Nevada’s foster youth

“In the wake of the pandemic the Children’s Advocacy Alliance is partnering with stakeholders across our state to mitigate the financial instability that has ensued among Nevada’s foster youth community. With an eye toward long-term independence and financial stability CAA launched the Foster Youth Workforce Initiative to ensure Nevada’s Foster youth are supported to secure and maintain employment. This innovative program brings together the soft skills leadership development and career opportunities needed to ensure Nevada’s foster youth are empowered to develop and maintain a career pathway. Leveraging the powerful leadership development opportunities afforded by YAB and FAAYT. Participants benefit from a year-long program consisting of paid internships, soft skills training, career exploration, career assessments, short-term prevocational training, mentorship and job training, life skills training, and an array of supportive services designed to ensure that participants become job ready and secure long-term gainful employment.“

2020 Foster Youth Scholarships and Grants

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):
The FAFSA is the official application form completed by current and prospective undergraduate, graduate, and professional postsecondary education students—in the United States—to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. The FAFSA, itself, is NOT a form of financial aid; it’s the application form. To apply for federal student financial aid, such as federal grants, federal work-study, and U.S. Department of Education loans, you need to first complete the FAFSA. Completing and submitting the FAFSA is always FREE, and the FAFSA gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for postsecondary education. In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid (Source: https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/fftoc02b.htm).IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are ever asked to pay to complete your FAFSA, either by paying to complete the form itself or paying someone to help you complete the form, STOP immediately and ask a trusted support person for help. Completing/submitting the FAFSA should always be FREE—as the name indicates—and any claims to the contrary are likely to be SCAMS. The FAFSA has its own website where students can complete the form.
Complete/submit your FAFSA HERE, BEFORE THE PRIORITY DEADLINE for your college/university, PRIOR TO EVERY ACADEMIC YEAR in which you plan to attend college! The FAFSA opens on October 1st each year, for the following academic year (nearly a year in advance).

FOR CURRENT & FORMER FOSTER YOUTH: By completing the FAFSA before each academic year—and indicating that you have been in foster care—you will be deemed “financially independent” for financial aid purposes, provided that you submit follow-up documentation. This means that you do NOT need to enter (and SHOULD NOT enter) any parental income information into your FAFSA. Aside from the Foster Youth Fee Waiver (money for classes), you may also be eligible for several different federal, state, and school-specific grants—and potentially some scholarships too!

Course Enrollment/Tuition Fee Waiver : A course enrollment/tuition fee waiver is a form of financial aid in which a school “waives” a certain portion of a student’s course enrollment/tuition fees—meaning that the student does not need to pay that portion of their fees. This form of financial aid differs from other forms, in that it is not paid directly to the student; rather, the student’s account is directly credited for the designated course enrollment/tuition fees amount to be waived.

Foster Care to Success Scholarship:
APPLICATION DATES: January 1-March 31 annually
AWARDS: $2,500-$5,000 based on a combination of need and merit
RENEWABLE: Up to five years if the student remains compliant with program requirements
ELIGIBILITY(Applicants must):

  • Have been in public or private foster care for the 12 consecutive months leading up to and including their 18th birthday; OR have been adopted or placed into legal guardianship after their 16th birthday; OR have been orphaned for at least one year at the time of their 18th birthday and not subsequently adopted
  • Be under the age of 25 on March 31 of the year in which they apply if they have not previously received scholarship funding from Foster Care to Success
  • Have been in foster care or orphaned while living in the United States. U.S. citizenship is not required.
  • Have been accepted into or expect to be accepted into an accredited, Pell-eligible college or other postsecondary school

NOTE: This is an undergraduate scholarship only.

What is ETV?
The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) is an annual federal grant provided to states to fund youth who have aged out of the foster care system and who are enrolled in college, university and vocational training programs. Students may receive up to $5,000 a year based on their cost of attendance. They must enroll before their 21st birthday and may continue to receive support until age 23. Funds may be used for tuition, dorm fees, books, student loan repayments and qualified living expenses.
What are the eligibility requirements for ETV?
Basic requirements are as follows:

  • Youth must be in foster care, adopted from foster care after age 16, or aged out of foster care.
  • For most states, youth must be aged 18-20; however the age requirement varies by state.
  • Youth must have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Youth must be accepted into or enrolled in a Title IV, accredited college or vocational/technical training program. Each state’s ETV contact information is available on this website by clicking that state on the home page. Contact the individual state for detailed information on eligibility.

Do students have to re-apply for ETV every year?
Students must re-apply online for every new school year. Every term ETV students must complete and submit a new Financial Aid Release Form. (see ABOUT ETV FORMS, below).


The Career Opportunity Scholarship Fund is available to students who are current or former participants of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children programs: The Career Opportunity Scholarship Fund is available to students who are current or former participants of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children programs:

  • Therapeutic Residential Foster Care
  • Pregnant Parenting Teen
  • Transitional Living
  • Child Focus
  • Crossings
  • New Crossings
  • Family Support

Funds will typically be used to cover expenses for tuition, student housing, books, school supplies etc. and in some circumstances on-the-job training.
ELIGIBILITY(Applicants must):

  • Current or former St. Jude’s Ranch participant in one of the above programs
  • Current or former St. Jude’s Ranch participant in one of the above programs
  • High School Graduate, General Education Diploma (GED) or High School Equivalency (HiSET) completed
  • Proof of enrollment in an educational institution must be provided i.e., vocational school, college, university
  • Initial Applicant must have a 2.0 GPA
  • Essay should be typed 750-1000 words.
    Your essay should discuss each of the four topics below:
    Bio about youth?
    What is your educational goal?
    How will the scholarship funds help you meet your educational goal?
    What is your career choice?
    Students must maintain above a 2.0 grade point average for each course taken and complete the course once approved for scholarship
    A grade below a 2.0 grade point average in a course taken or changing a course status to “incomplete” will disqualify the student from receiving the equivalent amount of funds for books and tuition for the next request.
    Copies of current and prior semester grades will be required with each request for funds made.

  • https://stjudesranch.org/the-career-opportunity-scholarship-fund/

Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Foster Youth Fee Waiver

Fee Waiver Award Amount:

The NSHE Foster Youth Fee Waiver is a type of financial aid that covers the fall and spring semester (summer term excluded) college/university course enrollment (tuition) fees. The exact award amount varies each semester, based on 3 factors:

  • The per-credit cost of courses at the specific NSHE institution at which the student is enrolled,
  • The exact number of credits in which the student is enrolled, for a particular semester,
  • and

  • The specific courses in which a student is enrolled, for a particular semester (this is because some courses have higher fees than others).
  • Initial Eligibility:

  • Must have been in the custody of the Nevada foster care system, at or after age 14
  • Must be under the age of 26 (eligibility ends on the student’s 26th birthday)
  • Must be a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency recipient, depending on which NSHE institution the student plans to attend
  • Must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Must be admitted to and enrolled in at least 1 course at one (or more) of NSHE’s 7 degree-granting institutions:
  • University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV),
    University of Nevada-Reno (UNR),
    Nevada State College (NSC),
    College of Southern Nevada (CSN),
    Great Basin College (GBC),
    Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), and/or
    Western Nevada College (WNC)

    How to Apply:

  • Your FINAL OFFICIAL High School Transcript, showing proof of graduation OR your OFFICIAL Certificate of High School Equivalency (GED, HiSET, or TASC) test scores
  • NOTE: UNR and UNLV both require a high school diploma

  • Proof that you were in the custody of a Nevada agency that provides child welfare services, at or after age 14, which could include the following:
  • A verification letter from a Nevada state (DCFS) or county (CCDFS or WCHSA) agency that shows proof of the dates you were in foster care, after age 14
  • A copy of a court document that verifies WARDSHIP within the Nevada foster care system, at or after age 14
  • A copy of a court document that shows proof of “aging out” of foster care, in Nevada, such as a court order for Court Jurisdiction services
  • Contact Laura Obrist, NSHE’s Foster Youth Ambassador
    Email Address: lobrist@nshe.nevada.edu; Direct Line: 702-522-7035
    Contact the Foster Youth Fee Waiver contact at your NSHE institution of choice
    A full list of institution-specific contacts can be found HERE:

Federal Chafee Education(al) and Training Vouchers (ETV)

Federal Chafee Education(al) and Training Vouchers (ETV) – The John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood :

The program serves youth who are likely to remain in foster care until age 18, youth who exit foster care—at or after age 16—for legal guardianship or adoption, and youth ages 18-21 who have “aged out” of the child welfare system. Each eligible youth can receive a voucher of up to $5,000 per academic year, for postsecondary education and training—including vocational/trade options (John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families: Children’s Bureau. June 28, 2012. Retrieved from: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/chafee-foster-care-program. * NOTE: In Nevada, Chafee ETV funds are administered by The Children’s Cabinet, Inc.: 777 Sinclair Street, Reno, NV 89501;http://www.childrenscabinet.org

Silver State Opportunity Grant (SSOG)


The Silver State Opportunity Grant Program (SSOG Program) is a state-supported financial aid program The SSOG program is a need-based grant that will be awarded to eligible low-income students who are college-ready, to pay for a portion of the cost of education at a community college or state college within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE).
Grant Award Amount:up to $5,500 annually


  • Must be classified as a Nevada Resident, for tuition purposes
  • Must be enrolled in 15 or more financial aid eligible credits in a semester, at an eligible NSHE institution:
    • College of Southern Nevada (community college)
    • Great Basin College (community college)
    • Nevada State College (4-year state college)
    • Truckee Meadows Community College (community college)
    • Western Nevada College (community college)
  • Must be enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certificate
  • Be “college-ready,” based on placement or completion of entry-level, college-level mathematics and English
  • To be considered “college-ready” for the purpose of SSOG program eligibility, a student must be 1) currently or previously enrolled in a 100 or above level mathematics and English course, 2) placed into a college-level course under institutional placement policies for placement into at least Math120 and English 101, or 3) previously successfully completed remedial coursework (evident by a C or better in Math 096 and/or English 098).
  • Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Non-Federal Aid Application for the student’s specific NSHE institution, and must have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of 8500 or less.
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students ARE eligible for the SSOG. Students under DACA status may complete the FAFSA and may receive the SSOG award. While the institution will receive FAFSA data for a DACA student, the institution cannot identify if a student has DACA status or not. Therefore, DACA students must self-identify to the financial aid office at their college and provide a copy of their I-797 in order to be considered for a SSOG award. If you are a DACA student, go to the financial aid office at your college and tell the office that you want to be considered for the award.
  • Must meet institutional Title IV financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, each semester, in order to maintain eligibility
  • Students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree are NOT eligible for the SSOG award
  • When to Apply: ASAP, but definitely BEFORE THE FAFSA PRIORITY DEADLINE for your college/university, PRIOR TO EVERY ACADEMIC YEAR in which you plan to attend college!
  • The SSOG is awarded on a “first-come, first-served” basis!

Nevada Foster Youth/Foster Care Alumni Scholarships

Scholarship Award Amount:

Amount varies based on the student’s need, up to $10,000 per academic year; can be renewed with reapplication.


  • Must be a current or former Nevada foster care dependent (cannot have been legally adopted)
  • Must either be a graduating Nevada high school senior or already have a high school diploma from a Nevada high school
  • Must be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Must have been accepted into an accredited 2-year or 4-year school, or a certificate program at a trade or vocational school
  • Must have no other significant financial means or other significant financial assistance to pursue postsecondary education
  • Must not be related to the donors
  • Must agree to maintain a minimum 2.5 college GPA and provide a copy of unofficial transcripts at the end of each semester in which a scholarship is received
  • Preference will be given to full-time students & applicants who have been in foster care in Washoe County
  • How to Apply:

    Complete eligibility quiz & application at https://nevadafund.org/foster-children-education-scholarship/

    Application Materials Required:

  • High School Transcript
  • Essay (maximum of 1 page) that tells the selection committee about the following: your life, your plans for the future, why you chose your program, how your education will impact your life, and how you plan to finance your education
  • Letter of nomination from a teacher/counselor who knows your goals and background
  • When to Apply:

    January – April

    Restrictions on Use of Scholarship Funds:

  • Funds can only be used for course enrollment/tuition costs, student fees, and/or books
  • Funds may be used for vocational or other specialized training

  • Otto A. Huth Scholarship (administered by Community Foundation of Western Nevada)

    *NOTE: Due to an unexpected delay in transferring the fund from the previous fund administrator to the Community Foundation of Western Nevada—further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic—the Otto A. Huth Scholarship is unfortunately unavailable for the 2020-2021 academic year; the next scholarship application cycle will open in January 2021, for the 2021-2022 academic year.

    Scholarship Award Amount:

    Amount varies based on the student’s need, up to $10,000 per academic year—for up to 5 years—with a maximum total award of $40,000 to any given student; can be renewed with reapplication


  • Open to youth who are about to age out of foster care or have already aged out of foster care—in Nevada
  • Must apply before 21st birthday (NOTE: because the renewable award has a 5-year funding limit, students can only receive this scholarship up until their 26th birthday)
  • How to Apply:

  • Complete eligibility quiz & application at https://nevadafund.org/scholarships/
  • Application Materials Required: TBD
  • When to Apply:

    January – April

    Restrictions on Use of Scholarship Funds:

  • Funds can only be used for course enrollment/tuition fees, on-campus room and board, campus-based meal plans, books, and student health insurance.