Ohio Lawmakers Propose Scholarship for Former Foster Youths

Ohio would establish the Foster-to-College Scholarship program if the measure passes the state Legislature.
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Published on June 6, 2024
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  • Ohio lawmakers are mulling a scholarship proposal for students with experience in foster care.
  • The scholarship program would cover all remaining college costs for students after other financial aid has been applied.
  • California passed a similar measure in mid-2023.
  • Students with experience in foster care face unique challenges to graduating college with a degree.

Ohio may soon establish a new scholarship program for students with experience in foster care (SEFC) pursuing a college degree or credential.

A bipartisan coalition of state legislators, led by Democratic Rep. Dontavius Jarrells and Republican Rep. Bill Seitz, introduced the Foster-to-College Scholarship Act on May 1. If passed, the state would create a last-dollar scholarship available to all Ohioans who were in foster care at any point after their 13th birthday.

The bill most recently passed the House Finance Committee on May 21 and will next go to the full House for a vote.

The advancement of this bill out of committee today marks a crucial stride forward in our commitment to bolstering support for Ohio's foster youth, Jarrells said in a statement. It is my hope that this bill will inspire our young people to believe in their limitless potential.

Ohio would join 35 other states that already have scholarship programs for SEFC.

BestColleges previously reported that SEFC have some of the lowest college completion rates of any student demographic in the U.S. SEFC face unique obstacles to degree attainment, and many report that financial challenges are among the primary reasons they aren't able to complete their college education.

Ohio's proposal does not specify how much aid each student can qualify for through this program.

Instead, it seems the Foster-to-College Scholarship program will cover all remaining costs of attendance to a college or university after all other financial aid has been applied.

This counts as a last-dollar scholarship, meaning that qualifying for other financial aid like Pell Grants or Chafee Grants won't preclude students from also receiving Foster-to-College Scholarship funds.

Cost of attendance includes:

  • Tuition
  • Fees
  • Room and board
  • Books
  • Computer and other supplies
  • Related fees, charges, and expenses

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for a Chafee ETV Grant to qualify for the Foster-to-College Scholarship, according to the bill's text.

If passed, the state would allocate $15 million to the Foster-to-College Scholarship Fund.

College students at both public and private institutions may qualify for the Foster-to-College Scholarship. Students can apply this scholarship to a credential, associate degree, bachelor's degree, or postgraduate degree.

California recently passed a measure that provides free college to SEFC.