Pennsylvania Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program

Wilkes University is excited to implement and share information on The Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program, which provides a waiver for tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying students who are or were in the foster care system.

The Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program external website allows eligible students who have been served by the foster care system to receive a university education, build a network of support, and reduce financial barriers. In collaboration with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the Pennsylvania departments of Education (PDE), Human Services (DHS), and Labor & Industry (L&I), this program provides tuition waivers at postsecondary institutions, such as Wilkes University, to program participants for up to five academic years or until they reach age 26.

This waiver applies only to charges (from tuition and mandatory fees) that remain after all other gift aid (federal, state, and other scholarships or grants) have been applied to the student’s account. Tuition and mandatory fees do not include room and board charges, books, supplies, parking, or any other indirect charges. 

Program Brochure (.pdf)

To be considered for a FosterEd Waiver, you must:

  • Be a Pennsylvania resident
  • Have not reached the age of 26 by July 1 of the upcoming academic year for which the FosterEd waiver is received
  • Have received a high school diploma or received a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma
  • Be eligible for services under Pennsylvania's John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood
  • Be identified as a youth who is or was in foster care, or was discharged from foster care on or after attaining age 16, OR has exited foster care on or after age 16 to adoption or permanent legal guardianship
  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate, at least half time in a postsecondary institution that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education for Title IV student assistance programs
  • Demonstrate financial need for the PA Chafee Education and Training Grant (as determined by the postsecondary institution)
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (as determined by the postsecondary institution)
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a refund on other Title IV aid
  • Have not received a FosterEd waiver for 5 years (consecutive or not), defined as 10 semesters or the equivalent for undergraduate study
  • File a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) external website
  1. File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA external website).
  2. Be admitted to and enroll in a PA postsecondary institution approved by the U.S. Department of Education for Title IV funding - such as Wilkes University.
  3. You must apply for and be eligible for the Chafee Education and Training Grant (Chafee ETG) at external website. For the 2023-24 academic year, the deadline is Dec. 31, 2023.

Students are not required to be awarded the Chafee Grant to be considered for the Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver.

Students who intend to transfer to a different institution during an academic year should notify PHEAA via email to or by calling 1-800-692-7392.

Students who wish to appeal their eligibility determination can do so by emailing

Contact Us

Amy Terkowski
Assistant Director
Student Financial Services