Federal Grants for Adopted Children

Adopted children have a number of federal grants available to them for higher education and employment assistance, including college and trade programs as well as youth employment opportunities. Many of the federal grants can be accessed locally either directly through a college or from local community or faith organizations. Here are just a few.

Tuition Waiver Program

Awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, tuition waivers are available to adopted children or children in foster homes accepted into undergraduate college programs. This program provides free tuition subsidized by the Department of Health and Human Services 1. The program and grants are managed through participating states and available through the individual colleges. For example, the state of Maine offers 30 waivers per year to adopted children to attend a designated college. The grants fund the full cost of the college program. More qualification information and information about how to apply can be found through a participating college.


The U.S. Department of Labor offers federal grants totaling more than $66 million per year to fund 183 YouthBuild programs across the country 2. The program is offered through various community organizations and local nonprofit housing development agencies. It offers academic, trade and leadership training to children who have been in the juvenile justice system, in foster care and/or adopted, or children who have not completed high school. While not exclusive to adopted children, it is an eight-month program designed to give children the skills and experience they need to find jobs in the construction industry. Graduates from the program also receive their high school diploma or General Educational Development tests (GEDs).

Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides grants for educational assistance to both adopted and biological children of veterans killed or disabled in service 3. The grants are intended for college or university tuition, as well as apprenticeship or on-the-job training programs. Children between the ages 18 and 26 can apply using VA Form 22-5490 obtained from any VA regional office and submitted to the appropriate VA Regional Processing Office. Applications require a military discharge certificate, death certificate or official document with POW status or MIA status and birth certificate(s). Financial assistance can range from full-time payment of $881 to half-time $439 per month for up to a maximum of 45 months.

Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office Washington, DC 20420 202-461-9800