decorative banner image

492 Students Benefitted from Fostering Independence Grant in First Year



New data shows that 492 Minnesotans benefited from the state’s Fostering Independence Grant (FIG) during the 2022-23 academic year, the program’s first year of implementation. The grant is the first of its kind for Minnesota, with the goal of paying the full cost of attendance for students including tuition, fees, and living expenses such as housing and transportation. The average award was $8,639.

“This grant removes financial barriers to higher education, ensuring every Minnesota foster has the opportunity to attend one of our state’s great colleges or universities," Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) Commissioner Dennis Olson said. “It is exciting to see so many Minnesotans taking advantage of this grant. To any member of Minnesota’s foster community contemplating college: the Fostering Independence Grant is here to help you achieve your career goals; all you have to do is enroll.”

FIG is made possible through an ongoing $3.8 million investment by Governor Walz and the Minnesota Legislature during the 2021 session. Due to interest in the program, an additional $750,000 was transferred from the Minnesota State Grant program to ensure all eligible students received the grant.

Of the 492 students awarded the grant during the 2022-23 academic year (Note: 8 students are double counted in this data as they were awarded the grant on one campus and then transferred to another during the academic year):

  • 327 recipients enrolled at a Minnesota State 2-year college,
  • 87 recipients enrolled at a Minnesota State 4-year university,
  • 23 recipients enrolled at a University of Minnesota campus,
  • 14 recipients enrolled at a private 2-year college, and
  • 49 recipients enrolled at a private 4-year university.

A closer look at the data, also shows that students from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in postsecondary education were 52% of FIG recipients. Additionally, 92% of FIG recipients reported an annual income of less than $30,000 a year.

While graduation rate data for FIG recipients is not currently available, OHE has verified that as of December 2023, 72% of the 492 students who received FIG awards in 2022-2023 have completed financial aid applications for the 2023-2024 award cycle.

Read the full Fostering Independence Higher Education Grants Annual Report on the OHE website.

About the Fostering Independence Grant

Fostering Independence Grants are available to students attending a participating Minnesota public, private, or Tribal college (see a list of all participating higher education institutions online), who are aged 27 or younger, and have been in the Minnesota foster care system at any point after their thirteenth birthday. Created as a “last dollar” financial aid program, FIG funds cover the remaining cost of attendance after all other applicable state and federal grants are applied.

To ensure success for implementation, OHE partnered with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) on outreach to foster students. If a person self-identified as someone who has been in the foster care system, OHE and DHS confirmed their eligibility based on foster care records and then proactively notified the schools listed on the student’s FAFSA or DREAM Act form, ensuring the school could factor FIG into the student’s financial aid package. For those who self-identified and were eligible but did not indicate they planned to attend a participating Minnesota college, OHE reached out to let the student know about the grant and provided the list of participating schools, allowing each student to make an informed decision.

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view.

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader