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Young Volunteers

College Access Resources for:

Youth in Foster Care

If you are currently or were previously under substitute care with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), you are eligible for a wide range of resources to help you achieve financial stability and attend a state college.


Take a look at some of the resources below!

State College Tuition Waiver

C. Ed Davis Pal Scholarship


Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Program

The Education & Training Voucher Program (ETV)

Housing Assistance between Terms

What is the State College Tuition Waiver?

This is a state law that exempts or waives payment of tuition and fees at state

supported colleges or universities for foster youth currently or formerly in the

conservatorship of, and for those adopted from, DFPS.

Do I Qualify?

You qualify for the tuition and fee waiver, if you were in DFPS conservatorship:

The day before your 18th birthday.

• The day of your 14th birthday, if you are also eligible for adoption on or after that day.

• The day you graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma.

• The day you were adopted, if that date was on or after 9/1/2009.

• The day Permanent Managing Conservatorship was granted to a non-parent, if that date was on or after 9/1/2009.

• You were 14 years or older on or after June 1, 2016 and left DFPS's Permanent Managing Conservatorship return to the legal responsibility of a parent.

• You were 16 years or older on or after June 1, 2016 and left DFPS Temporary Managing Conservatorship to the legal responsibility of a parent.

• You enrolled in a dual credit course or other course which a high-school student may earn joint high school and college credit, and were in DFPS conservatorship on the day of enrollment.


You must have enrolled in a state supported college or university before your 25th birthday.

Tuition Exemptions for Students Adopted have an Adoption Assistance Agreement

You are eligible for the tuition and fee waiver if you were adopted and were the

subject of a financial assistance agreement providing monthly payments and

Medicaid benefits.

The benefit to qualifying for this waiver is there is no age limit for the student to

enroll in a college or university.

To learn more or to verify eligibility:

Visit: DFPS on the Web

If you were adopted, call: (800) 233-3405

If you are currently or were previously in foster care, call: (512) 460-7394 or (737) 239-6407

The Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV)

The ETV program is a federally funded program designed to assist with the

education and training needs of eligible youth and young adults currently or

formerly in the conservatorship of DFPS.

The ETV program serves those eligible students ages 16 up to age 23 by

providing up to $5,000 a year to attend college or vocational programs. The

amount is based on the student’s cost of attendance as determined by the school and after all other financial aid assistance has been factored in.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible you must:

Be at least 16 and in DFPS foster care, or are in extended foster care; or

• Have aged out of DFPS foster care or were legally emancipated by a court while in DFPS foster care and are not yet age 23; or

• Have been adopted from DFPS foster care after turning age 16 and not yet age 23; or

• Have entered the Permanency Care Assistance (PCA) program after turning age 16 and are not yet age 23.

Other Eligible Students include:

• Youth placed in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or under the jurisdiction of a local juvenile probation department who were receiving Title IV-E foster care payments the day before turning age 18 and are not yet age 23; or

• Tribal youth or young adults in tribal foster care who are not yet age 23.

Dual Credit Course(s):

Eligible youth enrolled in dual college credit course(s) where joint high school and college credits are earned can apply to the ETV Program for college related expenses such as books, computers and related software,

transportation to and from the college, and tutoring services.

What Can ETV Pay For?

The ETV Program pays expenses determined by the school where the student

is enrolled. These expenses may include:

• Rent and utilities

• Room and board costs/foodCreating Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Project Canvas

• Tuition/fees (for schools that do not accept the state tuition and fee waiver)

• Personal items

• Books/supplies

• Child care

• Tutoring

• Transportation

• Computer or other related software and equipment

• Medical insurance through the school

• Other costs determined by the school

How Do I Qualify?


• You must be determined eligible; and

• Have a high school diploma or GED or be exempt from compulsory school attendance; and

• Be enrolled in at least *6 semester hours in an institution of higher education.

Students in dual credit courses or in a summer semester can be enrolled in 3 semester hours. If enrolling in Online, Correspondence, or Distance

What Schools can Attend?

You may enroll in accredited or pre-accredited public, private, or non-profit institutions that:


• Provides a bachelor's degree program or at least a 2-year program that provides credit towards a degree or certification; or

• Provides not less than a one-year program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation; or

• Offers training programs and has been existence for at least two years preparing students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

How do I Apply for ETV Services?


Call: 1-877-268-4063


C.Ed Davis Pal Scholarship

Named in honor of retired Deputy Director of Legal Services for the DFPS, this

$1,000 scholarship are for basic non-tuition needs for students interested in

majoring in law, government, political science, history, or other pre-law fields.

The scholarship is available every year, subject to the availability of funds.

Applicant Requirements:

• Aged-out of DFPS foster care or was legally emancipated

• Minimum GPA of 2.0 and in good academic standing

• Demonstrates a need for financial assistance with higher education

• Attending or enrolled in a Texas college or university

• Majoring in government, political science, history, or other pre-law field

• Enrolled as a full-time (12 hours) sophomore, junior, and senior student or in law school

• Be between the ages of 18 - 25 to “activate" the scholarship

• Must have completed the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) Life Skills Training Program

Application Materials:

To be considered for the C. Ed Davis PAL Scholarship, the student must submit a:

• Completed scholarship application

• Personal (typewritten) essay of 500 words on “Why I want to enter the field of law and why should I be considered for a C. Ed Davis PAL Scholarship.”

• Current college transcript

• Current student Financial Aid award letter

• Letter of recommendation or reference

• Two (2) page resume (optional)

To learn more or to access the application:

Freshman and Sophomore Success Scholarship:

This scholarship is for young adults formerly in DFPS foster case and attending a

Texas state-funded institution of higher education and are a sophomore or in their

second year as a student.

Award amounts can be $1,000 per semester or $2,000 for two semesters.

To learn more or to access the application:

Additional Resources

Support Group

The Hay Center

The HAY Center, set to open in the summer of 2024, will include 50 one-bedroom

apartments and studios for those exiting the foster care system in the Houston


You must currently be in Harris County Foster Care and apply through your Case

Worker to reside in The Hay Center.

To learn more:

Call: (832)-927-7000

Day 1 Bags

Day 1 Bags is a nonprofit organization that provides brand new duffle bags and

backpacks to youth in foster care instead of trash bags as luggage when being

removed from their homes or moved from shelter to shelter.

To learn more:

Housing Assistance between Academic Terms

Texas institutions of higher education are required to assist full-time students

formerly in DFPS conservatorship or who have been legally emancipated in locating

temporary housing between academic terms.

In order for the young adult to receive assistance, they must:

Be a full-time student in the semester preceding the housing need;

• Be registered or have started the required enrollment actions as a full-time student for the immediate next semester;

• Lack other reasonable temporary housing alternatives; and

• Request the housing assistance.


If a student receives a stipend this does not prohibit the student from receiving additional stipends in one or more subsequent academic periods. Also the receipt of a stipend for housing assistance will not affect a student’s ability to apply for or receive funds from the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program.

Students must request the housing assistance and are encouraged to inquire:

• Financial aid, student affairs, and admissions offices,

• Housing/residence life/residential living offices, or

• A student Ombudsperson

Preparation for Adult Living
(PAL) Program

Implemented in 1986, PAL ensures that older youth in substitute care have the skills

and resources needed to be healthy, productive adults.


PAL policy requires that youth 16 and older who are in substitute care and likely to

remain in care until at least age 18, and who can qualify for services up to their 21st


Services include:

•Independent living skills assessment and training

• Support services (GED classes, preparation for college entrance exams, driving school, counseling, and more)

• Transitional living allowance

• Room and Board assistance

To learn more:


To Contact, Visit: DFPS/PAL/Coordinators

The Houston Angels

The Houston Angels mission is to walk alongside children, youth, and families in the

foster care community by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building, and mentorship.

Services Offered include:

• Interview/resume skills

• Living arrangements

• Aging out assistance

• Housing, financial aid for college

• Medicaid

To learn more:

Visit: Houston Angels

Call: (832)304-4305

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