Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) recently signed into law an initiative under which former foster youth may be eligible for a full ride to any of the state’s three state-supported colleges.
The University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Delaware Technical Community College will waive all tuition and fees, including room, board and books, for former foster kids who are enrolled in classes full time.
The institutions will take care of all expenses not paid through scholarships or financial aid programs, even during winter, spring and summer breaks.
The new law will apply to current students and any student under age 27 who spent at least a year of their teens in Delaware’s foster care system, WHYY in Philadelphia reported.
The state estimates about 20 students will be eligible each year.
Meredith Seitz, chief policy adviser at Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, helped draft the law.
“Those youth have missed out on some pretty crucial years of having that family stability and support,’’ Seitz said in the WHYY report. “And so really, we owe it to them to provide them with this opportunity.”
“When they’re going through a time in high school, when it might be hard to think about the future, they can have one thing that’s kind of taken off their plate in terms of things they need to worry about.”
Former foster youth Mayda Berrios, a senior at Delaware State University, told WHYY that the law will be a huge financial and psychological boost for young people like her. “Now we can worry about our education, and not how we’re going to pay for food and how we’re going to eat that night,” she said.
Gov. Carney signed the bill late last month, and the program will go into effect during the spring 2022 semester.