Come around the Foster Care to Success office in July, and you’ll find our phones lit up like Manhattan skyline as students apply for the Educational Training Voucher (ETV) Program, which provides funding and support to foster youth for post-secondary education. The application process is easy, but understandably, nerve-wracking for students trying to make sure their school and associated costs are paid for. There’s no need to worry, though.
This summer, Foster Care to Success launched a new website making the ETV application process easier for students in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. If you’re a student needing information on ETV or to apply, visit Fosteru.org.
ETV is an annual federal grant provided to states to fund youth who have aged out of the foster care system and who are enrolled in college, university and vocational training programs. Students may receive up to $5,000 a year based on their cost of attendance. They must enroll before their 21st birthday and may continue to receive support until age 23. Funds may be used for tuition, dorm fees, books, student loan repayments and qualified living expenses. ETV funds can be combined with other grants and scholarships to minimize or eliminate the need for student loans. Don’t forget – students wanting ETV funds must re-apply every year.
To qualify for ETV funding, you must meet the following requirements:
- Youth must be in foster care, adopted from foster care after age 16, or aged out of foster care.
- For most states, youth must be aged 18-20; however the age requirement varies by state.
- Youth must have a high school diploma or GED.
- Youth must be accepted into or enrolled in a Title IV, accredited college or vocational/technical training program.
To apply, fill out the online application AND send in the required paperwork.
- The ETV Financial Aid Release Form. Students must complete and sign the top part of this form and bring it to their school’s financial aid office. The financial aid officer fills in cost of attendance and all of the student’s other loans, grants and scholarships and faxes it to ETV. This form shows ETV the student’s ESTIMATED NEED.
- The ETV Cashier Statement. Students must complete and sign the top part of this form and bring it to their school’s cashier/bursar’s office. The bursar fills it in and faxes it to ETV. This form shows ETV if the student has any unpaid tuition and specifies when tuition is/was due.
- The ETV Student Participation Agreement. This form explains the student’s responsibilities as a program participant. It must be must signed and faxed or mailed to ETV before funding is disbursed.
Once you’ve applied, you can check the status of your application online by clicking on your state on the home page of FosterU and from there, on “Update my information/Check my status.” After entering your user name and password (assigned when you first apply), you can see your current status, including what paperwork (forms and transcripts) has been received and what still needs to be submitted.
The process doesn’t stop when you get your check. To keep your current funding and remain in good standing for next year, you have to sign and follow the ETV Student Participation Agreement’s list of student’s responsibilities. The requirements are:
- Students must demonstrate that they are making progress toward their educational goals.
- Students must stay in touch with ETV by email or phone, at least twice a month.
- Students must read their email at least once a week.
- Students must send in new ETV forms each semester/quarter in order to receive ETV funds.
- Students must ask their schools to mail their official transcripts to ETV at the end of each semester/quarter funded by ETV.
- Students must update their applications every time their personal information changes.
Good luck with your application. If you’ve applied, you’ll be hearing from the ETV coordinators soon. We can’t wait to talk to you.