Educational Supports for Youth in Foster Care - West Virginia

Date:

Support for Completing High School

Citation: Foster Care Pol. Man. § 5.26

Services for transitioning youth include the following:

  • Academic counseling to provide assistance with discovering the reason for failing grades, not being able to study appropriately, or not being able to concentrate in class and how to overcome these difficulties
  • Educational advocacy to assist with obtaining the required services to complete an educational plan, such as helping the youth maintain contact with school counselors, attendance counselors, and social workers for needed services; assisting the youth in obtaining needed services; and working with the school on any issue related to the youth's educational plan
  • Academic evaluation of the youth's academic achievements and areas needing improvements to determine the supports and services the youth may need to accomplish his or her educational plan/goals
  • €¢ Homework and study skills assistance to provide youth with instruction on how to better obtain information from class, take notes in class, improve study habits, and how to take tests, as well as assistance with homework when it is needed
  • High school equivalency (HSE) preparation and support, including providing guidance in applying for, enrolling in classes for, attending classes for, and testing for the HSE
  • Literacy education to provide youth with appropriate reading and writing skills so they can obtain their high school diploma or HSE
  • Tutoring

Planning for Postsecondary Education

Citation: Foster Care Pol. Man. §§ 5.26; 5.34

Services for transitioning youth include the following:

  • Education/career planning to assist the youth in exploring educational and/or career interest or options, including using career resource libraries, interest inventories, job/college fairs, and other community resources
  • Educational services to assist the youth with postsecondary activities that will help them reach their educational goals, including assisting youth with test preparation (American College Test, Scholastic Aptitude Test), linking youth to colleges, providing youth an opportunity to attend college orientations/tours, assisting youth in completing financial aid applications, assisting youth in enrolling and registering in an educational program, and other educational resources
  • Education funding to assist youth in obtaining a postsecondary educational goal, such as a college degree, a program certification, or licensure, including tuition and fees, room and board at schools, interim housing, and food
  • Education supplies to assist youth in obtaining a postsecondary educational goal, including school clothing, books, and supplies

A youth in the care of the Department of Health and Human Resources who has graduated from high school or obtained his/her high school equivalency and has the interest and ability to pursue further education either in college or vocational school should be strongly encouraged to pursue his/her educational goals. The department may support youth who are continuing their education up to age 21 through the foster care program.

Eligibility Requirements

Citation: Ann. Code § 18B-10-7b; Foster Care Pol. Man. §§ 5.34; 5.34.1; 5.35.3

The governing boards shall make provisions for institutions under their respective jurisdictions to award a tuition and fee waiver for undergraduate courses at State institutions of higher education for any student, beginning with incoming freshmen in the fall of 2000 semester or term who graduate from high school or pass the general educational development (GED) examination while in the legal custody of the State Department of Health and Human Resources. The student must be in foster care or other residential care for at least 1 year prior to the waiver award. If the foster care or other residential care is provided in another State, the student must first be returned to this State for waiver award eligibility.

To be eligible for a waiver of tuition award, a student must first (1) apply to and be accepted at the institution and (2) apply for other student financial assistance, other than student loans, in compliance with Federal financial aid rules, including the Federal Pell Grant.

Waiver renewal is contingent upon the student continuing to meet the academic progress standards established by the institution.

In policy: Youth in foster care are eligible to receive State-funded tuition waivers for the purpose of attending a West Virginia public higher education institution. Within limitations of the governing boards, the waiver program is available to any youth who meets the following criteria:

  • Has been in foster care or residential care for at least 1 year prior to the waiver application
  • Graduated from high school or passed the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) examination while in the legal custody of the Department of Health and Human Resources
  • Applies for the waiver within 2 years of graduating from high school or passing the TASC
  • Has been accepted to a West Virginia public higher education institution
  • Applies for other student financial aid, other than student loans, in compliance with Federal financial aid rules, including the federal Pell Grant

Federally funded Chafee Education and Training Vouchers (ETVs) are available to assist with the costs of higher education or vocational training for the following three categories of youth as follows:

  • Youth adopted from foster care after age 16
  • Youth who have aged out of foster care
  • Youth placed in legal guardianship after age 16

Youth formerly in foster care who turned age 18 while in foster care can receive Chafee services up to age 23 and can receive ETVs in certain circumstances up to age 26.

Financial Supports for Postsecondary Programs

Citation: Ann. Code § 18B-10-7b; Foster Care Pol. Man. § 5.35

The waiver provided by this section for each eligible student may be used for no more than 4 years of undergraduate study. An initial waiver must be granted within 2 years of graduation from high school or passing the GED examination.

The waiver may only be used after other sources of financial aid that are dedicated solely to tuition and fees are exhausted.

In policy: The waiver covers tuition and fees after other sources of financial aid dedicated solely to tuition and fees are exhausted. Each educational facility determines the amount that will be covered by the tuition waiver. The waiver does not cover room and board or the cost of books. The youth may apply for the West Virginia Foster Youth Tuition Waiver at the financial aid office of the college or university where accepted. A letter on department letterhead signed by department management will be required as proof of foster/residential care placement 1 year prior to the waiver application. The youth must continue to meet the academic progress standards established by the West Virginia higher educational institution they are attending in order to receive a waiver renewal.

Youth formerly in foster care who meet the eligibility criteria may receive educational assistance through the ETV program up to $5,000 per calendar year, for up to 5 years total. The money may be used to cover the costs of attending college or vocational training, including all expenses related to a course of study such as computers, special clothing, shoes or boots, books, housing, transportation, and other related educational expenses.

ETV funding will continue to be available until age 26 for youth who are enrolled and making satisfactory progress in an educational or vocational program on his or her 25th birthday.