PROJECTEducation and Training Vouchers

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  • About 20,000 young people transition from foster care to independent living each year without the financial support or resources many other young adults receive from their parents or other relatives. These independent young adults face additional barriers and challenges when pursuing postsecondary education opportunities, and most are navigating how to pay for high and rising educational expenses on their own. As a result, these young people’s experiences, needs, and outcomes differ from those of other young adults who have not experienced foster care.

    In 2001, as an amendment to the Chafee Foster Care Independence Act, the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program became the first federal program to assist young adults in or formerly in foster care with their postsecondary education needs. The ETV program provides up to $5,000 per year to young people with foster care experience to help them pay for postsecondary education or training.

    The Urban Institute’s evaluation of the ETV program is the first multistate evaluation of the ETV program using administrative data to examine ETV use and educational outcomes on the total population of eligible young people. This study shows that receiving an ETV is correlated with higher persistence and graduation rates, but more research is needed to fully understand the impact of ETVs.


    Mike Pergamit, principal investigator

    Devlin Hanson, evaluation lead, co-principal investigator

    Laura Packard Tucker, senior research associate

    Shannon Gedo

    Kate Thomas

    Jonah Norwitt

    Zackaria Ali

    We acknowledge the research assistance from our colleagues over the years, including Molly Michie and Ashley Hong.

    For inquiries about this project, contact [email protected].