What is the College Tuition and Fee Waiver?

This is a state law that exempts or waives payment of tuition and fees at state supported colleges or universities for foster youth currently or formerly in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and for those adopted from DFPS.   

Do I Qualify?

You qualify for the tuition and fee waiver, if you were in DFPS conservatorship:

  • The day before your 18th birthday.
  • The day of your 14th birthday, if you are also eligible for adoption on or after that day.
  • The day you graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • The day you were adopted, if that date was on or after September 1, 2009.
  • The day Permanent Managing Conservatorship was granted to a non-parent, if that date was on or after September 1, 2009.
  • You were 14 years or older on or after June 1, 2016 and left DFPS's Permanent Managing Conservatorship return to the legal responsibility of a parent.
  • You were 16 years or older on or after June 1, 2016 and left DFPS Temporary Managing Conservatorship to the legal responsibility of a parent.
  • You enrolled in a dual credit course or other course which a high-school student may earn joint high school and college credit, and were in DFPS conservatorship on the day of enrollment.

Note: You must have enrolled in a state supported college or university as an undergraduate student before your 25th birthday.

State PAL staff or Adoption Eligibility Assistance staff will give you a signed college Tuition Fee Waiver letter to take to the school registrar's office. Participation in PAL services is not required to be eligible for the tuition and fee waiver.

See Texas Education Code section 54.366 and Title 40, Subchapter P, of Chapter 700

Tuition Exemptions for Students Adopted from DFPS care and who have an Adoption Assistance Agreement (Texas Education Code Section 54.367)

You are eligible for the tuition and fee waiver if you were adopted and were the subject of a  financial assistance agreement providing monthly payments and Medicaid benefits.

The benefit to qualifying for this waiver is there is no age limit for the student to enroll in a college or university.  To verify eligibility, contact your Regional Adoption Staff or call (800) 233-3405.

Important changes have been made to Section 54.367 of the Texas Education Code related to students who receive the Texas tuition and fee waiver solely as a result of entering into an adoption assistance agreement with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for payments and Medicaid.

Beginning the fall 2014 semester or term, legislation was changed to include requirements that the continued receipt of the tuition and fee waiver was based on a student:

  • Maintaining a grade point average (GPA) that satisfies the college/university's policy regarding eligibility for financial aid.
  • Not completing credit hours considered to be excessive under Section 54.014, unless the college/university allows the student to do so on a showing of good cause.

If the student did not maintain the required GPA or completed a semester with excessive hours, the student was no longer eligible to receive the tuition and fee waiver for the next semester or term. The student could only re-qualify for the waiver by completing a semester or term that met the GPA requirement and did not complete excessive hours during that semester or term.

**Effective September 1, 2017, these requirements were rescinded. There is no longer legislative requirements regarding GPA or excessive hours that would prohibit a student from receiving the Texas tuition and fee waiver under Section 54.367 of the Texas Education Code.

For more information, please see the Texas Education Code, Chapter 54, Tuition and Fees.

If you have any questions regarding this legislative change, please contact the registrar's office of the school your child attends.  Issues regarding this recent legislation should be reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.