Good News for Mississippi’s Current & Former Foster Children
There’s good news for the future of current or former foster children in Mississippi. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has signed “HB 1313”, which creates the “State RepresentativeBill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope or (FAITH) Scholarship Program.”
Starting in the 2023/2024 school year, college-eligible foster children will receive aid in the amount of the full cost of attendance to any state post-secondary institution of higher learning.
This program will remain active for the next several years, helping 125 foster children annually, for a maximum of 900.
With less than 3 percent of foster youth ever attending college, and less than half graduating high school nationwide, this program is an absolute must. Hopefully, it instills hope to every child within the Mississippi foster care system. Hope, that they too can attend college like the rest of their peers. And they can do this, while not having to worry about how to find the money and resources to do so.
In an economy where bachelor’s degree holder's earnings are 84 percent higher than someone with only a high school diploma, this program is vital for our foster youth's future and financial success.
We are hoping that the FAITH Scholarship will give youth more inspiration to pursue their post-secondary education and allow them a brighter future.
HB 1313: AN ACT TO CREATE THE "STATE REPRESENTATIVE BILL KINKADE FOSTERING ACCESS AND INSPIRING TRUE HOPE (FAITH) SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM," FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING FUNDS FOR CERTAIN YOUTH TO ATTEND APPROVED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS; TO AUTHORIZE THE AWARD OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO ANY PERSON WHO WAS PLACED EITHER IN THE LEGAL CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES (MDCPS) OR AT A QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE AGENCY AT ANY TIME ON OR AFTER THE PERSON'S 13TH BIRTHDAY; TO FURTHER AUTHORIZE THE AWARD OF SCHOLARSHIPS TO ANY PERSON WHO WAS ADOPTED FROM MDCPS'S CUSTODY OR WHILE RESIDING AT A QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE AGENCY AT ANY TIME ON OR AFTER THE PERSON'S 13TH BIRTHDAY; TO FURTHER PROVIDE THAT KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS MUST BE YOUNGER THAN THE AGE OF 25; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MISSISSIPPI POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BOARD SHALL ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM; TO PRESCRIBE INITIAL AND CONTINUING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR RECEIVING A KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARSHIP; TO ADDRESS SUMMER AND HOLIDAY ROOM AND BOARD ACCOMMODATIONS FOR KINKADE FAITH SCHOLARS AT APPROVED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS; TO ESTABLISH THE STATE REPRESENTATIVE BILL KINKADE FOSTERING ACCESS AND INSPIRING TRUE HOPE (FAITH) SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM SPECIAL FUND; TO AMEND SECTION 93-19-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE PERSONS 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER TO ENTER LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACTS FOR THE LEASE OF REAL PROPERTY AND ASSOCIATED UTILITIES; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-261, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE LIMITED DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS INVOLVING CHILDREN BY MDCPS TO STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BOARDS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
You can read more about HB 1313 here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2022/pdf/HB/1300-1399/HB1313SG.pdf