Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - North Carolina

Date: April 2020

Support for Completing High School

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

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 72.0102

'Case-management services' are a set of services provided to participating students and their families, which are designed to support the student's postsecondary education experience. Such services include the following:

  • Processing and accepting applications for the program
  • Certifying each eligible student and the amount of the eligible student's scholarship and communicating this information to the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority to authorize release of funds
  • Compiling accurate databases of resources in the students' academic communities that can help students succeed in school
  • Providing or arranging for counseling regarding academic issues as well as other concerns that may affect the performance of the student
  • Communicating with and advising students on academic issues
  • Providing contact with students throughout their postsecondary experience
  • Responding to students experiencing crisis
  • Providing or arranging for emergency housing up to 2 weeks for students who have no place to live when school is out of session
  • If allowed by the student, being available to consult with his or her family and staff of the local Department of Social Services regarding the student's postsecondary experiences
  • Monitoring grades and the individual's course of study and evaluating progress toward goal achievement
  • Maintaining records for each individual student regarding his or her academic progress and assistance provided

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 115B-2; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, § 72.0102

Persons eligible for a tuition waiver must meet admission and other standards considered appropriate by the educational institution. In addition, the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina shall accept these persons only on a space-available basis.

In regulation: An 'eligible student' is a student who meets the following criteria:

  • Has received a high school diploma or a general educational development (GED) diploma and has not yet reached his or her 26th birthday
  • Is pursuing an undergraduate degree, diploma, or certificate at an approved institution as a half-time or full-time student
  • Was in the custody of a North Carolina local Department of Social Services on his or her 18th birthday or was adopted from the North Carolina foster care system on or after his or her 12th birthday
  • Is making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of the course of undergraduate study

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Gen. Stat. §§ 115B-2; 115B-5.1; Admin. Code Tit. 10A, §§ 72.0102; 72.0201; 72.0203; 72.0301

The constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina and community colleges, as defined in § 115D-2, shall permit the following persons to attend classes for credit or noncredit purposes without the required payment of tuition: any child, if the child (i) is at least age 17 but not yet age 24; (ii) is a ward of North Carolina or was a ward of the State at the time the child reached age 18; (iii) is a resident of the State; and (iv) is eligible for services under the Chaffee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program.

The waiver shall only be to the extent that there is any tuition still payable after receipt of other financial aid received by the student.

If a person obtains a tuition waiver and also receives a cash scholarship paid or payable to the institution, from whatever source, the amount of the scholarship shall be applied to the credit of the person in the payment of incidental expenses of the person's attendance at the institution, and any balance, if the terms of the scholarship permit, shall be returned to the student.

In regulation: ETV is the Federal scholarship program funded by the John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act that benefits individuals who were in the custody of the department at or after age 17 or who were adopted or exited to guardianship on or after their 16th birthday.

The Postsecondary Educational Support Scholarship program, also known as NC Reach, was established by section 10.34(a) of Session Law 2007-323. The term 'scholarship' means an award for education awarded to an eligible student under the program.

Subject to availability of funds, a student shall receive a NC Reach scholarship for an academic year if the approved institution at which the student is enrolled or admitted for enrollment determines that the student meets the following requirements:

  • Meets the eligibility requirements as set forth in rule 72.0102
  • Is a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes under § 116-143.1 and the Residence Manual
  • Has complied with the registration requirements of the Military Selective Service Act or is exempt from registration requirements
  • Is not in default under any Federal or State loan or grant program

An eligible student shall not receive an NC Reach scholarship for more than a total of 4 academic years, to include the spring and fall terms and summer school.

Students shall apply online for NC Reach through The application shall include the applicant's personal information, education history, financial information, information release agreement, and electronic signature. Eligibility for the program shall be verified by employees of the State Division of Social Services.

An eligible student shall, subject to available funds, receive a scholarship for one or more semesters or quarters, provided that the eligible student's total financial aid, including from the ETV, Pell Grant, and NC Reach Scholarship, does not exceed the total cost of attendance.