Fostering Independence Through Youth Act
On June 28, 2019, the Pennsylvania (PA) Governor signed ACT 16 of 2019, known as the Fostering Independence Through Youth Act, into law. This law created the Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program to remove barriers in accessing a postsecondary education for youth who are or have been in foster care.
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will administer the program alongside the PA Departments of Education, Human Services, and Labor & Industry in conjunction with the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood.
Eligible PA residents, who are or have been in foster care after the age of 16, will receive a waiver of college tuition and mandatory fees. This waiver will provide eligible young adults the opportunity to continue their education and graduate college with much less debt.
What does it do?
- Creates a tuition and fee waiver for undergraduate degrees at PA colleges and universities for youth in foster care to reduce financial barriers.
- Creates points-of-contact at institutions to help eligible students identify and apply for financial aid and scholarships, gather verification documents, and access campus and community resources and support services.
- Provides outreach to students to ensure that eligible students know about the waiver, available support, and how to apply for all available financial aid.
- Requires data collection and reporting by institutions and government agencies to improve retention and student success.
When does it start?
- Fall 2020
- Eligible young adults can enroll to start at PTC in October 2020
- The waiver may be used for up to five years until a young adult reaches age 26.
Am I eligible?
Participants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a PA resident under the age of 26.
- Received a high school diploma or received an equivalent degree.
- Be eligible for the PA Chafee Education and Training Grant Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood.
- Be a youth in foster care or a youth discharged from foster care at age 16 or older.
- Exited from foster care on or after 16 to adoption or permanent legal custodianship
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate, at least half-time in a postsecondary institution that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education for Title IV student assistance programs.
- Demonstrate financial need for the PA Chafee Education and Training Grant (Chafee ETG), as determined by the postsecondary institution.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress, as determined by the postsecondary institution.
- Not be in default on a federal student loan.
How do I participate?
Eligible foster youth must take the following steps to participate in the program:
- File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Submit a Chafee ETG Application–available April 2020. (Visit www.pheaa.org/FosterEd for additional information.)
- Enroll in an eligible PA postsecondary institution.
Who can help?
PTC has a point-of-contact available to support eligible students throughout their college careers with the following:
- Assistance in completing admissions and financial aid applications
- Obtaining verification of eligibility
- Providing referrals for on and off-campus resources and support services
At PTC, please contact Denise Fisher, Director of Financial Aid Planning, at 412-809-5316, or email her at Fisher.Denise@ptcollege.edu.