Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Maine

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Support for Completing High School

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § V(T)

Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) caseworkers will ensure that youth in care who are age 15 to 18 are provided with academic support; tutoring; study skills training; assistance with homework; preparation for Scholastic Aptitude Tests, general educational development (GED) diploma, and other exams; and help accessing educational resources.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § V(T)

OCFS caseworkers will ensure that youth in care who are age 15 to 18 are provided with the following services:

  • Postsecondary educational preparation and support
  • Tutoring
  • Information about academic and training programs
  • Information about financial aid, Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funds, scholarships, and tuition waivers
  • Help completing college or loan applications
  • College tours
  • Conversations and support that assist the youth to plan for, enter, and complete postsecondary education or training programs

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 20-A, § 12572; Tit. 22, § 4010-C

A person is eligible for a tuition waiver if that person was in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and resided in foster care, subsidized adoptive care, or was a minor ward of a subsidized permanency guardian, as provided in title 22, § 4038-D, at the time that person graduated from high school or successfully completed a GED examination or its equivalent.

A person is eligible for a tuition waiver under this chapter if the following criteria are met:

  • The person is a Maine resident.
  • The person is a high school graduate or has attained a high school equivalency diploma.
  • The person has been accepted for admission to a State postsecondary educational institution.

The tuition waiver provided by this chapter is limited to the following:

  • Persons participating in undergraduate degree programs or certificate programs of at least 1 year
  • Persons who have not been enrolled full time for more than 5 years or the equivalent
  • Persons who have completed an application for Federal student financial aid programs for which they may be eligible

In order to be eligible to participate in the transition grant program, an individual must be at least age 21 but younger than age 27, must have exited the voluntary extended care and support agreement with the State under § 4037-A at age 21, and must be enrolled in a postsecondary education institution.

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 20-A, §§ 12572; 12573; Tit. 22, § 4010-C

A person who was in the custody of the department and resided in foster care, subsidized adoptive care, or a subsidized permanency guardianship at the time that person graduated from high school or successfully completed a GED examination may attend any State postsecondary educational institution free of tuition charges.

The tuition waiver provided by this chapter is awarded on a yearly basis and continues to be available, if the person is otherwise eligible under this section, as long as the person remains in good academic standing at a State postsecondary educational institution.

A State postsecondary educational institution shall absorb the reduction in tuition revenues that results from providing a tuition waiver to an eligible person under this chapter. The institution may not request additional general fund appropriations from the legislature to offset the reduction in tuition revenues.

A person desiring a tuition waiver may apply to the Finance Authority of Maine for determination of eligibility. Application must be on forms and in a manner prescribed by rule of the authority. The authority shall determine whether an applicant is eligible and notify the applicant. The authority shall also notify the State postsecondary educational institution at which the person is accepted of the eligibility of that person for a tuition waiver. Unless notified by the authority of a change in the student's eligibility, the institution may not bill an eligible student for tuition during that school year.

Tuition waivers to eligible persons are limited to 30 new students per year in each year at State postsecondary educational institutions as follows:

  • The first 25 tuition waivers must be available to eligible persons at the University of Maine System, the Maine Maritime Academy, and the Maine Community College System.
  • Of the five remaining tuition waivers, three must be available to eligible persons at the University of Maine System and two must be available to eligible persons at the Maine Community College System.

The department shall establish a transition grant program to provide financial support to eligible individuals to pay for postsecondary education. The transition grant is for postsecondary support up to the completion of an undergraduate degree. The level of financial support must be equivalent to the current voluntary extended foster care supports pursuant to § 4037-A. The department shall set duration limits, including a 6-year maximum for a 4-year degree, a 4-year maximum for a 2-year degree, and other duration limits for other types of postsecondary education. No more than 40 individuals at any one time may receive transition grants under this section.

The program must include postsecondary education navigator services that provide transitional services and college support. The department shall determine the specifics of those services.