Foster 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.
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.
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
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 ScholarshipExperts.com, can help students locate other awards that they may be eligible to receive.
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