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Top 15 Scholarships for Adopted Children and Foster Children in April 2024

By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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Learn about our editorial policies

Updated: April 2nd, 2024
Top 15 Scholarships for Adopted Children and Foster Children in April 2024

Adopted children and children in foster care face considerable adversity in many facets of their life, and obtaining a college degree is no exception. Recent studies show that less than 10 percent of American children in the foster care system graduate from college, as opposed to the national average of about 36 percent. These alarming numbers make it all the more important to improve the accessibility of college and scholarships for adopted children are one way to start.

In addition to offering financial assistance, many of these scholarships for adopted children and children in foster care include counseling, peer support, and other valuable resources!

Jump ahead to:

Here’s hoping that the following scholarships and resources help adopted and foster children reach their goals!

Top scholarships for adopted children

National Foster Parent Association Youth Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Open to birth, foster, kinship, and youth adopted through foster care who are eager to pursue higher education.
  • Amount: $500
  • Deadline: April 1, 2024

Christian A. Herter Memorial Scholarship Program

  • Eligibility: Massachusetts students in 10th or 11th grade with a minimum 2.5 GPA who have overcome a form of major adversity in their lives, demonstrate financial need, and enroll in a school in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Must be nominated by their school
  • Amount: Varies
  • Deadline: April 12, 2024

Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Internationally adopted students across the country who have shown academic excellence
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: April 26, 2024

Oregon Chafee Education and Training Grant

  • Eligibility: Oregon students are currently in child welfare foster care, had been in child welfare foster care for at least 180 days after their 14th birthday and exited substitute care at age 16 or older, or are a former foster youth who was adopted or entered into a guardianship on or after their 13th birthday whose adoption/guardianship finalized after 9/1/2015
  • Amount: Up to $2,500, renewable
  • Deadlines: Fall – August 1, Winter – November 1, Spring – February 1, Summer – May 1

UmpsCare All-Star College Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Students adopted at or after age 13 who are under 20 and demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA
  • Amount: $5,000 per semester
  • Deadline: May 1, 2024

Foster Love Family Fellowship Program

  • Eligibility: “Aging-out” foster youth planning on attending a four-year institution. Application consists of proof of foster care status, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a personal statement
  • Amount: Up to $18,000 per year, plus fellowship support and networking
  • Deadline: May 3, 2024

Forward Steps Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Foster youth from Colorado who are looking to attend a university in the Denver metro, Longmont, Fort Collins, or Greeley areas
  • Amount: Up to $6,000
  • Deadline: Biannual – deadlines on May 31 and October 31, every year

Youth in Foster Care Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Students who have resided in New Mexico and been in the New Mexico foster care program for at least one year, who are between 17 and 21 years old. Applications must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA, whether they are currently in high school or college. This requirement does not apply to GED holders who are applying to college.
  • Amount: $1,000
  • Deadline: June 6, 2024

Nicholas & Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Students of Italian parentage who intend to major in music or education-related fields. Priority given to students who have been orphaned or in foster care
  • Amount: Up to $6,500
  • Deadline: November 1, 2024

Adoption STAR Academic Scholarship Program

  • Eligibility: High school seniors who are adopted or in foster care, whose transcript either shows high performance or trends of improvement
  • Amount: $3,000
  • Deadline: Rolling

Casey Family Services Alumni Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Must have received services from Casey Family Services in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont. Must be between 16 and 49 years old and starting or attending a post-secondary institution to obtain a certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree or a professional degree (PhD’s not eligible)
  • Amount: Up to $10,000
  • Deadline: Rolling

Maryland Higher Education Commission Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Recipients

  • Eligibility: Maryland foster care youth under 25 pursuing an associate, bachelor’s degree or vocational certificate at a Maryland Public institution of higher education.
  • Amount: Full tuition waiver
  • Deadline: School deadlines vary, but make sure to fill out the FAFSA which is due June 30 of each year

Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Adopted Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program

  • Eligibility: Massachusetts students who have been in the custody of the DCF and have been adopted by an eligible Massachusetts state employee or by an eligible Massachusetts resident through the DCF who are pursuing their bachelor’s and are 24 or under at the start of the academic year.
  • Amount: Varies by school
  • Deadline: Varies

Oklahoma Independent Living Act (Foster Care Tuition Waiver)

  • Eligibility: Oklahoma residents under 26 who have been in DHS custody for at least nine months between the ages of 16 and 18 & graduated from an Oklahoma high school (or approved neighboring high school) in the past 3 years, who plan on attending a public college or university in Oklahoma
  • Amount: Full tuition waiver
  • Deadline: Varies

Sullivan – Deckard Scholarship Opportunity Program

  • Eligibility: Ohio high school seniors in foster care between 17 and 20 years old who have applied and been admitted to Cleveland State University
  • Amount: Varies based on financial need. Includes funding for tuition, books, fees, and year-round campus housing, additional support, workshops, and a Fostering Success Summer Workshop before freshman year
  • Deadline: Rolling

Top Easy Scholarships of April 2024

Scholarship
Amount
Deadline
Apply Link
Scholarship:
$10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship
Amount:

$10,000

Deadline:

June 30, 2024

Jun 30, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy scholarship open to all US-based high school, college, community college and graduate students.

Scholarship:
$2,000 Sallie Mae Scholarship
Amount:

$2,000

Deadline:

April 30, 2024

Apr 30, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy $2,000 monthly scholarship. No essay or account sign-ups, just a simple scholarship for those seeking help paying for school!

Scholarship:
Niche $25,000 “No Essay” Scholarship
Amount:

$25,000

Deadline:

May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy scholarship open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year!

How to win scholarships for adopted children

All scholarships are highly competitive, and that includes scholarships for adopted children. In order to earn money for your education, you’ll have to put together compelling applications. Oftentimes, the best way to start applications is to do some reflection. Think about your goals for the future and formulate a plan to reach them. Jot down your plan informally in bullet points and then use this rough guide as a way to communicate your potential to scholarship readers.

Since these scholarships are specifically for adopted children, they may include questions that involve your relationship with the fact that you were adopted. When addressing these questions, it is a good idea to try and frame your experience in a way that emphasizes your growth and lessons learned.

You may have faced many challenges that came along with your adoption. While these are important experiences that should not be ignored, it’s typically best not to spend your application discussing them. Organizations offer scholarships to students they see potential in, and since you only have a limited amount of space to make an impression, you should spend all of it emphasizing what you hope to do in the world.

Writing strong essays

When it comes time to actually write your essays, don’t despair! We have a variety of guides to walk you through the process. That includes guides on how to start and end a scholarship essay, how to respond to common scholarship essay prompts, and how to write a scholarship resume. We can also help you fine-tune your writing to 250 or 500 word limits, and write an essay about yourself. Finally, don’t miss our guide to answering a “Why do you deserve this scholarship?” prompt!

Related: What is a first generation college student and why does it matter?

Frequently asked questions about scholarships for adopted students

Can an adopted child go to college for free?

Several states have programs to provide tuition waivers for adopted children, including Maryland and Massachusetts. There are also programs at specific schools that can provide the opportunity for an adopted child to go to college for free, including Cleveland State University’s Sullivan – Deckard Scholarship. Check out the rest of our list for more similar opportunities!

What scholarships are available for adopted children?

This list contains many options for scholarships for adopted children. One great example is the UmpsCare All-Star Scholarship! You can consult the list for more options, some of which are offered by state, reducing the applicant pool and increasing your chance of being accepted! The NACAC also has a great list of useful state-by-state resources.

Does adoption impact FAFSA?



Adoption can have several different impacts on your FAFSA results and application process. If you are formally and legally adopted, you’ll use your adopted parents’ information when filling out the FAFSA. Students who are not under the care of their birth parents might also be in a situation where they can fill out the FAFSA as an independent. The requirements are very strict, but if you meet them, you could end up with a very strong financial aid package.

If you’re unsure what your status on the FAFSA would be, you should consult either your birth parents, your adopted parents, or the institution that is taking care of you. It’s important to sort this out definitively and promptly to ensure you receive all the financial aid you are eligible for.

Also see: Am I an independent or dependent student?

Upcoming scholarships

Foster Care to Success Scholarships

  • Eligibility: Students who have been in public or private foster care for the 12 consecutive months leading up to and including their 18th birthday, have been adopted or placed into legal guardianship after their 16th birthday, or have been orphaned for at least one year at the time of their 18th birthday and not subsequently adopted
  • Amount: $2,000 to $5,000, renewable
  • Opens: May 2024

Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth Program

  • Eligibility: Open to those who have been placed in Foster Care, Guardianship, or Dependency Guardianship by a Washington state court order.
  • Amount: Between $2,000 and $4,000

Kate Somerville + Foster Nation “Defy Impossible” Esthetics Student Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Individuals who will or have already aged out of the foster care system and who plan to enroll in a California esthetics program.
  • Amount: $15,000

Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant Program

  • Eligibility: Pennsylvania undergraduate students who are in foster care, or have been discharged or adopted from foster care, at or before age 16. Applicants must not have not reached the age of 26
  • Amount: $5,000

Vermont Chafee Education and Training Scholarship

  • Eligibility: Vermont students who were in DCF custody after the age of 14 (after age 16 if exited to adoption or legal guardianship) who are under the age of 26 and demonstrate financial need.
  • Amount: Up to $5,000

Western Michigan University Foundation Scholarship

  • Eligibility: High school seniors with a minimum 3.7 weighted GPA who have been admitted to WMU who qualify for the federal free lunch program, are orphaned, are wards of the state or in foster care, are homeless, or are undocumented
  • Amount: $16,000 per year
  • Opens: December 1, 2024

 

Top Easy Scholarships of April 2024

Scholarship
Amount
Deadline
Apply Link
Scholarship:
$10,000 “No Essay” Scholarship
Amount:

$10,000

Deadline:

June 30, 2024

Jun 30, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy scholarship open to all US-based high school, college, community college and graduate students.

Scholarship:
$2,000 Sallie Mae Scholarship
Amount:

$2,000

Deadline:

April 30, 2024

Apr 30, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy $2,000 monthly scholarship. No essay or account sign-ups, just a simple scholarship for those seeking help paying for school!

Scholarship:
Niche $25,000 “No Essay” Scholarship
Amount:

$25,000

Deadline:

May 31, 2024

May 31, 2024

Apply
Scholarship Details +

Easy scholarship open to all high school and college students, as well as anyone looking to attend college or graduate school in the next year!

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