Youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have access to many programs to assist with meeting educational needs and financial assistance.
Education advisors help youth in the care of DCFS receive appropriate education services through advocacy, consultation and support. All youth in preschool, elementary school, junior high, high school and college or vocational training programs are eligible to receive assistance from an education advisor. Education advisors also provide training to child welfare staff, foster parents and caregivers, youth, school staff and others on education topics. The education advisors are part of the Educational Access Project, a program that works to improve educational services for children in foster care. For a list of tip sheets that address some of the most common questions/issues received by education advisors from foster caregivers, click here.
Annual High School Academic Plan
At the beginning of each school year, you, your caregivers, school counselors and other relevant school staff will participate in an Annual High School Academic Plan Meeting. At this meeting, your academic progress is reviewed, issues are addressed and plans for after you finish high school are discussed. You will also be given information about the department's programs that support your plans. Read the Annual High School Academic Plan tip sheet for more information.
Community College Payment Program
The Community College Payment Program allows youth under DCFS guardianship enrolling in an Illinois community college the opportunity to have their in-district tuition, fees, and books paid by DCFS if they are not paid by financial aid grants. Payment requests can be submitted for vocational training programs that are part of the community college curriculum. Requests for out-of-district and prior fiscal years’ tuition will not be approved.
Education and Training Vouchers
The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program allows youth the opportunity to have their post-secondary education-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, supplies and uniforms paid by DCFS if they are not paid by financial aid grants.
Youth in College (YIC)/Vocational Training Program
The Youth in College (YIC)/Vocational Training Program is a placement option for youth under DCFS guardianship attending an accredited vocational school, community college or four-year college at full time status. The youth receives a monthly grant payment (board) and money for books if they are not covered by financial aid grants.
Youth in Scholarship (YIS) Program
The Youth in Scholarship Program provides current and former youth in care with a tuition and mandatory fee waiver at Illinois state-funded universities and community colleges, a medical card, monthly grant and money for books if not paid by financial aid grants.
Tuition and Fee Waiver Program
The Tuition and Fee Waiver Program allows eligible youth to attend an Illinois public university or community college. The department must have court-ordered legal guardianship of the youth, the applicant must have aged out of DCFS guardianship at age 18 or older, or the department must have had legal guardianship of the youth immediately prior to the adoption or guardianship being finalized.