Advocacy Tips and Resources
Colorado’s new Foster Youth Financial Assistance Program provides the cost of attendance (after private, state, and/or federal financial assistance) at institutions of higher education (including technical colleges) for youth who were in foster care on or after their 13th birthday or were in non-certified kinship care and adjudicated dependent or neglected. Cost of attendance is defined broadly, to include tuition fees, room, board, books, supplies, transportation, and other allowable expenses. Advocacy tips and resources include the following.
- Identify youth that may benefit from the Program and ensure that they are aware of the financial assistance available through the Program.
- Loans should not be considered financial assistance and institutions should not require youth to take out loans as financial assistance.
- Each institution must have a Child Welfare Liaison to provide information about application assistance, financial assistance, and support services. The Department of Higher Education must hire Foster Care Student Navigators to work with the Liaisons to identify and support qualifying students. Although the Navigators are not in place, each institution should have a Liaison youth can contact. Institutions’ financial aid offices may be a good place to start.
- Resources include the two-pager entitled, “Foster Youth Financial Assistance Program” on OCR’s Litigation Toolkit, the Department of Higher Education’s website, and your OCR Staff Attorney Liaison (see sidebar).