When adoptive families struggle to pay for higher education, college scholarships may provide much-needed financial relief. Kentucky law specifically established a tuition waiver program for adopted children and children in foster care. Families may find additional financial aid through scholarships for foster youth or through private scholarships that fit their personal circumstances, such as adoption from a foreign country.

Kentucky Tuition Waiver Program

In section 164.2847 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes, the state establishes college tuition waivers for eligible adopted children and children in foster care. Students may use the tuition waivers for in-state Kentucky colleges, universities and vocational schools. To qualify, adoptees must show that they fit the criteria published in the statute. The waiver program focuses on financial aid to children involved with the state's child-welfare system through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Adoptive children may qualify for the program if their families receive adoption assistance from the state as established by section 199.555 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes. Families may also qualify for the program if they adopted their children through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In addition, families must demonstrate financial need, as shown on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Other Programs for Adopted Children

In addition to the tuition waiver program for Kentucky adoptees and foster youth, the state includes adoptive children in other state-funded financial aid opportunities. Section 164.2641 establishes tuition waivers for the survivors of public employees who were killed in the line of duty while serving the state. Section 164.2642 creates similar waivers for children of public employees who became disabled while on duty. Children of Kentucky police officers or firefighters, for example, may apply for these tuition waivers. The state specifically allows adopted children to qualify for these state-funded opportunities if they show their adoption papers.

Scholarships for Foster Care Youth

Adoptive children may also qualify for scholarships awarded to Kentucky foster children or students whose families have taken part in Kentucky's foster care system. The National Foster Parent Association, for example, gives youth scholarships to college students with family history as youth in foster care or as adopted children. Children who were adopted by their foster parents may qualify for the association's financial support. Foster Care to Success, an organization describing itself as "America's College Fund for Foster Youth," awards scholarships to recipients in every U.S. state, including Kentucky. The FCS scholarship criteria emphasizes support of orphans or children who have lived in foster care, but students may still qualify even if adopted later.

Scholarships for International Adoptees

Some Kentucky parents adopt their children from outside the United States. International adoptees who now come from Kentucky families may find financial aid through nonprofit organizations that promote awareness of international adoption issues. Students may need to search for national nonprofits in addition to Kentucky nonprofits to find programs for internationally adopted children. The InterDoptee organization, for example, gives scholarships to international adoptees for expenses in education or professional development. Applicants must explain how use of the scholarship will benefit the broader community of international adoptees in the United States. Receipients can use the InterDoptee scholarship to pay college tuition at Kentucky schools, or to purchase academic necessities such as books.

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