H. Tuition Waiver for Foster Children Program
1. Description of Program. Tuition waivers are awarded to individuals who have been in state foster care, state guardianship, or out-of-home placement to reduce the cost of attendance at University System of New Hampshire institutions as described below.
2.1 “Tuition Waiver for Foster Children” program refers to the provisions established in New Hampshire RSA 187-A:20-b, Tuition Waiver for Children in State Foster Care or Guardianship.
2.2 “State foster care” refers to residence in a foster, relative, or group home or residential facility through an open abuse or neglect case after having been placed there by the court at the request of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
2.3 “Foster children” eligible to apply for a tuition waiver are under 23 years of age as of May 1 prior to the academic year for which aid is sought and are or were:
2.3.1 In state foster care for the immediate 6-month period prior to his or her 18th birthday;
2.3.2 In state guardianship or custody at the time of his or her 18th birthday;
2.3.3 Adopted while in state guardianship or adopted from the care, custody, and control of the DHHS following a surrender of parental rights; or
2.3.4 In an out-of-home placement under the supervision of the Division for Juvenile Justice Services of the DHHS at the time of his or her 17th birthday.
2.4 “University System of New Hampshire (USNH)” refers to the state’s public four-year institutions of postsecondary education: Granite State College (GSC), Plymouth State University (PSU), Keene State College (KSC), and the University of New Hampshire (UNH).
2.5 “Eligible program” is a USNH academic program leading to the award of an undergraduate certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree.
2.6 “Full-time student” is an enrolled student carrying 12 to 15 credit hours in each of two semesters (fall and spring) constituting an academic year; or, for a trimester-based academic year, 8 to 10 credits hours in each of three trimesters or a total of 24 to 30 credit hours in total by academic year end.
2.7 “Tuition waiver” is a form of gift aid in the amount of the annual in-state tuition and mandatory fees charged to a full-time New Hampshire resident enrolled at a USNH institution.
2.8 “Gift aid” is financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, or other financial assistance that does not obligate service or monetary repayment.
2.9 “Cost of attendance” is defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 1087ll and generally includes expenses for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board on- or off-campus, books, supplies, and other living expenses as calculated for financial aid packaging.
3.1 An eligible applicant for a tuition waiver must meet the following criteria:
3.1.1 Be an eligible foster child as defined above, with certification of eligibility by the DHHS Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF);
3.1.2 Be a New Hampshire resident for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding registration for the term for which in-state status is claimed and meet all other USNH requirements for establishing New Hampshire residency (domicile) as set forth in USNH Board of Trustees Policy BOT IV.E.6.1;
3.1.3 Have completed the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), met the specified filing deadline of each respective public institution to which they have applied, and be eligible to receive Title IV federal financial aid at the institution; and
3.1.4 Have been accepted as a full-time student in an eligible program at a USNH institution as defined above.
3.2 The tuition waiver applies only to full-time undergraduate enrollment.
4.1 Each applicant for a tuition waiver must complete the Tuition Waiver for Foster Children application form (and signature page) and submit it to DCYF by May 1 prior to the academic year for which aid is sought.
4.2 Upon satisfactory completion of the application and upon satisfaction of waiver eligibility requirements, DCYF will certify that the applicant meets program eligibility requirements.
4.3 Tuition waiver applicants have the option to delay payment of their housing deposit until final waiver awards have been determined.
5. Award of Tuition Waiver
5.1 A maximum of 10 tuition waivers will be awarded by the USNH for each academic year. University System tuition waivers are awarded to the recipient for a full academic year and may not be transferred to other individuals during the year.
5.2 Tuition waiver awardee designations will be determined by DCYF based on eligible applicants’ financial need.
5.3 Preference will be given to applicants most likely to remain enrolled for the full academic year.
5.4 Applicants previously awarded a tuition waiver for the preceding academic year and those who left DCYF placement on or after their 18th birthday will be given priority for awards.
5.5 Changes to award criteria may be implemented by USNH in consultation with DCYF and in compliance with state law.
6. Payment of Tuition Waiver
6.1 The tuition waiver will be awarded by the USNH institution at which the recipient is enrolled and will be applied directly to the student’s financial account before other financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans, is applied.
6.2 The tuition waiver, in combination with all other forms of gift aid, may not exceed the cost of attendance at the student’s institution.
6.3 No more than 30 credit hours of tuition may be waived per academic year.
6.4 Waiver does not apply to supplemental winter or summer coursework at UNH, PSU, or KSC.
7. Renewal of Tuition Waiver
7.1 The tuition waiver will not be renewed automatically. A new application must be completed for each year that a foster child requests to be considered for a tuition waiver. The completed application form (and signature page) must be submitted to DCYF by May 1 prior to the academic year for which aid is sought.
7.2 In addition to meeting the eligibility requirements identified above, individuals seeking to renew a tuition waiver must have, in the preceding academic year, maintained full-time enrollment and demonstrated satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution.
7.3 An eligible waiver recipient at USNH may receive up to six annual tuition waivers commensurate with 150% of the normal length of time required for completion of the certificate or degree being sought, e.g., up to three years for associate degree; six years for bachelor’s.
8. Annual Report
8.1 As directed by statute, DCYF annually will submit a report detailing the status of the program to the Health and Human Services Oversight Committee of the New Hampshire State Senate and the Children and Family Law Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, or their successor committee(s). DCYF annually will provide USNH with a copy of the report.
8.2 To inform the required reporting, USNH annually will provide DCYF with information pertaining to waiver recipient enrollment status or degree completion, as authorized on the waiver application form by the recipient or the recipient’s parent or legal guardian (if the recipient is not 18 years of age or older).