Missouri Reach: Money for college is within your reach
During the 2009 legislative session, the general assembly placed tuition and fee waivers into statute for certain foster care students per 173.270, RSMo. In the last couple of legislative sessions, money has been provided to support the legislation.
Tuition waivers and fees are available to eligible youth on a tiered priority basis. Implementation of this program is in partnership with the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE).
Priority is given to:
- Those youth not otherwise eligible for Educational Training Vouchers (ETV).
- Students adopted from Children’s Division after the age of 14.
- Those youth who have at least 60 hours of college credit.
Foster Care to Success, a national non-profit organization, provides administrative services for the tuition waiver program. In order to apply, youth must go to www.statevoucher.org and complete the online application. Older Youth Transition Specialists will verify eligibility once application is made. The Missouri Department of Higher Education will approve applications based on the priority criteria. Youth eligible and accepted will be notified as funding is available on behalf of MDHE.
Foster Care to Success will process the applications once accepted by reviewing the applicants’ transcripts to determine academic standing, confirming the applicants’ tuition and fees with the college or university, and working with students to develop a community service action plan that will be verifiable and outcome based.
Youth who meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to make application.
MDHE has established the following types of community service and public internships that youth may participate in to meet this requirement:
- Volunteering with a non-profit community service organization
- Community service club activities (not meetings)
- Campus coordinated community service projects include unpaid practicum and internships as well as philanthropic activities conducted by student service organizations
- Institutional and community sustainability projects
- Volunteering at a hospital, convalescent home, or group home for youth in foster care
- Unpaid peer mentoring or tutoring programs, both on- and off-campus
- Weekend campus clean-up, beautification activities
- Helping with a community team such as AYSO soccer or Little League (helping with sports events of younger children, refereeing, etc.)
- Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, locally or abroad
- Unpaid internships with a local, state or federal agencies
The following are not considered appropriate for community service:
- Work often done by office, teacher or library student aides
- Service performed for a profit-making organization
- Service accomplished without obtaining prior approval
- Activities usually considered normal extracurricular (or co-curricular) activities,
- Service performed by a student for a family member or in instances where the family member supervises the service
- Service related to a class, credit for a class or the making of profit, defraying costs of trips, etc.
- Pay is received for the service rendered
Institutions of Higher Education the youth attends will monitor compliance and report it to MDHE. Once a youth is approved for the tuition waiver, continued participation in the program will be determined by academic standing, community service participation, and funding of the program.