Department of Children and Families (DCF) Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program

The following is a brief description for students. Institutions should refer to the most recent guidelines for information.

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The DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program is designed to provide financial support for children in state custody who were neither adopted nor returned home. It is believed that these children have few support systems and significant needs. Without the benefit of parental support, foster children face the additional challenge of financing their education when they enroll as students in higher education institutions. While foster care children qualify for financial aid, many face the burden of acquiring student loans to meet their educational costs. The DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program is a valuable resource that will help reduce their educational loan debt.

Additional Resources

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible for the DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program, a student must:

  • Have been in the custody of the Commonwealth for at least six months before age 18.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or non-citizen eligible under Title IV regulations.
  • Have applied for financial aid, using the standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Not be in default of any federal or state Student Loans for attendance at any institution or owe a refund for any previous financial aid received.
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate degree, certificate or short-term certificate program, or be taking non-credit courses.
  • Be maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with institutional and federal standards.
  • Be twenty-four years of age or under at the start of the academic year.
  • Be a current or former foster child who was placed in the custody of the state through a Care and Protection Petition, or
  • Be a child whose guardianship was sponsored by the Department of Children and Families through age 18.
  • Not have been adopted nor returned home.

Please refer to the DCF Student Eligibility Checklist

Eligible Institutions

An eligible institution is within the system of public higher education under section 5 of Chapter 15A of the General Laws.

An eligible course is any state-supported course offered by an institution at a public college or university, excluding all graduate courses and courses in the MD program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Eligible courses include those toward an undergraduate degree program, certificate program, short-term certificate program, and non-credit courses. Institutions are encouraged to develop waiver programs for eligible students that would provide a 50% tuition waiver for any non-state-supported course and/or certificate programs.

Award Amounts

Students eligible for the DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program are entitled to a tuition and fee waiver equal to 100% of the resident tuition rate, subject to budgetary appropriation, for eligible state-supported courses offered at the participating public higher education institution.

View the full value of tuition waivers, by school, for a full-time student in the current academic year.

How to Apply

You must obtain eligibility documentation from the Department of Children and Families and present it to your campus financial aid office for consideration. Contact the DHE’s Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617) 391-6070 to obtain more information and to inquire about application requirements or deadlines.

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