You’ve adopted an older child out of foster-care and only have a few years to save for their college fund…there might be help.

Adopting older children is very different from adopting an infant for many reasons.  Often, older child adoptions have monthly state subsidies to help maintain service programs in place, medical and other essentials to help the child transition into their adoptive families.  But what about their college fund?  In 2016, the average cost of a year was $10,000 which doesn’t include food and boarding.  If you are a family that has adopted an older child from the foster-care system (13 or older), there might be federal and/or state help.

According to the North American Council on Adoptable Children and based on each state’s criteria, children adopted ages 13 and older may qualify for the Free Application for Federal Assistance (FAFSA) and/or qualify for the Education Tuition Voucher (ETV).  Both of which can help the college bound student have better opportunities to apply for financial aid or receive money toward their tuition.  Below is a brief explanation of both the FAFSA and ETV programs.

Federal Programs – FAFSA

Since July 2009, children who were adopted from foster care at age 13 or older are considered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be an independent student, which means they don’t have to count family income and are more likely to qualify for financial aid.

Youth who are adopted from the foster care system at age 16 or older may be able to access Education and Training Voucher (ETV) assistance, which provides up to $5,000 per year for youth who are in college or at an accredited vocational or technical training program.  These programs are administered at the state level using federal funds. To find information about this program in your state, visit

There are additional state programs available if you live in certain states.  We encourage families to take a little time and research potential opportunities at