April 23, 2017

The Search For Scholarships: For Adopted Children, It Can Be Tough

student loans for adopted childrenIt’s not often that a foster or adoptive parent worries about paying for college when they first agree to take a child in, but hopefully they will one day realize it’s time to search around for scholarships; for adopted children, it can be tougher than normal to get traditional funding. A foster parent of an adopted child can occasionally count on money from the state for a variety of different purposes — dependent on their financial situation, of course — but few states have programs to help out with scholarships for college students that were adopted.

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in Florida, New Jersey, Maine, Texas, or Virginia and get one of the limited number of state scholarships for adopted children, you’re going to have to look to private groups to provide the same — or seek alternative forms of college financing. Student loans are a common enough choice, but if you happen to have bad credit, student loans can be even harder to obtain than scholarships. (Note: that list isn’t necessarily comprehensive, you should always call your state’s particular department that deals with adoption and foster care and ask them about any relevant college financing programs they might have.

Mercifully, there are plenty of private organizations that organize scholarships for adopted children. You can contact the National Foster Parent Association, the Orphan Foundation of America, and a few other major national organizations, but the truth is that it’s often easier to get college financing from smaller institutions, either state or local groups, or even financial institutions with the right kind of political bent.

One way to find these more obscure scholarships for adoptees is to know a few key terms to search for online. ‘Legacy scholarships for adopted children’ is a good one to start with, and more can be found with a bit of poking around online. Of course, finding the scholarship isn’t enough — you still have to meet any other qualifications, print off the form, fill it out, and return it to the institution that handles the scholarship.

Generally speaking, adoptee’s scholarships are limited by the state, as most charitable organizations are statewide. Frustratingly, some of these organizations will only apply their scholarships to an adoptee currently living in their state, regardless of where they go to college — and others are exactly the opposite, providing college financing for adoptees attending school in their state even if they have a residence elsewhere. Finding the right set of scholarships for your adopted child requires patience and persistence more than anything else.

There are options beyond just scholarships for adopted children, as well. Various waiver programs, Federal loans and grants, work study programs, and even institution-specific options (particularly at private schools) can be used in any combination to get your child into and through the higher education system. If you keep an open mind and you’re willing to try at a variety of educational institutions, you’ll eventually find a way to succeed.