For children growing up in foster care, applying to college can be more challenging that children growing up in traditional homes, particularly with regard to financial obligation. However, there are a number of public and private scholarships and grants for foster children to help alleviate the financial burden and allow students to focus on their studies. This article will discuss some of the largest ones, but it is important to check with your state government as well as your academic institution to see if they have any small or regional scholarships or grants for foster children.

The Horatio Alger Scholarship

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americanswas established in 1947 to maintain the notion of the American Dream. This award was named in honor of author Horatio Alger Jr. who wrote about overcoming adversity through perseverance. Their organization honors individuals who demonstrate outstanding achievement though hard work despite adversity.

The National Scholarship is awarded to eligible students in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. National Scholars receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., during the spring of their senior year to participate in the National Scholars Conference. Recipients must attend the National Scholars Conference to receive the award. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time in high school and on track to graduate. They must be Pell-grant eligible and have a minimum GPA of 2.0and must be involved in community service. In keeping with the mission of the Horatio Alger Association, students must display integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity.

The award is valued at $25,000.

Foster Care 2 Success Scholarship

Founded in 1991, this program has awarded scholarships to students throughout the country annually through donations and collaborations with individuals, families, and organizations including Casey Family Programs and government-sponsored Educational Training Vouchers. Award amounts vary, ranging from $2,000-$5,000 and are renewable for up to 5 years as long as the student maintains their eligibility.

To be eligible to apply for the award, students ,must have been in foster care for 12 consecutive months prior to and including their 18th birthday, or must have been adopted after their 16th birthday. Students who were orphaned more than one year prior to their 18th birthday and not subsequently adopted may also apply. Applicants must be under the age of 25 the first time they apply for the award. Finally, they must have been accepted into an accredited Pell-eligible post-secondary institution and themselves be eligible to receive the Pell Grant. This award covers undergraduate study only.

To be eligible to apply for the award, students ,must have been in foster care for 12 consecutive months prior to and including their 18th birthday, or must have been adopted after their 16th birthday. Students who were orphaned more than one year prior to their 18th birthday and not subsequently adopted may also apply. Applicants must be under the age of 25 the first time they apply for the award. Finally, they must have been accepted into an accredited Pell-eligible post-secondary institution and themselves be eligible to receive the Pell Grant. This award covers undergraduate study only.

In addition to the national opportunities, each state offers their own opportunities funded by the state and local government. These can often be found on the state government website, or on scholarship databases like FastWeb or Scholarships.com.

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