Independent Living Program

For many youth aging out of Oregon's foster care system, college is simply not a financial reality.

The Chafee Education and Training Grant, Tuition and Fee Waivers, and other financial aid at the state and federal level ensure that foster youth will have access to higher education. 

Review the Post-Secondary Scholarship, Grant and Waiver Eligibility Matrix.

This document summarizes eligibility only. For additional details, review the information included below about various assistance and funding sources.

Federal Assistance

FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) - Applying for federal student aid is quicker and easier than ever. This is the key to additional funding - if you want to receive the Chafee ETG, Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG), Tuition and Fee Waiver or other scholarships you must fill out and submit the FAFSA application.

Federal Student Aid Programs

The following types of aid available to help you pay for your education after high school.

  • Grants - student aid funds that do not have to be repaid (other conditions apply).
  • Work-Study - a part-time work program to earn money while you are in school.
  • Federal Loans - student aid funds that you must repay with interest.  

Learn more about these types of student aid

Types of federal student loans:

  • Perkins loan - Low-interest federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need.

  • Direct Stafford - Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are federal student loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school.

  • Direct PLUS - PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses.

  • Direct Loan Consolidation - A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you combine multiple federal education loans into one loan.

  • Pell Grant - Provides funds based on the student's financial need and does not need to be repaid. Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and non-federal sources might be added.

  • Chafee Education and Training Grant (Chafee ETG/ETV) - Each state receives Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funding to help current or former foster care youth with post-secondary education and training.

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) - You must be an undergraduate student who does not have a bachelor's or a professional degree. You must be eligible to receive a Pell Grant and have exceptional financial need.

Also see: FAQs about federal student aid

Independent Student College Cost Reduction and Access Act

Provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act: Effective July 1, 2009. The definition of independent student adds emancipated minor and being in a legal guardianship to the definition of independent student. It also changes the orphan or ward of the court until age 18 to be orphan or ward of the court or in foster care at any time on or after 13 years of age.

State Assistance

Other Helpful Links

  • Foster Care and Education FAQs - Question and Answer Fact Sheet available from the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education - Post-secondary Education Resources for Youth in and Transitioning out of the Child Welfare System.

  • Foster Care to Success (FCS) (formerly Orphan Foundation of America) - The national non-profit program FCS provides scholarship and grant money to former foster students in colleges and specialized training programs across the country. An OFA Application is required.

  • National Foster Parent Association Scholarships - The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships for foster youth, adopted youth, or biological youth of currently licensed foster parents, who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational/technical school or junior college.

  • Fostering a Future - The Fostering a Future Scholarship, sponsored by Children's Action Network and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, is a national scholarship program designed to provide youth who were adopted from foster care at or after the age of 13 with financial assistance in pursuing a college, vocational or technical education.

  • Student Eligibility for Food Benefits - Youth are not eligible for food stamps as a full-time college student unless they are eligible for federal work study AND actually have an assigned job or have a start date in the current term or semester. Just being eligible for federal work study will no longer count.