Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Maryland

Date:

Support for Completing High School

Citation: DHS Foster Care Educ. Man., § P

The Department of Human Services (DHS) shall help a student in foster care earn or to make up work and high school credits. When a student gets behind in the number of credits he or she needs to graduate from high school, it becomes more likely that he or she will not graduate. The caseworker will monitor a student's progress through high school to be certain that he or she is on track to graduate. For students who are attempting to make up academic work or to obtain original credit for courses, the following options may be offered, if applicable:

  • Twilight school, an extended-day program
  • Credit recovery program, available either at the school or through Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)-approved online programs
  • Online courses that must be MSDE approved to be awarded credit
  • Evening high school, summer school, or Saturday school
  • Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities€”MSDE-approved online courses
  • General educational development (GED) program

Planning for Postsecondary Education

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

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Educ. Code § 15-106.1; Code of Regs. § 07.02.11.12

A 'foster care recipient' means an individual who meets the following criteria:

  • Was placed in an out-of-home placement by DHS
  • Either of the following apply:
    • The individual resided in an out-of-home placement on the individual's 18th birthday or at the time the individual graduated from high school or successfully completed a GED.
    • The individual resided in an out-of-home placement on or after the individual's 13th birthday for at least 1 year and was placed into guardianship, adopted, or reunited with at least one of the individual's parents.

'Foster care recipient' includes a younger sibling of an individual described above if the younger sibling is concurrently placed into guardianship or adopted out of an out-of-home placement by the same guardianship or adoptive family.

A foster care recipient or an unaccompanied homeless youth who is exempt from tuition under this section continues to be exempt until the earlier of either of the following:

  • Ten years after first enrolling as a candidate for an associate degree or a bachelor's degree at a public institution of higher education in the State
  • The date that the foster care recipient is awarded a bachelor's degree

In regulation: In order to qualify for the tuition waiver, the youth shall be placed by a local department of social services in an out-of-home placement within the State, as follows:

  • At the time of graduation from high school or successful completion of a GED
  • On the youth's 13th birthday and the youth is placed into guardianship or adopted from out-of-home placement after the youth's 13th birthday
  • If the youth is the younger sibling of a youth described above and is concurrently placed into guardianship or adopted from an out-home-placement by the same guardianship or adoptive family

The youth shall be exempted from paying any tuition at a Maryland public institution of higher education, regardless of the youth's receipt of scholarships or grants, if following apply:

  • The youth is enrolled as a candidate for an associate degree, a bachelor's degree, or a vocational certificate at a Maryland public institution of higher education on or before age 25.
  • The youth has filed for Federal and State financial aid by March 1 of each year.

A youth may request assistance in obtaining funds for higher education or vocational training, through the Federal Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program. To obtain funds from the ETV program, the youth shall have done the following:

  • Have completed high school or received a GED certificate
  • Have exhausted all other forms of financial aid/assistance before requesting funds
  • Not be in default on any educational loan or owe a refund of an educational grant
  • Have filed for Federal and State financial assistance by March 1 of each year for the upcoming school year

The ETV program is available to the following:

  • Youth eligible for Chafee Independent Living Services, according to Federal guidelines, who are committed to Maryland
  • Youth previously living in out-of-home placement and pursuing postsecondary education or training in an institution of higher education or vocational program
  • Youth who were adopted or enter guardianship from out-of-home placement after their 16th birthday

Youth who are age 21 or older and are actively participating in the ETV program may remain eligible until they reach age 23 as long as they are continuously enrolled in postsecondary education and making satisfactory progress toward completion of the program.

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Educ. Code § 15-106.1; Code of Regs. § 07.02.11.12

A foster care recipient is exempt from paying any tuition at a public institution of higher education, regardless of that foster care recipient's receipt of any scholarship or grant, if the following apply:

  • The foster care recipient is enrolled at the institution on or before the date that the foster care recipient reaches age 25.
  • The foster care recipient is enrolled as a candidate for a vocational certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor's degree.
  • The foster care recipient has filed for Federal and State financial aid.

If a foster care recipient receives a scholarship or grant for postsecondary study and is enrolled before the recipient's 25th birthday as a candidate for a vocational certificate, an associate degree, or bachelor's degree at a public institution of higher education, the scholarship or grant may not be applied to the tuition for the foster care recipient.

In regulation: The Maryland tuition waiver provides a waiver of tuition for a Maryland public institution of higher education and is applicable to certain youth in, or formerly in, out-of-home care.

Tuition is determined by the individual public institution of higher education and includes the cost of tuition and registration fees as well as all fees that are required as a condition of enrollment. Tuition does not include the cost of room, board, books, and transportation. The tuition waiver is available to the recipient for up to 5 years after first enrolling as a candidate for either an associate or bachelor's degree in a Maryland public institution of higher education, or until a bachelor's degree is awarded, whichever is earlier.

The waiver is applied to the cost of tuition and registration fees as well as all fees that are required as a condition of enrollment. Scholarships and grants that the youth receives may not be used to pay for these costs. The tuition waiver may not be applied retroactively.

A youth may request assistance in obtaining funds for higher education or vocational training, through the Federal Chafee ETV program. The ETV funds may be applied toward the following:

  • Tuition and school fees
  • Room and board
  • Off-campus housing
  • Books
  • Rental or purchase of required equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Child care
  • Tutoring costs related to attendance in the educational program
  • Transportation that is necessary for the student to attend school