NYC Foster System: How to Continue Your Education
Continuing your education while transitioning out of the foster care system.
“Do everything beforehand. Deadlines are not your friend.”
“It’s always good to ask about programs. I didn’t find out about ETV until very late and I’d already taken out loans. I wouldn’t have had to pay so much in interest.”
- Apply for an Education and Training Voucher (ETV) as soon as possible.
- Write down financial aid deadlines in your calendar.
- Read about how financial aid programs work.
- Read about to CUNY programs specifically for foster youth.
- Apply for the Charles Evans Emergency Education Fund.
- Ask your foster care agency about education programs.
Education and Training Voucher (ETV)
“It’s pretty easy. Usually you’ll get a coordinator and they’ll tell you to ask for transcripts, especially when a new semester starts. You have an application process and fill out as to why you need it. Some give grants and ETV helps pay interest.”
This is a federal program specifically for foster care students that can provide up to $5,000 for education expenses. Apply as soon as possible, since it is given out on a first come, first served basis. If you apply earlier, you’ll have a better chance of getting money.
“I would definitely recommend ETV as a good funding advocate. You actually speak every month with a coordinator to see how school is going, what classes you’re taking.”
The ACS has recently partnered with the CUNY school system to offer special programs for foster youth. These programs can allow free dormitory housing (a good alternative to NYCHA), significant financial support, and counseling.
You may have to take out loans, especially for non-CUNY schools. This can seem like a confusing process, but the goods news is that foster youth usually qualify for financial aid programs. Because foster youth usually have zero on expected family contributions, that means you’re automatically qualified for a Pell Grant.
There’s more to financial aid than we can talk about here, but you should read up on how to fill them out — they can give you a signifiant amount of money for your education.
Do your step by step walkthrough here.
Charles Evans Emergency Education Fund
The Charles Evans Emergency Education Fund is a program specifically for youth in or aging out of foster care. They accept applications on a rolling basis, which means you can apply any time of the year but should also apply as soon as possible. It’s run in partnership with ACS, so you can talk to your case worker about more details.
Ask Your Agency
“Ask your agency, because some have special benefits and incentives for being college.”
Some foster agencies have special programs for education. For instance, HeartShare St. Vincent’s offers the American Dream Scholars program. They offer rewards for being in college like a monthly metro card, a stipend every month, and different trips. They also offer grade incentives where you get money based on your grade.
You should ask your agency specifically about education programs.