Independent Living Program
Post-Secondary Education & Training
Community Resource Persons help ensure South Dakota youth preparing to leave or who have left foster care (up to the age of 21) have the necessary skills, experiences and support to apply for post-secondary education. Community Resource People provide educational assistance and services to youth in school, provide financial assistance for post-secondary training, research apprenticeship programs for youth who would benefit and increase the number of Native American youth accessing educational services.
Education and Training Vouchers (ETV)
The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program provides funding to assist South Dakota foster youth with continued education and training after high school or a GED certificate.
ETV funds are financial assistance that can aid you in reaching your goals and successful independence through education and training. If eligible, a youth in foster care could receive up to $5,000 a year to attend college or vocational school or to learn a trade.
ETV funds can be used to help pay for:
- Tuition and Fees
- Books and Supplies
- Room and Board
- Tools and Uniforms
- Parking Permits
- Meal Plans
- Transportation Costs
- Employment-Related Necessities
- Child Care
Current and former foster youth eligible for Independent Living Program services are eligible for ETV funds. A youth in foster care must have a financial need in order to receiving funding.
To receive ETV funds:
- You must have a high school diploma, GED Certificate of Completion, or equivalent.
- You must be enrolled in or accepted to a post-secondary or vocational school program.
- If youth are applying for a second time around, they must be making satisfactory progress (minimum of 2.0 grade point average) and provide a copy of a transcript verifying their GPA in order to receive continuing assistance. If youth are attending a program which does not use grades to document progress, the youth must provide a letter from the program verifying that the youth is making satisfactory progress in the program.
- A foster youth must have been adopted at age 16 or older or were in an out-of-home placement and left foster care at age 18 or older.
To apply for ETV funds, you must complete an application. When applying, all your school and training expenses are considered.
You must also submit the following:
- A one-page essay describing your qualifications for a scholarship based on academic performance, financial need, and your plan for education.
- A copy of your acceptance letter from the college or vocational school.
- A cover letter from your Family Services Specialist or adoptive parent.
- Stanford Achievement Test (SAT), American Collegiate Test (ACT), or Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) test scores as required by the school.
- A copy of Free Application for Student Financial Assistance (FAFSA), if appropriate.
- “Cost of Attendance” completed and signed by the financial aid officer.
If approved for funding, you must re-apply every semester. You are required to submit the following:
- A transcript of prior semester’s grades.
- At least a 2.0 grade point average.
- A letter describing how the money was used and why you need financial assistance to continue.
For more information on ETV funds, contact your nearest Community Resource Person or the Department of Social Services' Division of Child Protection Services at (605) 773-3227.
The following scholarships are available to youth in foster care:
- WIA Scholarship - Youth who have been under the care and supervision of the Department of Social Services can apply for a $3,000 scholarship available through the Department of Labor (WIA) for attending state vocational technical schools.
- Orphan Foundation Scholarships - The Community Resource People have information regarding the application process for the Orphan Foundation of America funding.
- For more information on these scholarships, contact your nearest Community Resource Person.