Apply Early for Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, provides federal student aid, which includes grants, loans, and work-study.  Each year millions of students wait until the last minute to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Apply early! If there are any problems with your paper work you will have lead time to speak with a financial aid counselor at your school during the “non peak” processing time of the year.

I have learned it is best to connect with your financial aid counselor
face to face (if possible).   Be proactive by keeping a calendar of the
date and time you filed your FAFSA electronically.  If you do not hear back within the suggested time frame, contact the number on your application to identify any problems with the submission.

Student loans should only be used when needed and always after you have applied for scholarships, grants, student employment, and work study.  Student loan debt can pile up fast.  Many states now offer tuition waivers or tuition discounts to youth in foster care headed to college.  Check with your state department of education to assist you.  Education and Training Vouchers are also offered through your state independent living coordinator.

The Federal Pell Grant is the most common form of federal financial aid in which students do not have to repay, but it is not the only option. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a Federal fund given to students with very high need (priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients). Funding depends on availability at each college or university.  Annual Award Amounts vary from $100 to $4,000.

No one source is going to cover  tuition and expenses. The key to graduating debt-free requires drawing on all available resources – never turn down an opportunity for free money just because it doesn’t seem like “enough.”


Study Finds More Woes Following Foster Care


Only half the youths who had turned 18 and “aged out” of foster care were employed by their mid-20s. Six in 10 men had been convicted of a crime, and three in four women, many of them with children of their own, were receiving some form of public assistance. Only six in 100 had completed even a community college degree.

The dismal outlook for youths who are thrust into a shaky adulthood from the foster care system — now numbering some 30,000 annually — has been documented with new precision by a long-term study released Wednesday, the largest to follow such children over many years.

Researchers studied the outcomes for 602 youths in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, and compared them with their peers who had not been in foster care. Most youths had entered the foster care system in their early teens and then were required to leave it at 18 or, in the case of Illinois, 21.

“We took them away from their parents on the assumption that we as a society would do a better job of raising them,” said Mark Courtney, a sociologist at the University of Washington who led the study with colleagues from the Partners for Our Children program at Washington and the Chapin Hall center at the University of Chicago. “We’ve invested a lot money and time in their care, and by many measures they’re still doing very poorly.”

To view the rest of the article visit

Published: Foster Youth Emancipation by Dr. Deborah Sims

copyofcoverFoster Youth Emancipation

Implications of Resiliency, Independence, and Responsibility

 Read More By Clicking Here:  Foster Youth Emancipation
by Dr. Deborah H. Sims

Dr. Deborah Sims Honored by Maybelline New York

Selected from thousands of entries across the United States, Dr. Deborah Sims founder of Hopes for Higher Education is one of 10 national recipients of the Maybelline New York Beauty of Education Award, an award that recognizes women who motivate, mentor and make a difference in their communities through the power of education. Sims will receive a $10,000 grant earmarked to support her educational cause, Hopes for Higher Education, along with a national ad in Essence Magazine.

Dr. Deborah Sims Honored by Maybelline New York