LVN.

  8. Tamara Krause says:

    If you are a U.S. citizen, please register for an account at If you are not in the U.S., you can find scholarships for use around the world at


ScholarshipExperts is a fast and easy way for students and their families to get matched with scholarships to help pay for college. Create your free profile today!

Featured Scholarship

Search Posts

Scholarships for Everyone

Follow & Subscribe

Looking for Scholarships?

Register for a free account, answer a few questions and get matched to scholarships from our massive database containing awards worth nearly $14 billion!