Friday, July 24, 2009

College Costs

Teens in foster care no longer have to choose between being adopted and receiving financial aid to attend college. Under a new law, The Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act (FAFSA), youth adopted from foster care after their 13th birthday will not have to include their parent’s income in determining their need for financial aid.

The FAFSA provision, which takes effect this month (July 2009), allows teens to seek financial aid for the 2009-2010 school year. Youth adopted before the new law are also eligible.

FAFSA is good news not only for youth but for families wanting to adopt them. Until now, many families fostering teens hesitated to adopt them if it meant denying them a college education.

According to statistics reported for the fiscal year ending 2006, the latest year these figures were available, 510,000 children of all ages were in foster care. Of these, 129,000 were waiting to be adopted and about a quarter of them were 13 and older. Only 11% of teens 13 and older were adopted.

Statistics have consistently shown that youth who are adopted out of the foster care system are more likely to attend college and have stable and productive lives. With this new law, the hope is that more teenagers will be adopted and that their dreams will include both a college education and a loving home.

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