College Planning

The financial aid office at the school your teen plans to attend is the best place to get information about federal, state, school and other sources of student financial aid.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by virtually all two and four-year colleges, universities and career schools for the awarding of federal student aid and most state and college aid. The FAFSA is the application for federal grants and scholarships (like the Pell Grant) and must be completed if the student is to receive any financial aid. The results of the FAFSA determine how much financial aid each student will receive.

Students who are in foster care anytime after their 13th birthday can answer ‘yes’ to question #55 which asks, “At anytime since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?” By answering ‘yes’ to this question, the student will be treated as an independent student and no parental (biological or adoptive) information is required. Students who answer ‘yes’ to this question should expect that the college/university will require proof of the student’s foster care status. Most colleges/universities will accept a copy of the court order placing them into the care of HHS or a letter from a social worker on HHS letterhead.

The FAFSA should be completed in the fall (beginning Oct. 1st) for students intending to start college the following August. For assistance completing the FAFSA, please contact your Transition Planning Specialist. To apply, visit:

Iowa College Student Aid Commission
Iowa College Aid is a state agency that advocates for Iowa students and administers scholarship, grant, loan and related programs to help students finance education expenses at colleges and universities of their choice.

Iowa College Access Network
Find downloadable documents to help plan, apply pay for and succeed in college (i.e. college planning guide for juniors and seniors, list of current tuitions costs at Iowa colleges, and a financial aid guide).

TRIO Programs
TRIO Programs: Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Educational Opportunity Centers are federally funded programs through the US Department of Education and are designed to encourage students to seek higher education. Services may include career exploration, choosing a college, financial aid, and support to increase success in college. The Federal TRIO Programs are educational opportunity outreach programs designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes six outreach and support programs targeted to serve and assist low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities, to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs. Contact your local college to obtain the name of the contact person for the TRIO program in your area. This program can offer iInstruction in basic study skills, tutorial services, guidance on career options, academic, financial, and personal counseling.


Guardian Scholars Foundation

The Guardian Scholars Foundation (GSF) works with the Department of Human Services to locate young adults who have spent time in the foster care system between the ages of 14-18 and wish to attend college full-time. The program helps to facilitate their dreams by working with the host college to create a support system of administration, professors, and financial aid associates ready to work with the academic inequality and financial instability that often accompany an individual from the foster system.


Currently, Buena Vista University, Grand View University, and Waldorf College have teamed up with the Guardian Scholars Foundation to become partner colleges. When a student is accepted as a Guardian Scholar at a partner college the institution agrees to gift an additional $8,000 per year on top of previously offered aid and the Guardian Scholars gift, in order to attempt to guarantee paid tuition, room and board, and a stipend for textbooks. Within the next year, GSF hopes to work with many colleges in the state of Iowa and greatly grow the number of students receiving aid.



DMACC - Connecting Young Adults

DMACC understands the difficulties youth face entering college after leaving
foster care and can assist with: bus passes, rent assistance, counseling, tutoring, advisors and social events. More info:


College Scholarships

Information about scholarships may be available at your high school counselor's office or local library. You may also find scholarship opportunities through foundations, religious organizations, community organizations, and civic groups, as well as organizations related to your teen’s field of interest. Also check with your employer or union to see if they award scholarships or have tuition payment plans.

ETV (Iowa Education & Training Voucher) Grant
Up to $5,000 per year per student. Youth must have a high school credential (either a GED or diploma) and must:

To apply, visit:


For more info contact: Tristan Lynn 877-272-4456 Option 3/ 515-725-3409 or

National Foster Parent Association
The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) offers scholarships for foster youth, adopted youth, or biological youth of currently licensed foster parents, who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational / job training, and correspondence courses, including the GED. Foster parents must also be members of NFPA. For more info on application requirements and deadline, visit:

Foster Care to Success
Foster Care to Success (for the past 30 years known as the Orphan Foundation of America) is the nation’s oldest and largest organization with the sole purpose of helping young people transition from foster care to successful adulthood through education. Each year they fund approximately 100 new students through the Casey Family Scholars and Foster Care to Success scholarship programs. Applicants must have been in foster care for the 12 months prior to their 18th birthday and scholarships are awarded based on a combination of merit and need. The online application is open between January 1 and March 31 annually. For more information including complete eligibility requirements and to submit an application, visit

Morency Foster Youth Scholarship
The Morency Foster Youth Scholarship helps young adults in the foster care system continue their education and pursue their lifetime goals. Applicant must have been in the foster care system for 12 consecutive months prior to their 18th birthday, or 12 consecutive months prior to beginning their post-secondary education. Applicant must graduate from a high school located in one of the following counties: Cedar, Clinton, Des Moines, Jackson, Lee, Louisa, Scott, Muscatine, Johnson, Washington, or Van Buren. Applicant must be 21 years of age or younger. Applicant must be enrolled in, or have been accepted into an educational institution for the purpose of earning a degree, diploma, certificate of completion, etc. A minimum of one $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to an individual in Iowa. The Morency Foster Youth Scholarship application can be found on

Fory Charitable Trust Scholarship
The Fory Charitable Trust was created in 2008 to carry on the legacy of Wilma Sue Fory's support of work with orphans in Russia and Ukraine. Ms. Fory had an intense love for and desire to assist orphans in Russia and Ukraine, as well as provide for those children who were adopted by loving families in the United States. Ms. Fory was a firm believer in higher education. Scholarships may be awarded in an amount up to $2,000 per calendar year. The deadline for submission of applications is March 1. To qualify for financial assistance, the following criteria must be met: Adopted from Russia and have proof of adoption and U.S. citizenship;
Immigrant to the United States from Russia and have proof of your place of birth and legal status to be in America. For more information, visit the following link:

Horatio Alger Iowa Scholarship
The Horatio Alger Iowa Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students in the State of Iowa who have exhibited integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity and who aspire to pursue higher education at the University of Iowa. The University of Iowa has generously agreed to match the Horatio Alger Scholarship, making the $3,000 Horatio Alger Award worth $6,000. Applicants must pursue a bachelor's degree at the University of Iowa (proof of enrollment will be required, students may start their studies at a two-year institution & then transfer to a four-year institution). Application deadline for this scholarship is typically at the end of October. More info:

Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa Scholarships
The Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa will award three scholarships to high school seniors planning to obtain post-secondary education (college or vocational). Three scholarships valued at $1,000 each will be awarded. Application deadline is March 31. To apply, visit:

National Center for Learning Disabilities Scholarship
The Anne Ford $10,000 Scholarship is given to a high school senior with an identified learning disability who is pursuing an undergraduate degree. To learn more and to find a list of other scholarships for student with learning disabilities, visit:

Eychaner Foundation - Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarship
The Matthew Shepard Scholarship Program assists lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Iowa high school students with college financial aid. All scholarships are renewable annually for up to four years upon evidence of academic achievement, continued service to the LGBT community and an interview with the scholarship committee. For more info, visit:

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is the nation’s largest, oldest, and most successful minority higher education assistance organization. UNCF provides scholarships and internships for students at about 900 institutions.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is the nation's leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education. HSF provides the Latino community more college scholarships and educational outreach support than any other organization in the country.

American Indian College Fund
The AICF raises funds to support student scholarships and other developmental needs at the nation's tribal colleges and universities across the U.S. AICF administers several scholarship programs offered to American Indian students attending both tribal colleges and selected mainstream universities.

Association on American Indian Affairs
The Association of American Indian Affairs offers several scholarship opportunities to Native Americans. Application information for the following school year, is available on their website in February/March.


Scholarship Program for Foster Alumni Age 25 and Over

At Foster Care Alumni of America, we believe in all people from foster care.  That is why we launched a scholarship program for foster care alumni 25 and over, to help fill a gap in educational opportunities for older alumni.  For more information go to:

Important Dates:

Scholarship Release Date: May 29, 2017

Scholarship Application Due Date: July 28, 2017

Notification of Award: August  25, 2017. 

Distribution of Funds: September 2017


Congressional Foster Youth Internship Program




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