Disability Rights Blog
Aug 12

College tuition grant funding available to current, former foster care youth ​

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, August 12, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Long, steve.long@state.sd.us or 605.773.3165

College tuition grant funding available to current, former foster care youth

PIERRE – The Department of Social Services (DSS) has help available for current and former foster care youth to further their education.

Educational Training Vouchers (ETV) are available through DSS to help eligible young people up to age 26 who were involved in the child welfare system pay tuition for college and skilled trade classes.

“Education and training can be key stepping stones to success for South Dakota’s youth,” said DSS Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “By providing financial assistance to foster care youth, DSS can help remove barriers to obtaining further educational opportunities.”

Eligible students can qualify for grants up to $5,000 per year for up to five years. The funds can be combined with other grants and scholarships.

Right now, there are additional flexibilities for ETV funding through the SupportingFoster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act. Through September 30, 2022, the maximum annual grant increases to $12,000 and vouchers can be provided to young people until they reach age 27.

DSS encourages youth to send in their applications before August 15 for the Fall semester and December 15 for the Spring semester. These deadlines are flexible but help ensure DSS receives the necessary information before students get busy with coursework.

The ETV program is federally funded and administered by DSS. From July 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021, 24 youth in South Dakota received $157,335 through the program.

For information about the ETV program, current or former foster care youth can call DSS Program Specialist Eric Grover at 605-394-2525 ext. 251 or visit https://dss.sd.gov/childprotection/independentlivingprogram/educationtraining.aspx.