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. To qualify for this benefit you must:

  • Maintain a grade point average that satisfies the college or university's policy regarding eligibility for financial aid.
  • Undergraduate only - not complete credit hours considered to be excessive under Section 54.014, unless the college or university allows the student to do so on a showing of good cause.

If you do not meet the required grade point average or complete a semester with excessive hours, you may not continue to receive the waiver for the next semester or term of enrollment. You may re-qualify if these requirements are later met. Check your schools policy about hardship or good cause exemptions.

Proof of Hardship or Other Good Cause

Colleges and universities are required to have policies allowing a student who does not maintain the grade point average to receive the waiver in any semester if the student shows proof of "hardship or other good cause". Please contact your school's financial aid office to discuss a hardship or good cause exemption, if applicable.

Any child or youth adopted on or after September 1, 2009 from DFPS conservatorship (Texas Education Code Section 54.366) will not be affected by these tuition restrictions.