As a rule, the majority of scholarships and financial assistance for students are based on their financial hardships and healthcare issues. However, some situations are unique and require no proof per se except for the official documents that confirm certain issues. One of them is being an orphaned student, living in a foster home, and belonging to those categories of American citizens who have legal rights and conditions that fall under existing legislation.
According to statistics provided by the American Orphan Society, there are an estimated 400,540 children in foster care with more than a quarter (27%) belonging to relative homes. Nearly half of these children (47%) belong to nonrelative foster family homes. It must be noted that out of 73.7 million children under the age of 18 in the United States, we have 18,28% (20.6 million) children living with one parent and four percent of children living with no parents or grandparents only. Turning to the most recent research, we have less than 10% of foster youth graduate from college.
Still, we have various organizations and financial aid rules that help to increase the success of orphan students. Thanks to organizations like Foster Care to Success, about 65% of students who receive their support graduate within five years. This particular percentage is much higher than what we have with the overall U.S. population. It only proves the importance of getting financial aid and support since it can become a major change for orphaned and foster students.
Challenges Faced by Orphaned Students in College
Without a doubt, orphan college students and those who study in middle and high school are facing way more challenges than the other students. Some of them include:
- As they face pressure, stress, and anxiety, they sense negative health issues, social, and developmental outcomes. It often results in poor school performance and educational success.
- They also struggle to concentrate during college lessons because of stress. It happens because of numerous reasons from PTSD to feeling isolated.
- They also have a lack of resources that would help them meet basic needs like food, shelter, education, and healthcare.
- They experience high levels of negativity, misjudgment, and social stigma. They are the first who are bullied and teased.
- They are also at a greater risk of abuse and mistreatment as they often have to work and study at the same time.
- They also have a poor psychological state with physical issues that also affect their learning.
It has to be mentioned that orphan students are the most vulnerable in terms of asking for help. They do not really think that something is wrong. Unfortunately, all the paperwork and the frequent insults often frighten orphaned students. That is why it is vital to make the list of resources accessible and provide them with legal protection.
The Importance of Education for Orphans
It is hard to underestimate the importance of education in the lives of orphans regardless of their age and skills. As the vulnerable ones, they can become a significant contribution to any academic field since they have much better skills of life adjustment and analysis. As the orphans are deprived of education, they are also isolated from social integration and have their psychosocial development damaged. By accessing education, orphan students also become a safe and well-structured environment in these turbulent times.
Unfortunately, orphan students are forced to choose certain universities that they think would fit them financially. It also brings their attention span away from such educational institutions like Harvard or MIT. Even though the majority of students in the United States would pass these universities, the orphan students are always limited in their resources and funds. If we add the emotional state and the complete inability to continue with their studies because of several reasons, it becomes even more challenging. Since they have no parental support and must rely on their resources, orphan students require additional assistance like grants and advice more than others.
The List of Financial Aid Forms for Orphan Students
As a rule, you can choose various dependent or independent student forms. If you would like to choose a dependent financial aid form, you should choose a Verification Worksheet by requesting it from the college of your choice. It is called the Verification Worksheet (F21VWD form). If you choose an independent student form, it will include:
- Verification Worksheet (F21VWI).
- Emancipated Minor or Legal Guardianship Status (F21EMG).
- Proof of Orphan / Ward of the Court (F21WOC).
- Proof of Unaccompanied Youth / Homeless Youth Status.
At the same time, if you are an orphan student or belong to adopted students, you should provide:
- SAP Appeal Form and Instructions For Submission
- SAP Academic Plan Worksheet (provided by your academic advisor)
- Graduation Study Plan.
Of course, you may have to add something like High School Verification (F21HSG form) or any other similar forms that check your skills and exams. It will always depend on your college of choice and a personal situation. Talk to your high school advisor about all the available documents that you have.
The Scholarships for Orphan Students
Remember that you have a legal right to financial aid and special grants. In most cases, you do not even have to write an essay or do anything as you apply. Here are some college scholarships to consider:
- Kreager Family Scholarship. You can receive up to a $2,500 award if you belong to adopted students and would like to study Social Sciences. It requires writing about your life by telling about what education means to you.
- New Orphan Asylum Scholarship Foundation. It is one of the oldest scholarships for orphaned students. It has been established in 1942 and can help students who would like to attend college.
- James Howard Farris Scholarship. You can receive up to $500 financial assistance for tuition, transportation, and basic needs.
- Orphan Foundation of America Scholarship. You can win $2,000 if you are ready to tell about the lessons of life you have learned as an orphaned student.
- International Scholarships for Orphaned Students. It includes $1,000 worth of financial aid. If you are a high school or college student with at least one academic year left and you belong to half-orphans or orphans, you can apply for this scholarship. You must be between 17 and 22 years old.
- Jack Pollock Scholarship. If you have been to the orphanage and lived without any foster family, this scholarship is for you. You can win up to $2,000. You must write an essay about your life and the reasons why you have chosen a particular course.
- Peter Michael Ritzko Memorial Award. It is offered to those who would like to enter Pennsylvania State University. If you could overcome physical, emotional, or any other mental loss, write about it and win.
- Nathan and Adele Hillman Foundation. You can choose among several scholarships for orphan or foster family students based on your situation.
- Victor Micolucci Scholarship. It provides $2,300 financial help for those students who are left without any parental support.
- Barbara S. Iannacone Memorial Award. If you have suffered the loss of your father, this scholarship is for you to help you attend college.
- Malcolm R. Stacey Memorial Fund. It is an opportunity to receive help for those orphan students who want to study aeronautical engineering or any similar scientific branch.
- Arnold Consultancy and Technology LLC (Novartis). You can receive up to $1,500 assistance if you are an orphan student who would like to study Healthcare, Nursing, or Chemistry.
- Walter and Shirley Sperber Scholarship. It is aimed at those students who have lost one or both parents before or during their college studies. You must have a 3.0-4.0 GPA.
- Aretta J. Graham Scholarship. It is awarded (the sum varies) to those students who have lost one or both parents.
- ACF Youth in Foster Care Scholarship Program. It is for the residents of New Mexico who are between 17 and 21 with a 2.5 GPA or similar GED test. You can receive $1,000 as an adult out of foster care.
Remember that your college you would like to enter may also have special college scholarships and financial aid for your situation by offering a special schedule and assistance with the book payments or cafeteria aid. As a rule, you can talk to your college and also consider various options that are available for underprivileged students.
Additional Resources For Orphan / Foster Family Students
Here are some other important resources to consider:
- Foster Care to Success. You can receive professional academic help and assistance that will extend your foster care (if you are between 18 and 21) to help you study.
- US Department of Education. Students on Foster Care. You should check this resource as you plan to enter some college.
- The Orphan Society of America. It is the primary resource that you should check for mental help, career opportunities, education, legal help, and more.
- Christian Alliance for Orphans. It is an association that helps orphaned children and adults live with the help of Christian faith and community help.
- Orphan Outreach. An international volunteering organization that can let you live and study by helping other orphans learn. You can become a member of this amazing association that helps each other. It is both in the USA and all over the world.
Most importantly, never give up, and remember that you can receive help and make your dreams come true. You are a true hero by fighting through this life and we hope and pray that our orphan students’ financial aid guide and resources will help you!