Feigenholtz works to expand DCFS scholarship for former youth in care

Students who are eligible for DCFS’ annual scholarship program may soon be able to use additional funds to pay for living expenses while earning a certificate or degree, thanks to a measure led by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz.

“College students know how important it is for scholarships to be flexible and accessible,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “While more than 1,800 former youth in care have accessed their higher education opportunities through the DCFS scholarship, many are cut off from this financial assistance because of the type of program they choose to pursue.”

Each year, the Department of Children and Family Services awards scholarships to students who are in DCFS care, have aged out of care, or are former youth in care who were adopted. Scholarship recipients receive up to five consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers for participating community colleges and public universities in Illinois.

Feigenholtz is leading a measure to allow youth formerly in DCFS care to keep their tuition fee waiver and scholarship as long as they are making progress toward graduation or completing a certificate or degree program. Under the legislation, colleges and universities would also be able to reimburse students for their federal Pell Grant for living expenses.

“This measure will help address the barriers young adults face when seeking career and education opportunities,” said Feigenholtz. “We stand firm in our commitment to support youth in care and ensure higher education is attainable for all, no matter their background or circumstances.”

Senate Bill 3138 passed the Senate Wednesday and moves to the House for consideration.