How We Support Youth in Foster Care
Youth in foster care are amazing people and we love supporting them on their path to education after high school. Students need financial and emotional support when thinking about the next steps in life, and we offer guidance and funding to help these special students achieve their education dreams starting in high school and continuing until they reach their education and career goals.
Paying for School
Foster Care Education and Training Voucher Program
Montana foster care youth are eligible to apply for the Foster Care Educational Training Voucher (ETV) program, which provides eligible youth with up to $5,000 per year to pay for educational expenses.
- Currently in foster care and likely to age out of the foster care system; or
- Aged out of the foster care system; or
- Adopted or placed into guardianship from foster care after reaching age 16, or
- Have been under tribal court jurisdiction and meet the above eligibility criteria.
To Apply: Download the ETV application
The priority deadlines for the program are December 15 for students planning on attending spring and summer courses, and July 1 for fall courses or the full school year.
COVID-19 Additional Temporary Assistance
On December 27, 2020 congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. This Act provides temporary flexibility and additional assistance for youth who have experienced foster care and need additional support due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many youth were forced to "pause" their education due to financial challenges during the pandemic. With this additional funding, we can provide increased financial support to help eligible youth reconnect with their educational pursuits.
From October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022, we are able to implement the following changes to eligibility requirements for Education and Training Vouchers:
- Age – extends the age youth can receive ETVs from age 26 to 27.
- Maximum award amount – increases the maximum ETV award amount from $5,000 to $12,000.
- Funds can provide support beyond normal Cost of Attendance items.
- There is some flexibility regarding satisfactory academic progress, allowing assistance to students even if their grades are below GPA of 2.0
- Students can be attending school less than half-time to receive assistance.
If you think you may be eligible for these federal funds contact Rhonda Safford at (406)-422-1275, Ext. 800 or rsafford@ReachHigherMontana.org.
Reach Higher Montana Summit
Reach Higher Montana holds an annual Summit for Youth in Foster Care takes place in June. The purpose of the summit is to help youth in foster care experience life on a college campus, learn about available resources to achieve education and career goals, and connect to peers from across Montana. Students apply for the opportunity to attend the Summit, and applications open in March. If you’d like to join us in 2022, visit with your Chafee provider about applying for this great opportunity.
Due to COVID-19, the Summit was held in a virtual format inand .
For more information about the Summit, contact Rhonda Safford at (406)-422-1275, Ext. 800 or rsafford@ReachHigherMontana.org.
From Foster Care to Foster Parent
Chris, Plans to be a Lawyer
Career Exploration Training
To help students get a jump start on career exploration, Reach Higher Montana Advisors host regional training sessions across Montana to help foster youth explore available education or workforce opportunities after high school. These fun, interactive sessions guide students through the Montana Career Information System (MCIS) and provide students with access to information and connections to careers available in their area.
College Check In
We continue to support youth with foster care experience as they pursue their education after high school. Reach Higher Montana Advisors connect with ETV recipients at colleges in their areas several times throughout the school year to see how they are doing and to help them navigate college.
Click here for Reach Higher Montana Advisor contact information.
For more information about our programs, contact Rhonda Safford at (406) 422-1275, Ext. 800 or rsafford@ReachHigherMontana.org