Scholarships for Adopted and Foster Children

Scholarships for Adopted ChildrenFoster and adopted children often face hardships in their lives, such as neglect or abuse. Some may also suffer from physical, emotional or developmental issues, making it difficult for them to progress in school.  A 2010 study by Chapin Hall (University of Chicago), shows that only 50 percent of foster students actually graduated from high school, and of those who did, only six percent also received a college degree. Although there are many reasons why these students may not complete college, financial support is often a contributing factor. Many may have to navigate the college financial aid process alone and may be unaware of how to obtain federal, institutional and private aid. They may also be unfamiliar with scholarships, not knowing where to find them or how to apply. Foster and adopted children not only have access to general scholarship programs, but also those that are specifically designated for students who have been in the foster care system or recently adopted. Here are just a few of the available programs these students may be missing.

1. Jack Pollock Scholarship

Students who have been in foster care for at least a year and plan to graduate from the Lake Waccamaw Boys and Girls Home in North Carolina may be eligible for this award. Students must plan to attend the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. The number of awards varies, with each valued at approximately $7,200 annually (renewable for up to six semesters). Deadline: November 1.

2. Armstrong Family Foundation Scholars Program

Those students planning to attend Arizona State University (must be a current AZ resident), who have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, should check out this award. The number of awards offered varies annually, with each award valued at up to $8,000. Students may re-apply each year for the scholarship. Deadline: February 2014 (TBA).

3. Casey Family Scholars Program

Any U.S. student who has been in foster care for at least 12 months before his/her 18th birthday, or was adopted after the age of 16, may be eligible for this scholarship. Students must have applied to college or be currently enrolled. The number of scholarships varies (usually between 50 and 100), with each valued between $2,500 and $6,000. Deadline: March 2014 (TBA).

4. Richard and Janice Van Deelen Scholarship

Juniors and seniors attending Calvin College, who have been adopted, may apply for this scholarship. Students must major in sociology and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. One $2,500 scholarship is available. Deadline: March 2014 (TBA).

5. Massachusetts Adopted Children Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program

To be eligible for this award, students must attend a public Massachusetts college and be under the age of 24. Students must have been adopted by a MA state employee or resident, as well. The number of awards varies. The maximum annual award is $6,000 (renewable for up to three additional years). Deadline: Varies.

6. VA Tuition Grant for Foster Children

Residents of Virginia, who have been in foster care, in the custody of a social services agency, or part of a special needs adoption, may be eligible for this grant. Students must be high school graduates (or GED) and plan to attend a community college in Virginia. The number of awards varies. The value of the grant cannot exceed the cost of tuition and fees. Deadline: Varies.

7. Maine Tuition Waiver Program for Foster/Adopted Children

Those who plan to attend a public college in Maine may be eligible for this scholarship. Students must be residents of Maine and a high school graduate (or have obtained a GED). Students currently enrolled in college are also eligible to apply. No more than 30 awards will be available annually. The amount varies, based on tuition and fees. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Many states offer waivers and scholarships for foster and/or adopted children. The North American Council on Adopted Children offers information on many of these programs, but students can also contact local government agencies and/or college financial aid offices for additional assistance. It’s important that students do not focus solely only on scholarships in this category, though, and expand their search to include other types of programs. Using a free scholarship search, like, can help students locate other awards that they may be eligible to receive.

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.
28 Responses to “Scholarships for Adopted and Foster Children”
  1. Andrea Michael says:

    Do you happen to Know any Programs where I can find people willing to Sponsor students from abroad to come study English as a second Language?
    I was adopted here in Texas by an american Family but in Reality i come from a very poor biological Family back in Colombia which i Just found after 15 Years of not knowing anything from them and I am trying so hard to break the cycle that has being going on for decades within that group of people and the only way i have a chance doing so is if i can get my Younger brother out of it get him through school/degree and have him and i be the role models for all the little ones to come behind us to keep on making a better life for every and each one of the new members of the family that there is to come. I do not have what it takes financially but I know that there is someone out there who wants to be involved in a wonderful deed like this would be “saving one kid” out of hundreds and hundreds in the same situation. My brother WANTS to make a change in his life to be the change in everyone else coming’s lives and i hope to find the right person or persons to help us.
    I hope to hear something back from you and thanks for taking the time to read this.


    • Tamara Krause says:

      You may want to check out It has many helpful resources for international students who want to study in the U.S., including a listing of scholarships offered by specific colleges to help students pay for their education.

  2. Bill Burgess says:

    Hi Tamara,

    Are there specific scholarships for children with Asperger’s and privately adopted at birth?



    • Tamara Krause says:

      Many of the scholarships for autistic children also include those with Asperger’s syndrome. You should also check with nonprofit agencies that deal specifically with Asperger’s.The majority of scholarships for adopted children are for those who have gone through a state program or foster care, but you should read the eligibility rules carefully before ruling out your child. Unfortunately, I think the reasoning for excluding privately adopted children from many programs is that most assume the parents were financially stable enough to cover the costs of the adoption, so they should be able to absorb the costs of a college education, as well. Of course, this is not always the case. Remember, do not focus completely on locating scholarships for children with Asperger’s or adoption, as there are so many more other programs available that reward students for grades, talents and other skills. Cast a wide net!

  3. liz says:

    Our daughter’s biological mother used drugs and alcohol during her pregnancy.We adopted our daughter from Foster care when she turned 4. The state we adopted her from does nothing in the way of any help with college. We were told that she wold probably not be able to learn how to read,much less go to college. But,she has a 3.3 GPA,and is now doing IB level work. She really does want to get an education. Do you know of any scholarship resources ? We cannot get any info about how to apply for the Anne Ford scholarship. Would she be eligible to apply for the Casey family scholarship ? Thanks so much. Liz.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Since you adopted her when she was 4, she would not be eligible for the Casey Family Scholarship, as it is for older children in the foster system. For the Anne Ford Scholarship, she would need to be a graduating senior and have an identified learning disability that has been medically documented ( I would not focus your efforts on scholarships specifically for adopted children and widen your search to include writing contests, merit-based awards and other scholarships that may reward her for volunteer work or other talents she may possess. Have her register for a free account at to see which scholarships she may be eligible to apply for and encourage her to stop by the guidance office to see what may be available locally, as well. When she begins applying to colleges, be sure to ask the financial aid office if they have any scholarships specifically for adopted children, as well as any for those in the IB program.

  4. Derek says:

    My wife and I are fostering 3 children ages 6, 7 and 9 and in the process of adopting. They all three excel at their current school but since they have moved in with us, our schooling options are not great. I would love to send them to a private school but they are to expensive for us. What type of scholarships or assistance could we receive?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Unfortunately, our service is limited to scholarships for post-secondary education and does not include resources for elementary, middle or high school. Most scholarships for private education at this level are funded through the school itself, so I would start with researching the schools in your area and the financial aid each provides. In some areas, school districts do offer scholarships to help cover a portion of tuition to attend magnet or private schools, if the school your children are assigned to does not meet certain standards. It’s generally a small stipend and not enough to cover a major portion of the costs, but every little bit helps.

  5. Candace says:

    Hello, I am currently living with my aunt and uncle because of the traumatic death of my mother when I was 8 and my father being imprisoned. I am wodering if i can still get a good amount of money if I am still living with family? If not can you please refer me to any websites you think would be most helpful. Thank you very much.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Candace. Please be sure to check out my post for students who have lost a parent, as there may be some scholarship opportunities for you. There are also scholarships for children who have an incarcerated parent, which you can find by registering for a free account with I assume you were asking about federal aid when you mentioned ‘a good amount of money’ and this really depends on a few factors. If your aunt and uncle were appointed your legal guardians by a court, you would be considered an independent student and would not include their income, or your father’s, on the FAFSA. If, however, they legally adopted you, then you would have to include their income, which may lower the amount of need-based grants and scholarships you may be offered. You can learn more about whose income needs to be reported on the FAFSA by visiting the Federal Student Aid Website.

  6. Rebecca Knox says:

    I was in foster care from age 3 until third grade when i was adopted. I was wondering if thete where any scholarships in the state of Indiana that would help me go to college.

  7. Alex Arroyo says:

    Hi Tamara,
    Any scholarships for California adopted children, we adopted our daughter as a new born and she is now ready for college. She is a CrossCountry runner but we need help meeting the difference between athletic scholarship and remaining balance.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Unfortunately, the scholarships for adopted children are for those who were in the foster care system for many years. Generally, the child must have been adopted after the age of 13. I would encourage her to start applying for other private scholarships, such as essay contests or those that target her other skills and talents. She may be eligible for all of these scholarships,

  8. bridget gonzalez says:

    Any scholarships for adoptees attending career technical schools? Also, one of our adopted daughters is gifted in graphic design and certified in Adobe photoshop. Any scholarships or info on internships in Los Angeles?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      I would recommend having her create a free account on to find awards sepcific to her area of study and where she plans to study. Most scholarships for adopted students are reserved for those who were in a state foster system for the majority of their lives, or adopted after the age of 13.

  9. alfredo says:

    is there any scholarships for adopted children in texas. I heard there is. My wife and I adopted two boys from Gladney Adoption Center in Forth Worth Texas. at Birth.The first on 2004 then the second on 2007.We are a middle class income family. I work and my wife is a housewife, she takes care of the kids.I’m aldo a veteran of Desert Storm Desert Shield disabled.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi, Alfredo.The scholarships for adopted children are generally reserved for those who spent considerable time in foster care. In Texas, I believe they must be 6 years of age or older when adopted, but you can contact DFPS and see if your children may qualify for any assistance with college. I would also encourage you to contact your VA office and see what educational benefits you may be eligible to receive. In some cases, these benefits may be transferred to your children.

  10. Kristi says:

    Hi there,
    My son was adopted at 11 from foster care, but he was in care from age 2-10. He is now in high school here in GA, and we are starting to look at all of his scholarship options. He is doing well academically, but he is still supported by an IEP. He will also be working toward a military scholarship as he has chosen to go the JROTC route and loves it! However, we’re concerned about continuing to help him in any way possible or provide additional resources if he wants to change his mind in the next 3 years. What all should we look into?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Kristi. Be sure to check into state-sponsored scholarship programs for Georgia students, as well as private scholarship opportunities. My son has an IEP because he is autistic, so if you son has a similar alternative learning style (ADHD, Asperger’s, etc.) you should also check organizations that deal directly with his condition. Many provide financial support at the college level. If your son volunteers often, or has other talents/hobbies, these are also areas where he may be able to earn scholarships to help cover his college expenses.

  11. sheena says:

    I have been adopted for 9 years and I’m preparing for college.Is there any scholarships in West Virginia?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Hi Sheena,

      If you were adopted before the age of 13, your chances of getting a scholarship for this is unlikely. Most programs are set aside for students who were still in foster care or state care in their teens. Check with your state’s Department of Education or Department of Children and Families to see if they may have any grants or scholarships for residents who were adopted at a younger age.

  12. alyssa says:

    i am considered a foster child by court but i have not lived in a foster home my aunt got custody of me when i was 5 am i able to get a foster child shcolarship

    • Tamara Krause says:

      Your situation would fall under legal guardianship, which is to your benefit. If your aunt never formally adopted you, you will be considered independent on the FAFSA, which should give you access to Pell Grants and other need-based aid because you will not need to include your aunt’s income. You may want to check with your state’s department of education to see if it offers any grants for students in foster care, as well. Fortunately, there are tons of other scholarships open to you, so be sure to register for an account at and start applying.

  13. Marie says:


    I was Wondering if I could Get a Scholarship if i was in and out of foster care in my life. But I was in foster care when I was 16 but I got adopted after the age of 16. I am currently 17 and in the 11th grade. I think I am eligible for it but which one would I be eligible for? I read about them all and thought the Casey family one fitted my situation but I wasn’t for sure.

    • Tamara Krause says:

      The best thing to do is register for an account with to see which scholarships you are eligible to receive. You should also check your state’s Department of Children and Families to see if it provides educational grants to students who were adopted as teenagers.

  14. Lisa says:

    A young man had been in Foster Care for a couple of months between the age of 10 & 13 (he can’t recall exactly). Afterwards, his father was awarded custody of him for approximately four years. After HS, the boy moved to another state, enrolled for Fed grants at a community college & was awarded financial aid as “Independent.” The school used his brief foster care stay to obtain the aid, although his father had claimed him as a dependent the previous years they simply left all the father’s info off– worked fast & flawless, fyi. Anyone else witnessed this?

    • Tamara Krause says:

      It sounds as if the school skirted the system or there may have been other circumstances that allowed the school to treat him as an independent student.


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!