What is the ETV Program?
Educational and Training Vouchers are grants, funded by the federal government and administered by the states, awarded for youth with foster care experience pursuing a post-secondary education in an approved educational program.
Youth may enroll in accredited or pre-accredited public, private, or non-profit institutions of higher education that has been assigned a FASFA code and:
- provides a bachelor's degree program or at least a 2-year program that provides credit towards a degree or certification (and enrolled in at least 6 semester hours); or
- provides not less than a one-year program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation; or
- offers training programs and has been existence for at least two years preparing students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.
Who is Eligible?
- Youth currently in foster care.
- Youth who were in the custody of DSS at 18 years of age are eligible for up to $5,000.00 per year in ETV funding for post-secondary schooling (college) for up to 5 years, whether consecutive or not, or until their 26th birthday, whichever comes first.
- Youth who leave care to adoption/kinship/legal guardianship at or after age 16 are eligible for up to $5,000.00 per year in ETV funding for post-secondary schooling (college) for up to 5 years, whether consecutive or not, or until their 26th birthday, whichever comes first.
- Youth who leave care to reunification at or after age 14 are eligible for up to $5,000.00 per year in ETV funding for post-secondary schooling (college) for up to 5 years, whether consecutive or not, or until their 26th birthday, whichever comes first.
Youth are eligible for ETV funds as long as they are enrolled in college, making satisfactory progress, and have not reached the age of 26, even if they are not in care. The following (3) factors may be considered in determining eligibility:
- Acceptance to a technical school, college, university, or other program that meets the ETV criteria
- Students who demonstrate academic achievement or show a marked improvement in educational functioning
- The long term goal and plan for meeting that goal
What do ETV Funds cover?
Youth may be eligible to receive up to a maximum of $5,000 per year up to the 26th birthday or for 5 years, whether consecutive or not, as long as funds are available through the Education and Training Voucher Program. The awarding of ETV funds depends on the cost of attendance, and the amount of grants and scholarships the youth receives.
ETV Award funds will be released for tuition and fees listed on official financial statement each semester directly to the school.
How do I apply for ETV Funds?
First: Download and complete the ETV application
Second: Provide the supporting documents:
- Acceptance letter
- Financial award letter (generated from completing FASFA https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa)
- Class schedule (if available at time of application)
- SC Need-Based Grant Waiver Form
- Unofficial transcripts (for returning student)
Third: Discuss the additional needed services with your DSS case manager. If there are any questions, please contact IndependentLiving@dss.sc.gov for guidance and support.
Fourth: It is the youth’s responsibility to provide unofficial transcripts each semester and proof of continued enrollment. Youth must also notify the Chafee/ETV Program of any changes to enrollment and financial aid.
Applications can be emailed, faxed, or mailed. DSS providers are able to send an encrypted email. All non-DSS requestors must fax or mail the request form in order to protect youth’s confidentiality. If the application is faxed, it is not necessary to mail or email the request.
Email Address: IndependentLiving@dss.sc.gov
Fax Number: 803-898-1209
SCDSS- Chafee/ETV Program
1535 Confederate Avenue
Post Office Box 1520
Columbia, SC 29202-1520