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Foster Youth College Success Initiative

What is it?

Thank you for your interest in the Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI). The Foster Youth College Success Initiative (FYCSI) is a program established specifically for students who have experienced foster care or are eligible orphans. FYCSI funding can be used towards supporting the cost of attending college, including housing and meals.


Am I Eligible?

Any student who is currently a resident of New York State and spent time in foster care at any time after their 13th birthday, or is an orphan, is eligible for funding.  Documentation confirming eligibility will be required by your school.

Where Can This Funding Be Used?

These particular FYCSI funds may be used by eligible students who are matriculated at a State University of New York (SUNY) college or university. (Of note, students who are enrolled via an Opportunity Program, such as EOP, are eligible to receive FYCSI funds, but should contact their EOP Director for details.) Funds will be directed to the respective campus financial aid office.

Student Eligibility for Participation in the Foster Youth College Success Initiative Program

  • MUST be a NYS resident and enrolled in a SUNY college or university; AND
  • Students MUST meet the federal Higher Education Act definition of a foster youth or orphan; 
  • Federal definition of a foster youth: student who is currently in foster care or was in foster care at some point after their 13th birthday. This includes:
    • Students adopted from foster care after their 13th birthday;
    • Students living with a relative or kin under a kinship foster care agreement;
    • Students who have aged out of foster care; and
    • Students that were in foster care in another state, but meet the opportunity program residency requirements (a NY resident for at least 1 year or received a high school diploma in NY)

Eligibility for other groups:

  • Orphans – Only eligible if both parents are deceased and the student was NOT adopted prior to age 13
  • Guardianship – Not eligible; if the student is living with another family member, kin, or friend under a documented guardianship agreement or informal guardianship agreement without foster care history or documented orphan status after 13th birthday
  • Unaccompanied / Homeless students – Not eligible; A student that is homeless but DOES NOT have foster care experience after the age of 13 is NOT eligible, unless the student’s parents are deceased after their 13th birthday.  (A student whose parents (both) are deceased after their 13th birthday, and then subsequently go into a legal guardianship agreement, is ELIGIBLE.)

If you believe you meet these criteria and are eligible for FYCSI consideration, please email us at with your First Name, Last Name, eligibility criterion (Foster Youth or eligible Orphan), email address and phone number so we can contact you for the additional information that will be needed.  Documentation confirming eligibility will be required by your school.

Contact Information

New York State Education Department
Office of Postsecondary Access, Support, and Success
Foster Youth College Success Initiative
89 Washington Avenue, EBA 960
Albany, New York 12234
(518) 474-3719