Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - New York
Support for Completing High School
Citation: OCFS Info. Ltr. # 19-OCFS-LCM-08
Through the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee program), the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) will provide academic supports to eligible youth that are designed to help youth complete high school or complete classes for the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). Services include such activities as academic counseling, preparation for TASC, tutoring, help with homework, literacy training, study skills training, and help accessing educational resources. Academic support does not include tuition for a public or private high school, transportation to and from school, or postsecondary supports.
Planning for Postsecondary Education
Citation: Educ. Law § 6456; OCFS Info. Ltr. # 19-OCFS-LCM-08
Funds made available to institutions under the Foster Youth College Success initiative shall be spent for the following purposes:
- Summer college preparation programs to help youth in foster care transition to college; prepare them to navigate on-campus systems; and provide preparation in reading, writing, and mathematics for foster youth who need it
- Advisement, tutoring, and academic assistance for foster youth
In policy: Postsecondary educational support provided through the Chafee program include services designed to help a youth enter or complete a 2- or 4-year college or vocational program. Services may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Classes for test preparation (i.e., American College Test/Scholastic Aptitude Test)
- College counseling
- Assistance with applying for college
- Help with loan applications
- Securing financial aid
- College tours
Citation: OCFS Info. Ltr. # 19-OCFS-LCM-08; 20-OCFS-INF-05
The following youth are eligible for Chafee services:
- Youth who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older, including extended foster care, starting at age 14 up through their 21st birthday
- Youth who aged out of foster care at age 18, 19, or 20 until their 21st birthday
- Youth who exited foster care to either adoption or legal guardianship after reaching age 16 until their 21st birthday
- Youth who exited foster care for reasons other than adoption, guardianship, or aging out of foster care (e.g., youth who were reunified), if they experienced foster care at age 14 or older and are younger than age 21
The initial eligibility requirements for first time applicants for the federally funded Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program include the following:
- The applicant must be younger than age 21.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or qualified noncitizen.
- The applicant must be enrolled in or attending a postsecondary education or training program at an institution of higher education as defined by Federal law.
In addition, an applicant for ETV must have been one of the following:
- In foster care on or after his or her 14th birthday and otherwise eligible for services under the Chafee program
- Adopted or entered kinship guardianship from foster care at age 16 or older
- A juvenile delinquent in the custody of OCFS placed in a nonsecure OCFS-operated facility of 25 beds or fewer (in other words, a youth who is placed in a facility that would allow the youth to be eligible for title IV-E funding); or on aftercare status
If an applicant has previously been determined to be eligible to receive an ETV award, and would like to continue to receive such award, the applicant must reapply annually and demonstrate eligibility to continue receiving an ETV award. In no event may a youth participate in the ETV program for more than 5 years, whether those years are consecutive.
To continue to receive an ETV award, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- An applicant must have been previously determined to be eligible based on the criteria described above.
- An applicant must show satisfactory progress toward the completion of the educational or vocational program.
- An applicant must be younger than age 23.
Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs
Citation: Educ. Law § 6456; OCFS Info. Ltr. # 19-OCFS-LCM-08; 20-OCFS-INF-05
Subject to an appropriation, the commissioner of the Department of Education shall allocate the funds available for the Foster Youth College Success initiative for the purpose of providing support services to assist youth in foster care to apply for, enroll in, and succeed in college. Such grants shall be awarded to institutions of the State University of New York and institutions of the City University of New York, and the commissioner shall enter into contracts with degree-granting institutions in New York that are currently funded by the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program pursuant to § 6451 for the purpose of providing additional services and expenses to expand opportunities for foster youth.
For the purposes of this section, 'foster youth' shall mean students who (i) are an orphan or (ii) are, or have been, either a child or youth in foster care, as such term is defined in § 3234, or ward of the court at any time after their 13th birthday.
Funds made available to institutions under this section shall be spent for the following purposes:
- To provide additional services and expenses to expand opportunities through existing postsecondary opportunity programs at the State University of New York, the City University of New York, and other degree-granting higher education institutions for foster youth
- To provide any necessary supplemental financial aid for foster youth, which may include the cost of tuition and fees, books, transportation, housing, and other expenses as determined by the commissioner to be necessary for such foster youth to attend college
- To provide supplemental housing and meals for foster youth
In policy: Under the Chafee program, eligible youth may receive financial assistance for education, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Financial assistance for textbooks, uniforms, computers, and other educational supplies and materials
- Tuition assistance and scholarships
- Payment for educational preparation and support services (i.e., tutoring), and payment for TASC and other educational tests and application fees
- ETVs for college tuition or vocational education or tuition waiver programs
The ETV program is intended to help youth currently or formerly in foster care make the transition to self-sufficiency by receiving the education and training necessary to obtain employment. The ETV award will be the lesser of $5,000 or the total cost of attendance, minus any other financial resources (e.g., Pell Grant and scholarships) available to the youth.