Fact Sheet: Fostering Independence Through Education Waiver

Juvenile Law Center,

On June 28th, Pennsylvania passed a law, which will create the Fostering Independence Through Education Waiver. Act 16 of 2019 amended the school code to create a state tuition waiver. The relevant sections can now be found at 24 P.S. 26-2601-K et. seq. This will create a tuition and fee waiver for youth who were in foster care.

Key provisions include:

  • Creates a tuition and fee waiver for undergraduate degrees at colleges and universities in Pennsylvania for youth in foster care to reduce financial barriers.
  • Creates points-of-contact at covered institutions to help eligible student 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 and all students supports, and apply for all available financial aid.
  • Data collection and reporting by institutions and government agencies to improve retention and the success of students.
  • The program will begin in the Fall semester of 2020.
  • The waiver can be used for up to five years until a young adult reaches age 26.


  1. When is the Fostering Independence Through Education tuition waiver available? The tuition waiver will be available starting in Fall 2020.
  2. Does the tuition waiver cover room and board? No, the tuition waiver does not cover room and board. The tuition waiver only applies to tuition and mandatory fees.
  3. What colleges must provide tuition waivers? Public and private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, Community Colleges in Pennsylvania, and most Vocational-Technical schools must provide tuition waivers.
  4. How do students apply for the tuition waiver? The Pennsylvania Department of Education is currently developing guidelines on how students can apply for the tuition waiver. This information will be available in January 2020.
  5. How many years can students use the tuition waiver? Students can use the tuition waiver for five years—but this does not have to be consecutively.
  6. Can the tuition waiver help students for student debt they have incurred in Pennsylvania schools in the past? No, the tuition waiver will only be applied to tuition and fees charged to students starting in Fall 2020.