Who We Serve

Posted by: Brett McNaught on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 12:00:00 am

Educate Tomorrow is making a push to try to create awareness and support for students that may be eligible for the college tuition waiver under the "custody of a relative" status as well as "apopted from DCF" or "Homeless".  As you know traditionally the population we have served has been transitioning foster youth, though we have always made exceptions.  With your help we want to expand the parameters.

In 2011 the tuition waiver for those in the custody of a relative was only used 153 times statewide vs. 1,434 foster youth who aged out and 424 for those adopted from DCF.  Those numbers should not be that far apart and the word needs to get out about this huge educational opportunity.

We also want to let the community know that we will continue to serve youth who are reunified with a parent even if they are no longer eligible for the tuition waiver.  And lastly, we will support students until they graduate from the degree of their choice regardless of age.  We have several students who are still progressing towards a degree in the 25-28 year age range. 
 
Please help me in sharing and referring potential youth or adults who may qualify. 

Custody of a relative (s. 1009.25(1)(d), F.S.)

Below are the areas of the statute that Educate Tomorrow wants to focus on.


1009.25 Fee exemptions.—

(1) The following students are exempt from the payment of tuition and fees, including lab fees, at a school district that provides workforce education programs, Florida College System institution, or state university:

(c) A student who is or was at the time he or she reached 18 years of age in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services or who, after spending at least 6 months in the custody of the department after reaching 16 years of age, was placed in a guardianship by the court. Such exemption includes fees associated with enrollment in career-preparatory instruction. The exemption remains valid until the student reaches 28 years of age.

(d) A student who is or was at the time he or she reached 18 years of age in the custody of a relative under s. 39.5085 or who was adopted from the Department of Children and Family Services after May 5, 1997. Such exemption includes fees associated with enrollment in career-preparatory instruction. The exemption remains valid until the student reaches 28 years of age.
 
(f) A student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private shelter designed to provide temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

This may also be an option for a student that does not fit above but is in great need???
 
(2) Each Florida College System institution is authorized to grant student fee exemptions from all fees adopted by the State Board of Education and the Florida College System institution board of trustees for up to 40 full-time equivalent students at each institution.

We are looking to go from serving 132 youth today to 200 by October 1st so we have the capacity to do more both on staff and with sustainable funding sources. 
We also know that by providing this support with your help we are producing results. 

In 2009, 1,475 young adults aged out of foster care in Florida.  Based on recent statistics, less than 50% will earn a high school diploma before they turn 22, more than half will experience homelessness and only 30% will be gainfully employed.  Currently more than 90% of our 132 active participants are enrolled in school or gainfully employed.  Nationally less than 3% of former foster youth ever obtain a college degree.  There are currently 88 Educate Tomorrow participants who are now over 23 years old.  Of those, 44% have a college degree or certification and 94% have their high school diploma or GED.

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