Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - Montana

Date: April 2020

Support for Completing High School

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 408-1

A youth in foster care receives academic services designed to help him or her complete high school or obtain a general educational development (GED) degree. The services available include academic counseling, preparation for a GED, applying/studying for the GED exam, tutoring, help with homework, study-skills training, literacy training, and help accessing educational resources.

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 408-1

A youth in foster care receives support designed to help the youth enter or complete college. The assistance provided may include classes for test preparation (such as the American College Test/Scholastic Aptitude Test), counseling about college, information about financial aid and scholarships, help with completing college or loan applications, and tutoring while in college.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 408-1

A youth may qualify for the Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) program if the youth meets any of the following criteria:

  • Is age 14 or older and currently in foster care
  • Has 'aged out' of foster care and is not yet age 21
  • Was in foster care at age 18
  • Has had a guardianship established or adoption finalized after his or her 16th birthday

Priority for services is given to youth who have exited foster care because they reached age 18 and to youth age 14 or older likely to be in foster care until age 18. The child protection specialist, supervisor, or permanency-planning specialist identifies youth who are likely to 'age out' of foster care.

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Child & Fam. Serv. Pol. Man. § 408-1

Reach Higher Montana is the contractor for the ETV program.

The amount of funding each youth receives depends on the number of youth who apply for ETV in a State fiscal year. The maximum amount allowable per Federal regulations for an eligible youth to attend an eligible institution of higher education is $5,000 per year. However, award amounts might be significantly less than the $5,000 depending on the number of youth who apply for ETV in Montana.

The total amount awarded is dependent on other assistance available and cannot exceed the cost of attendance as defined by the Higher Education Act.

If a youth is still enrolled (based on the academic institution's definition of 'enrollment'), in a postsecondary education or training program and has been making satisfactory progress toward completing the program, despite not actually taking classes at the time the youth turns 21, the youth's eligibility for ETV assistance may continue until age 23. The determination as to whether the youth continues to be eligible must be made based on the individual institution's policy on enrollment and standards for satisfactory academic progress.