Scholarship fund helps students who have been in foster care

With the 2017 tax year coming to a close, the Michigan Department of Treasury is asking Michiganders to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund.

Donations made to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund provide scholarships to young adults who have experienced foster care and are enrolled at a Michigan degree-granting college or university. Awards are paid to the students’ college or university to assist with tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies.

“Approximately 13,000 children are in the Michigan foster care system at any given time,” said Robin Lott, executive director of the Michigan Education Trust. “A growing number of our youth are reaching adult age while in foster care and have no resources to attend college when they age out of the system. This scholarship provides some help with college expenses when no other assistance may be available.”

Since 2012, fundraising efforts have totaled more than $1.1 million. This was done through individual donations, group donations, sponsorships, ticket sales, auctions and many volunteer-based fundraising events.

All of the money raised during the calendar year is distributed annually to scholarship recipients.

To make a charitable donation, complete and submit a MET Charitable Tuition Program Contribution form along with a check for any dollar amount made payable to the State of Michigan Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund. Contributions can also be made online by credit or debit card through the Fostering Futures Scholarship Donation Paysite.

Charitable contribution forms postmarked or made online by Dec. 31 are eligible for a tax deduction in the year they are made.

As for the scholarship itself, the 2018-19 application enrollment period is March 15 through June 30.

Guidelines for eligibility follow:

— Student must have been in Michigan foster care due to abuse/neglect on or after their 13th birthday.

— Student must be attending a Michigan public or private degree-granting four-year college/university or a community college at least half time.

— Student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and demonstrate financial need.

— Student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards as set by the institution.

— Scholarship can only be used for undergraduate students; not available for graduate students.

— Scholarship can also be used for computers (or other electronic devices if the institution has a written statement that the device is required for enrollment).

— This scholarship can be used along with the Education and Training Voucher.

— If the student also has the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), the TIP funds must be used before FFS funds.

— There is no maximum age restriction for the student.

Questions may be directed to Student Scholarships and Grants at mistudentaid@michigan.gov or call toll-free at 1-888-447-2687.

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