GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Samaritas is helping college and post-high school students who were once in foster care, by setting them up in a funding program that will alleviate some costs beyond tuition and books.
Laura Mitchell the Executive Director of Foster Care for Samaritas how the Education Training Voucher works.
Every state has an Education Training Voucher (ETV) program, to provide scholarships for college and post-high school education for students who were once in foster care, in any state. Samaritas has facilitated the ETV contract for the state of Michigan since 2006, in both peninsulas.
This funding is intended to provide for college and university costs beyond tuition and books, allowing students to be “normal” college students like their peers. It can be used for anything that helps them go to school – transportation, groceries, daily living expenses.
Recently, Samaritas increased the amount of funding available. Michigan recipients of ETV funding can now receive $5,000 for the year for full-time college students, or $2,500 for the year for part-time students. The amounts were formerly $4,500 and $2,250, respectively.
To qualify, a student must have been in foster care anywhere in the country after the age of 14 and seek funding to help them through post-secondary education.
The scholarships are also available to youth who were in a Department of Health and Human Services supervised foster care placement or who were unaccompanied refugee minors supervised by DHHS, on or after their 14th birthday.
If they were adopted from foster care, the adoption would have to occur on or after the day they turned 16.
Darren Harden is a former foster child who will graduate from Michigan State University this December with a degree in mechanical engineering also joined the Weekend Morning News to share his experience in the program.
Harnden was placed in foster care at age 14 and remained there for a year. He began receiving ETV funding in the fall of 2013 during his freshman year at Michigan State University. He is currently a senior and began his final semester in the mechanical engineering program with a 3.88 GPA. Once he graduates, Harden will begin working for Eaton Corporation in Beltsville, Maryland.
ETV funding has supplemented his college experience, especially this fall, after he broke his shoulder and was unable to work while finishing his degree at MSU.
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