Tips for Pennsylvania Students with Experience in Foster Care Preparing for College this Fall    

Nadia S. Mozaffar, Esq and Aryn Williams-Vann, Esq. ,
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While COVID-19 continues to present challenges for all of us, August and September are still exciting times for young people looking forward to beginning or returning to college and programs of higher education and training.

Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19, students can take important steps right now to prepare for the upcoming school year. There are benefits, services, and financial assistance for youth with experience in foster care and we want to make sure youth take advantage of them all!  Juvenile Law Center has put together a series of fact sheets specifically for students with experience in the foster care system to help them make plans for beginning or returning to college this fall so that they can have a successful college experience. The Fact Sheets provide information on:

1. The Fostering Independence Through Tuition Waiver: Steps students can take over the summer to ensure they are eligible for Pennsylvania’s tuition waiver.

2. The FAFSA and Chafee Education and Training Grant (ETG) Application: Explaining why students must complete their FAFSA and Chafee ETG Applications and steps students can take to complete these applications.

3. Higher Education Points of Contact: Every Pennsylvania college and university has a point of contact specifically for students with experience in foster care who can help with completing applications, accessing financial aid, or answering any questions students may have about college.

4. College and COVID-19: Tips to help students plan for the changes on their campus that have resulted from COVID-19.

5. Supports from the Child Welfare System: Using resources such as extended foster care, re-entry, and Chafee Aftercare to provide support through college and training.

6. Campus-Based Supports: Programs, services, and resources available on college campuses.

7. Community Supports: Benefits, services, and resources that may be available in the community to help students make ends meet.

These resources are made for youth. (Child welfare and education professionals and advocates assisting youth should also check out our comprehensive online Guide to Supporting Higher Education Access and Success for Youth with Experience in Foster Care in Pennsylvania.)

We encourage all students with experience in foster care who are beginning or returning to college to check out the tip sheets and take action to get the support they need so they are set up for a successful school year.

About the Expert

Nadia Mozaffar is a Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. Her work focuses on advancing educational rights and opportunities for children in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, economic justice issues, and protecting the rights of young people in the adult justice system.

Aryn Williams-Vann, Esq. is the 19th Zubrow Fellow in Children’s Law. A Chicago native, she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law in 2019 with a concentration in Criminal Justice. While in Law School, she participated in various advocacy groups and projects, such as the Missouri Innocence Project and the Criminal Prosecution Clinic. She also worked on Independent Research Projects, such as Juveniles and Life Without Parole and interned at the Missouri Public Defender Capital Litigation Office. Additionally, she received the R. David Ray Trial Advocacy Award. She also was an