Scholarships and Financial Aid

In addition to the Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) and College Tuition and Fee Waiver programs, current and former Texas foster youth have several other resources for financial aid for higher education, including these important programs:

C. Ed Davis PAL Scholarship

The C. Ed Davis PAL scholarship is for for youth formerly in foster care with DFPS. This scholarship was named in honor of C. Ed Davis who, in April 2004, retired as Deputy Director, Legal Services. DFPS is offering scholarships of $1,000 per academic year, awarded in increments of $500 per semester. These scholarships are for basic non-tuition needs for students interested in the field of law and majoring in government, political science, history, or other pre-law fields. For more information, download the C. Ed Davis PAL Scholarship Letter & Application.

Federal Student Aid

Federal Student Aid, part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the United States. The office of Federal Student Aid offers more than $150 billion each year to help millions of students pay for higher education Learn more about Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Freshman and Sophomore Success Scholarship

The Freshman and Sophomore Success Scholarship is for young adults formerly in DFPS foster care attending a Texas state-funded institution of higher education. This includes community colleges, colleges, universities, and Texas State Technical College. Application due dates are August 1 and November 1, prior to each semester.

Note: The August 1, 2020 deadline has been extended to October 15, 2020.

Only students awarded the scholarship both semesters as a freshman may apply for the scholarship as a sophomore or as a 2nd year student at a Texas state-funded institution of higher education.

Scholarships are $1000 per semester or academic term or $2000 for two semesters or academic terms. For more information, download the Freshman and Sophomore Success Scholarship letter and application.

For more information about scholarships and financial aid, also check out the Texas Youth Connection college resources.

Housing Assistance Between Academic Terms

Texas institutions of higher education are required to assist full-time students formerly in DFPS conservatorship or who have been legally emancipated in locating temporary housing between academic terms (winter and summer holiday breaks).

In order for the young adult to receive assistance with temporary housing from a higher education institution where the young adult is enrolled, they must:

  • Be a full-time student in the semester preceding the housing need;
  • Be registered or have started the required enrollment actions as a full-time student for the immediate next semester period following the housing accommodation;
  • Lack other reasonable temporary housing alternatives; and
  • Request the housing assistance.  

How Higher Education Institutions Can Help With Summer and Winter Breaks

  • Assist students with making housing arrangements by providing a list of available housing resources within the community or by referring students to other resources or community partners that offer housing assistance;  or
  • If the student demonstrates a financial need the institution may open up student housing such as dormitories, university-owned apartments or other campus housing or provide a stipend to cover reasonable costs for temporary housing.  Since the bill does not require institutions to provide these options the receipt of these benefits will vary depending on the specific institution's practice. 

Note: If a student receives a stipend for housing assistance this does not prohibit the student from receiving additional stipends in one or more subsequent academic periods.  Also the receipt of a stipend for housing assistance will not affect a student's ability to apply for or receive funds from the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program for the cost of attendance for the future semester or to receive other similar academic assistance.

Students must request the housing assistance and are encouraged to inquire:

  • financial aid offices,
  • student affairs offices,
  • admissions offices,
  • housing/residence life/residential living offices, or
  • A student Ombudsperson

Young adults are also encouraged to research each college or university website to locate the appropriate campus office for housing.

Bacterial Meningitis Vaccine for Students Entering Post-Secondary Education

Effective January 1, 2012, students under age 30 entering a Texas institution of higher education must be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis.  For DFPS foster youth, payments for doctor's visits and vaccination costs are covered by:

  • Texas Medicaid (STAR Health or Traditional);
  • Medicaid for Transitioning Foster Care Youth (MTFCY); or
  • The Former Foster Care Youth in Higher Education (FFCHE) program. 

Young adults are encouraged to check college admissions policies for more information about the vaccination.

Young adults enrolled in the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program and are not eligible for the above medical coverages may use a portion of their ETV living expense stipend if allowed by the university's cost of attendance policy for health insurance, doctor co-payments, prescriptions or other health expenses.  

Note: ETV funds cannot be used to directly pay for a doctor visit (i.e., students without health insurance).