Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Before you know it, it will be time to begin thinking about a college education for your child (and how you will be paying for it!).  Many of you may already be thinking about and planning for this time.  Below is a list of resources for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia families interested in securing a college education for their child who has been in foster care or was adopted at an older age. Additionally, if your child was adopted outside of the local area, you may want to check the resources available from that state, as many offer similar opportunities.

We have also seen families get creative to save for college education.

  1. Use opportunities like an adoption finalization party or “gotcha” day celebration and invite friends and family to donate to a college education fund.
  2. If you receive a subsidy for the adoption, put  a portion of the subsidy away towards college education.
  3. Apply for grants or scholarships directed toward youth who have spent time in foster care.

 We would love to hear additional resources or ways that you have started saving towards your child’s college education. Feel free to email Surina Amin at samin [at] barkerfoundation.org with resources or creative ways you have saved for your child’s college education fund.


Maryland offers the Maryland Waiver, which allows foster youth and former foster youth of Maryland DHR, who meet certain criteria to attend college in Maryland tuition-free. To be eligible, adopted youth must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a Maryland resident
  • Be adopted after their 13th birthday, or adopted with a sibling who was adopted after their 13th birthday.
  • Attend a state college in Maryland
  • Have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • The waiver is good for five years after the youth first enrolls in college. The waiver does not pay for a training program, nor does it cover the cost of books and or transportation. See Maryland Policy Directive SSA #13-12 for full information on the tuition waiver program as well as Maryland's ETV program. Click here for more information about the Maryland waiver


Virginia offers a tuition grant program that covers tuition and fees at any Virginia community college for high school graduates or students who have a general education development (GED) certificate who were in foster care in the custody of a social services agency or were considered a special needs adoption at the time of graduation or GED completion.  Click here to learn more about Virginia's tuition grant program

District of Columbia

The District of Columbia offers a scholarship program for children adopted from the District's foster care system after Oct. 1, 2000.   This program covers vocational training, as well as college funding. The D.C. Adoption Scholarship (DCAS)-  offers grant awards up to $10,000 per year for up to six years, with a lifetime maximum of $50,000, to District of Columbia children adopted through D.C. Child and Family Services Agency and/or children who have lost one or both parents in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Click here to learn more about DC's schlorship program.



Surina Amin, LGSW - Outreach Coordinator, Project Wait No Longer