FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Wards of the state now are eligible for free tuition at schools within the University of Alaska under a program designed to make an easier transition into adulthood for 18-year-olds leaving foster care.
University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton approved the waived tuition proposal submitted by the state Division of Family and Youth Services.
''These youngsters have a great deal to offer to the state, and it's just observable that they've run a tougher obstacle course,'' Hamilton said.
Five full-ride tuition waivers per year have been set aside for eligible candidates, who must commit to full-time college enrollment to qualify. High schools have applications for the waiver.
Family and Youth Services is paying for room and board, a major component of the overall program.
The awards are contingent upon the students spending their first two years in college dormitories, Hamilton said.
''University housing residency helps ensure student success,'' Hamilton said in a letter to Matthew Turner, with the Division of Family and Youth Services. ''Your funding of this portion will go a long way ...''
Anyone in foster care on their 18th birthday and accepted at an institution within the statewide University of Alaska system may apply for the program. It is only for those planning a four-year degree.
Those applying must show financial need and prove they have applied for at least two other scholarships.
A personal essay, letters of recommendation and high school transcripts must accompany the application.
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