Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Alabama

Date:

Support for Completing High School

This issue is not addressed in the statutes, regulations, and policies reviewed.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Ala. Code § 38-12B-3

The Fostering Hope program shall include a mentor service administered by the department as a support system for participants of the college tuition scholarship program. This service shall include mentors who shall be compensated by the department, as employees or contractors, to help participants adapt to independent living and to academics and other college or university activities.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Ala. Code § 38-12B-6

To be eligible to participate in the Fostering Hope scholarship program, a scholarship applicant shall satisfy all of the following:

  • Be in the legal custody of the foster care program of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) at the time of graduation from high school or earning a general educational development (GED) high school equivalency certification or in the permanent legal custody of the foster care program of the department when his or her adoption is finalized, at age 14 or older, and he or she has graduated from high school or earned a GED certification
  • Have net personal assets worth less than $30,000, subject to adjustment by the DHR commissioner to account for inflation
  • Be younger than age 26 at the start of the semester, training program, or certification program for which tuition or fees are requested from the program
  • Be accepted for enrollment in a degree-granting, training, or certification program or is enrolled and working toward a degree, certificate, or completion of a job-training program at a public 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education or publicly funded training program in the State
  • Be making adequate progress toward the completion of a degree, certification, or training program, as determined by rules promulgated by the department
  • Has completed and submitted to the U.S Department of Education a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the equivalent, before each year in which he or she receives a Fostering Hope scholarship

The applicant must have applied for all Federal student financial aid grants, including Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, and Education and Training Vouchers, identified as being available for the student's application by the department or by Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, or its successor agency.

To be eligible to participate in the program after the first year of participation, an applicant also shall satisfy all of the following:

  • Complete, after the first academic year in which he or she receives a Fostering Hope scholarship, annual volunteer service requirements or employment requirements pursuant to rules promulgated by the department
  • Remain in good standing with the policies established by the college, university, or other training or certification program in the State in which he or she is enrolled

Scholarship funds may be disbursed only if sufficient funding for the Fostering Hope program is available.

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Ala. Code §§ 38-12B-2; 38-12B-3; 38-12B-5; 38-12B-7; 38-12B-8; 38-12B-9

The department shall develop and administer Fostering Hope, a State-funded scholarship program for designated persons currently or formerly in the State foster care program, including children adopted from the program at age 14 or older. Commencing with the 2016€“2017 academic year, the program, on behalf of participants, shall do either of the following:

  • Pay for tuition and required fees at any public 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education in the State
  • Pay required fees for job-training courses or skills certifications that are offered by any public 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education in the State or other publicly funded training programs in the State, and not considered an associate degree, if the courses or certifications are first approved by the department

Payments of tuition and required fees are considered program scholarships.

The program shall pay tuition and required fees for a participant, as governed by rules promulgated by the department. In no event shall tuition and required fees be paid for more than 72 academic hours toward an associate degree or 144 academic hours toward a bachelor's degree for each participant. The program shall pay only tuition and fees relating to an undergraduate degree.

A scholarship awarded pursuant to this chapter may not be reduced by the amount of any Federal aid, scholarship funds, or grant funds otherwise received by the person or by the amount of any private donations made to assist the Fostering Hope program.

Fostering Hope scholarship funds shall be applied to tuition and mandatory fees before any other grant, loan, voucher, or scholarship the student may be awarded to attend a public 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education in the State or publicly funded State training program.

Any other provision of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, an otherwise eligible person who earns grants, scholarships, or other awards, excluding loans, sufficient to pay his or her tuition, room and board, and other fees at a public 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education in the State or publicly funded State training program, as governed by rules promulgated by the department, may not participate in the Fostering Hope program.