Education can make all the difference. A high school degree, a GED, a college degree, or vocational training will give you opportunities and choices. Special programs are available to help youth in foster care afford college and vocational programs.

Talk to both your case worker and high school counselor to help you make your educational plan, and then make sure it happens.

Find out about High School Graduation Requirements:

There are different high school graduation requirements for each county in Maryland. For information on Baltimore City’s high school graduation requirements, check out:

For more information about general high school graduation requirements, check out:

High School Assessments: The High School Assessments (HSAs), are four exams—one each in algebra/data analysis, biology, government, and English—that all students must take and pass to graduate high school. HSAs are required for those students who entered 9th grade in or after 2005. For information about HSA, check out:

Financial Assistance in High School: As a foster youth, you may be eligible for covered graduation expenses such as class rings, senior pictures, prom attire, and graduation fees under the Ready by 21 program. Check out our flyer explaining Chafee expenditures for eligibility requirements and details; or contact your case worker for more information.

Find Out About Tuition Waver at Public Colleges in Maryland:

As a foster youth in Maryland, you may be eligible to attend public college in Maryland without paying tuition. For more information, check out Take a look at the list of public universities and colleges in Maryland – click here!

Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV): The Maryland ETV program offers funds on a first-come, First-serve basis to students currently in foster care as well as former foster care youths. Through this program, you may be eligible to receive up to $5,000 for education related expenses. Check out for more information.

Need help with the FAFSA?

  • Check out this great tip sheet for foster youth: Foster Youth FAFSA Tip Sheet
  • Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243
  • Visit The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators website at:
  • Call your BCDSS case worker
  • Talk to your school guidance counselor or staff at your GED program
  • Ask your attorney

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The FAFSA is the federal application for financial aid, but it is also used to apply for aid from other sources, including the state and the student’s school.

Maryland’s student Financial Aid deadline is March 1st. Foster youth MUST meet this deadline every year in order to be eligible for the tuition waiver and ETV. Aid is provided on a first come, first serve basis; so apply as soon as possible.

Fill out the FAFSA online at

The FASFA form is also available for download at You will need to mail in the completed form for processing.

To request a paper copy, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665. Hearing impaired applicants can contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.

Additional Financial Aid Resources