Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Minnesota

Date: April 2020

Support for Completing High School

Citation: DHS Website

From the Department of Human Services (DHS) website: The STAY program may aid youth with continuing their education, including obtaining tutors, general education developmental (GED) fees, American College Test/Scholastic Aptitude Test or other test fees, postsecondary school applications and fees, postsecondary school financial aid applications, and vital documents for those applications.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: ETV Guidelines (DHS-5339M)

The independent-living plan for youth age 14 and older required by Minnesota statutes, § 260C.212, must include planning for postsecondary education. Youth under State/Tribal guardianship and those under permanent custody of a social service agency are the highest priority in preparing for adult living. Instilling a vision of postsecondary education can start at any age, with concrete planning starting in middle school.

School districts must assist all students by no later than grade 9 to explore their educational, postsecondary educational, and career interests, aptitudes, and aspirations. This includes developing a plan for a smooth and successful transition to postsecondary education or employment, per Minnesota statutes, § 120B.125.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: ETV Guidelines (DHS-5339M)

First-time applicants are eligible to apply for the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program after meeting the following criteria:

  • Are under age 26 when their complete application is submitted
  • Have graduated from high school or received a GED diploma
  • Are accepted into an accredited Federal Pell Grant-eligible institution of higher education
  • Are awarded financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant or Minnesota State Grant
  • Are one of the following:
    • In a foster care placement, made by the responsible county or Tribal social services agency, for 30 consecutive days or more between their 17th and 18th birthdays
    • Adopted, including customary adoptions, from foster care after their 16th birthday
    • In foster care on or after age 16 when the court ordered transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to a relative
    • Under State guardianship or Tribal guardianship at age 18

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: MN State Coll. & Univ. Pol., Proc. # 5.12.2; ETV Guidelines (DHS-5339M)

The president of a college or university may waive tuition for persons under age 21 who are under the guardianship of the DHS commissioner or for an American Indian child under suspension of parental rights or termination of parental rights under the guardianship of a Tribe or Tribal social service agency. These persons must be qualified for admission to a Minnesota State college or university.

The president of a college or university may continue to waive tuition up to and beyond age 21 for students meeting eligibility requirements. If the student has reached age 21 and has made satisfactory progress in his or her academic program but has not completed the program, the individual may petition the college or university through his or her designated campus official for continuation of the waiver until that program is completed. The designated campus official will make a recommendation to the president of the college or university. The decision to continue to waive tuition will be at the discretion of the president of the college or university.

From the Guidelines: The Minnesota ETV program is funded by the Federal Government and administered by the Minnesota DHS. Implemented in 2003, ETVs provide funds for eligible youth to attend accredited colleges and universities as well as vocational, technical, or trade schools. Students can receive up to $5,000 per ETV award year to help pay for approved school and living expenses. ETVs supplement a student's efforts to obtain financial assistance to help pay for the cost of postsecondary education. ETVs do not have to be paid back.