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Scholarships for Students Experiencing Foster Care

Find scholarships designed to help students experiencing foster care

If you've gone through the foster care system and are planning for college or career training, the federal government and the State of Vermont have scholarships available. These scholarship programs are dedicated to supporting young adults who have gone through the foster care system and provide additional funding to support the costs of education. You can also find additional scholarships for Vermonters in VSAC's scholarships booklet.

The booklet for students planning to attend college in 2024–2025 is available online, and the Unified Scholarship Application (USA) can be completed by logging into MyVSAC. 

The deadline for VSAC-assisted scholarships is extended to March 1, 2024. After the deadline for VSAC-assisted scholarships passes, students can still apply for the scholarships that are administered by other organizations. Refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of the VSAC scholarship booklet for all deadlines open through July.

Vermont John H. Chafee Education and Training Scholarship

(Sponsored by the federal government)

If you’ve experienced foster care and have recently graduated from high school, this scholarship may be right for you. Its purpose is to help young adults who’ve been in the foster care system prepare for and enter job training programs or college. Funding for this scholarship requires annual federal approval.

Under this scholarship, you may be enrolled in any program—and there are no requirements as to the number of credits that you must take.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this scholarship, you must:

  • Experienced Department for Children and Families (DCF) custody after the age of 14 (after age 16 if exited to adoption or legal guardianship).
  • Be under the age of 26 and have not participated in the program for more than 5 years (years do not have to be consecutive).
  • Demonstrate financial need.
  • Attend an accredited school approved for federal Title IV funding (Pell grants, federal Direct loans).

Required documents

To apply for this scholarship, you’ll need to submit a:

Amount

Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $3,000 and may not exceed $5,000. The amount disbursed cannot exceed your total cost of attendance as defined by federal aid (tuition, fees, room, board, books, and personal expenses) minus your student aid index (SAI) and all other sources of gift aid combined.

 

Emily Lester Vermont Opportunity Scholarship

(Sponsored by the State of Vermont)

If you’ve experienced foster care and you’re ready to go to college, this scholarship—funded by the State of Vermont—may be right for you.

Under this scholarship, you must be enrolled in an undergraduate associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. There are no requirements as to the number of credits that you must take.

Eligibility

To be eligible for this scholarship, you must:

  • Be currently under the custody of the Vermont Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) OR be between the ages of 18 and 24 and have been under the custody of the Vermont Commissioner of the DCF for at least 6 months when you were between the ages of 16 and 18
  • Seek an undergraduate degree
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Attend an accredited school located within Vermont and approved for federal Title IV funding (Pell grants, federal Direct loans).

Required documents

To apply for this scholarship, you’ll need to submit a:

Amount

Scholarships generally range from $1,000 to $2,000 and may not exceed $3,000. The amount disbursed cannot exceed your total costs (tuition, fees, room, and board) minus your student aid index (SAI) and all other sources of gift aid combined.