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Teen Section: Education & Scholarships

Education & Scholarships

Educational Planning begins early!  At age 13 your service worker will help you develop an educational plan that is right for you.  Look at your interests, your goals and any possible roadblocks when discussing your educational plan.  It's a good idea to discuss activities and clubs, core, and elective courses you may want to take in school to further your educational plan.  Below is a worksheet that you can use to think about your educational goals, as well as other things to discuss with your service worker.  Talk about your educational goals with a mentor or adult in your life -- they have been there!

Use the worksheet below to help you think about your goals and plans:

Your educational plan can be changed at any time and should be reviewed regularly 

There are several post high school decisions that might be right for you. You may consider enrolling in a university, community college, or vocational program. Deciding what you want to do with your future can be a tough decision. By visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, you can find out what type of job might be right for you. If you find something that interests you, then maybe college is the right choice. Once you make the decision to go to college, then you will need to figure out how to pay for it. There are several ways to help fund the cost of going to college. As a former foster youth, you may be eligible for the Road to Independence Scholarship. You can also apply for additional financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Education using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).

  • How-to-study.com how to take notes in class, developing good listening skills, strategies for taking tests, and more

Step Up for Students - Foster Care.  If a foster child is entering Kindergarten through 12th grade and meets the income eligibility guidelines, he or she qualifies for a private school scholarship worth up to $3,950 or a $500 transportation scholarship to attend an out-of district public school.

Research Colleges

  • College View provides college information -- you can search by state and areas of study
  • CollegeBoard.com Use their college search engine to find colleges and universities with specific characteristics and to research college admissions requirements
  • American School Search - a public resource that compiles comprehensive information about Government Funded Colleges in the US.


Look at the schools you want to attend to find out if they require a standardized test. Most four year colleges require that applicants submit SAT scores. Some colleges use a different test called the ACT. Community colleges typically do not require that you take these tests.

  • ACT and SAT Preparation Number2.com's online test preparation courses are totally free! By creating an account you can access a customized course that includes user-friendly tutorials, practice sessions that dynamically adapt to each student's ability level, a vocabulary builder, and more!
  • ACT Student Site  you can find a full set of sample test questions, along with complete answer explanations, test-taking strategies, and detailed analyses of each section of the ACT

Paying for College -- Scholarships

Be sure to check the deadlines!

  • Casey Family Scholarship offers up to $10,000 in scholarships to youth under age 25 who resided in foster care for at least 12 months and were not adopted.
  • Hildegard Lash Merit Scholarship: $5,000 per academic year, available to students who are currently in foster care or were in foster care at the time of their high school graduation and/or 18th birthday, who are entering their sophomore, junior or senior year as a full-time student at a four year college or university.
  • Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program assists high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives.
    • Horatio Alger Florida Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students in the counties of Broward, Martin, and St. Lucie in the State of Florida who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity and who aspire to pursue higher education.
  • National Foster Parent Association Youth Scholarship  offers scholarships to foster youth for college, vocational training schools, correspondence courses and even GED prep programs. They award five scholarships of $1,000 each. Three are awarded to foster youth and two are awarded to birth or adoptive children residing in a foster home. To apply you must complete the application, obtain two letters of recommendation, and write an essay. See
  • United Negro College Fund provides scholarships to African American students who attend United Negro College Fund member colleges and non-member colleges. Search the database of UNCF and non-UNCF scholarships at the site

Scholarship Search Engines

  • Studentawards.com is a FREE scholarship search service devoted to helping high school seniors and college students find information on scholarships, bursaries, grants and other forms of financial assistance available from the private sector and not-for-profit organizations.
  • College Board.com online tool to help you locate scholarships, internships, grants, and loans that match your education level, talents, and background
  • The Point Foundation provides financial support, mentoring and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity
  • BrokeScholar is from the Princeton Review Scholarship Search, where you will find 650,000 scholarship award listings, including the official scholarships of The Princeton Review. You can use this free service to apply for billions of scholarship and grant dollars

Paying for College - Loans

  • Pell Grant Program The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post baccalaureate students to promote access to post secondary education
  • Direct Loans: Financial Aid to Students discusses applying for federal Direct Loans, options for repayment, use of interactive calculators, downloading Direct loan deferment and forbearance forms, information about Direct Consolidation loans, and using FAFSA on the Web.
  • Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt (PDF)
    This booklet covers what you should consider when you're planning on borrowing money to pay for your education; such as, what types of federal student loans are available, how much to borrow, the difference between private and federal student loans, and other helpful hints on how to manage your debt.


FASFA Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSA on the Web is the means by which you apply for federal student financial aid. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is also required by many colleges if you want to be eligible for aid offered by the college. You can complete the FAFSA on-line or file a paper copy. A FAFSA "Tip Card" can be printed out and attached to your computer, providing a handy guide to the steps necessary to complete the FAFSA. You can perform a Federal School Code Search to obtain the school codes required on the FAFSA.

Road to Independence Program

Tuition and Fee Exemption

Students within the Florida Public University System are exempted from tuition and fees at any public, Florida educational institution.

Requirements for “tuition exemption”

  • Young adults who are or were in the department’s custody at 18
    • Do not need to be eligible for the Road to Independence Program
  • Young adults adopted from the department’s custody after May 5, 1997
  • Young adults who were in the custody of a relative under the relative care statute, when they turned 18
  • Young adults, in departmental custody, who spent 6 months in the custody of the department after their 16th birthday, and were place in guardianship by the court.

Want More Information?

It's My Life: Post Secondary Education and Training (2006)  helps child welfare professionals prepare young people from foster care for financial and academic success after high school.

It's My Life: Financial Aid Excerpt (2006) For those primarily interested in helping young people find funding sources for college or vocational training, a 30-page excerpt from the guide.

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