Scholarships for adopted children

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Are There Scholarships for Adopted Children?

Scholarships for adopted children exist to help adoptees achieve their college goals and pursue higher education. Many providers create scholarships for adopted children and foster kids to help them overcome their challenges for a brighter future. Sources of college scholarships include agencies, nonprofits, states and schools.

There are 7 million Americans as adopted children in the United States according to the Adoption Network. About 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year. Another 428,000 are in foster care. More than 60% of foster children spend 2 to 5 years in the system before being adopted. But many remain with foster families until they age out. 

Each year Calvin College offers a $3,800 Richard and Janice Van Deelen Scholarship. It is open to students entering their junior or senior year of college. To qualify, you need a 3.0 GPA or higher and must be adopted. You must have a special interest in adoption such as plans to work in the field. 

Emily Lester Vermont Opportunity Scholarship provides an average of $2,647. It is open for Vermont undergraduate students who have proven financial need. To qualify, you must currently be under the custody of the Vermont Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). You could be 18 to 24 years of age and have been under DCF custody for at least six months between the ages of 16 and 18. 

The NFPA Youth Scholarship offers up to six $500 scholarships to birth, foster, kinship, and youth adopted through foster care. The awards aim to help students 17 and older study past high school. To qualify, your parent or another supportive adult, must be a member of the NFPA. Scholarships go to high school level students who are graduating or getting their GED.

10 Scholarships for Adopted Students You Should Apply for in 2021

  1. The Rezvan Foundation Scholarship
  2. Family Fellowship Program
  3. Gemini Foster Care Scholarship
  4. The Adoption Network Law Center Scholarship Program
  5. Maine Tuition Waiver Program (Foster Care) 
  6. Massachusetts Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program
  7. Calvin College Richard and Janice Van Deelen Scholarship
  8. Emily Lester Vermont Opportunity Scholarship
  9. Tennessee HOPE Foster Child Tuition Grant
  10. Youth in Foster Care Scholarship Program

State Scholarships for Adopted Children

Several states have specific programs that assist children adopted from foster care. Some states also have scholarships for adopted children.

Each year Kansas Foster and Adoptive Children Scholarship Fund helps current and former foster children in Kansas. The amount of the award and number of them varies with available funds. Selection takes into account academic merit as well as unmet need. Recipients use the money to study at college / junior college, vocational, technical or trade school. You must submit a form to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation when ready to apply. 

The All Iowa Opportunity Foster Care Grant (Opportunity Grant) is a state funded program. It aims to help youth aging out of the Iowa foster care system. The grant money offsets training/studies past high school. Youth who are Iowa residents with a high school diploma may qualify. If planning to attend an approved in state school. Your grant amount depends on the info you provide in the Iowa Financial Aid application.

What Other Financial Aid Is Available for Adopted Children?

There are several financial aid opportunities for adopted children. One reason is that parents who adopt older foster youth may not have enough time to put money aside for college. The good news is that federal and state programs may provide some help. There are also tuition waiver programs, federal loans and grants, and state scholarships for adopted children and foster care. 

The Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act made it possible for teens in foster care to be adopted without losing access to college financial aid.  Since July 2009, children adopted from foster care at age 13 or older are “independent” when it comes to filling out the FAFSA. At the state level, the agency that protects children and helps troubled families is the Department of Children and Families or DCF. 

They arrange adoptions and are a licensed child placement agency to place children in foster care. Voluntarily or though a court order. In different states, the DCF also provides financial assistance for any child adopted from DCF foster care.  

What are College Tuition Waiver Programs for Adopted Children?

As of 2020, 38 states have some type of statewide postsecondary education tuition waiver. Tuition waiver programs receive state funds. In effect, they require state supported colleges to waive tuition and fees for foster youth. If you are currently or formerly in the DFPS, then you may qualify for certain states. 

Texas DFPS Tuition Waiver Program is a state law that exempts or waives payment of tuition and fees at state supported colleges or universities for foster youth. It’s for current or former youth of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and for those adopted from DFPS.  

In Massachusetts, you might apply for the DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program. These entitle you to a tuition and fee waiver equal to 100% of the resident tuition rate. 

The funds pay for eligible state supported courses. As long as offered at the participating public colleges. To apply, you must obtain eligibility docs from the Department of Children and Families. Then, you must present them to your campus financial aid office for consideration.

List of Scholarships for Adopted Children

There are 521 awards worth $1M below

Foster Care to Success Scholarships

These undergraduate scholarships range from $2,500-$5,000 based on a combination of need and merit. $1,500 provides books and supplies for one student for one year. $2,500 helps a community college student attend classes for one year. $5,000 helps a university student attend classes for one year.

Total: $20000

Awards: 400

Deadline: March 31

Casey Family Services Alumni

Foster Care to Success is America’s College Fund for Foster Youth. This program is open to those who were part of Casey Family Services Foster Care in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont, and provides up to $10,000 over the course of a college career.

Total: $100000

Awards: 100


Adoption STAR Academic Scholarship Program

Adoption STAR offers a confidential, reliable, experienced, passionate and compassionate authorized and licensed non-profit adoption agency. Through its academic scholarship program, Adoption STAR recognizes college bound individuals who were adopted by providing academic scholarships. Apply today!

Total: $3000

Awards: 3


Adoption STAR Scholarship for LGTBQ+ Prospective Parents

Adoption STAR offers a confidential, reliable, experienced, passionate and compassionate authorized and licensed non-profit adoption agency. The scholarship is specifically for candidates that are a current Adoption STAR client and who are LGBTQ+ prospective adoptive parents that are already in possession of an approved home study.

Total: $2250

Awards: 3

Deadline: May 31

Shining Star Scholarship for the Adoption of Children with Special Needs

Adoption STAR offers a confidential, reliable, experienced, passionate and compassionate authorized and licensed non-profit adoption agency. Since 2002, Adoption STAR has provided prospective adoptive parents with scholarships to adopt children with disabilities, who they fondly refer to as Shining Stars.

Total: $3000

Awards: 3


Youth Empowerment Schoalrship

The scholarship is awarded to enable young people who are, or have been, in the care of, or looked after by the State of Texas, to access and succeed in higher education and to provide financial help to young people who have grown up in out of home care. The application deadline is the date set by the Committee of each year.

Total: $2250

Awards: 6


North Carolina Reach Program

Students attending any of the 74 NC public community colleges or 16 NC public universities are eligible to apply for NC Reach. Private colleges and universities, as well as all out of state colleges and universities, are NOT eligible to receive NC Reach funds. Click to learn more and apply today!

Total: $5000

Awards: 5


UMPS CARE Charities All-Star College Scholarship

The All-Star Scholarship is open to children adopted at or after the age of 13 to provide increased opportunities for advanced education.

Total: $40000

Awards: 1

Deadline: May 14