Postsecondary Education and College

Upward Bound is a pre-college academic achievement program designed to help students develop the motivation and skills that are required to graduate from high school and successfully complete a college degree. Call (414) 229-6513 or (414) 229-6799 for more information. You must have a 2.0 or higher to be accepted or have potential to succeed in the program. Students are recruited for Upward Bound during their freshman or sophomore year of high school.

Goals of Upward Bound:

  • To improve academic skills by getting tutored and earning money for your progress
  • To teach effective study strategies
  • Explore career choices


Talent Search identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have potential to succeed in higher education. The program focuses on post-secondary dropouts and high school students to help them get a G.E.D. and/ or reenter the education system and complete their education. Call (414)-229-3813 for more information.

Goals of Talent Search: To increase the number of youths from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in the post-secondary education institution of their choice. Students are recruited for UWM Talent Search from the Target Schools during September and applications are accepted on a rolling basis. You must have a 2.0 or higher to be accepted in the program or must show potential to succeed in the program. No fee charged.

Upward Bound Math & Science is academic support pre-college program. The program works with students in the grades 9-12 to help them realize their potential to excel in math and science and encourage them to pursue a post-secondary degree in these fields. You must have a 2.0 or higher. Call (414) 229-4433 or (414) 229-3954 for more information. No fee charged.

Goals of Upward Bound Math & Science:

  • To improve academic skills during the school year
  • Career exploration
  • Assistance with college admissions


Future Success Program is for students to receive information and the academic support services necessary for college admission and completion. You must be enrolled in the 8th-11th grade at time of application and must have a 2.0 or higher to register. In order to be eligible for the DPI Scholarship students will have to eligible for free or reduced lunch. Students are recruited for the future Success Program throughout the school year. The best time to apply is in January. For more information call (414) 229-5940. No fee charged.

The Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program requires participation in your county’s independent living program but is a more flexible funding source. ETV funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, transportation to school, housing, child care, uniforms, or testing fees. To apply, submit a written educational plan and budget to your county independent living coordinator.  See below to find the coordinator in your county and ask them for assistance with ETV funds.

Both the ETV and DCF scholarships can be used at any accredited private or public college or university, technical college, or vocational program in the United States. If you have questions about either scholarship and are located in Milwaukee County, call Lance Jones at Kids Matter, 414-344-1220. If you are from another Wisconsin county, call your county Independent Living Coordinator (click here for a map to find your county or tribal coordinator).

So you have taken the SAT or ACT, sent out your college applications, and have been accepted—now what? You’re probably wondering how to pay for your education. As a current or former foster youth, there is scholarship money available to help you. Everyone who plans to attend college must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Before filing your FAFSA, you will need a FASFA ID, which you can set up here. Once you get your FASFA ID, file your FAFSA at

You can call 1-800-433-3243 for help filling out the online FAFSA forms or to request paper forms. If you are in foster care or have “aged out” of the system, you are considered an “Independent Student” and can skip the “Parental Income Information” section on the FAFSA application. Claiming yourself as independent is very important – it will help you get more financial aid! You will need to obtain a letter from your county (the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services for Milwaukee residents) confirming that you are or will be in court-ordered foster care on your 18th birthday. Your case manager will help you with that.

After filing your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) containing the amount of money the government expects you to contribute. Because you are a foster youth or former foster youth, you will most likely be eligible for financial aid. Note that if you receive grants or scholarships from the government or private sources, you will not have to pay that money back; if you receive loans, you will be required to pay the money back (plus interest) once you graduate or leave school.

Here are some online financial aid and scholarship resources:

Preparing early is the best way to achieve your dreams of going to college. If you’re in middle school, start talking with your school counselors now and develop an education plan. Find out what courses you should take once you are in high school to prepare for college. You might even be able to enroll in pre-college courses right now.

If you’re in high school, meet with your counselor every semester and make sure you’re registering for college-bound courses. Look up college’s websites to find out information about the schools and start making lists of the colleges that you want to apply to. Most colleges allow you to schedule visits or talk with current students. You can also request brochures on the websites.

It will also help if you become involved in activities that interest you, such as clubs or volunteer work. Extracurricular activities are fun and look good on college applications, but don’t go overboard. One or two activities may be enough. The most important thing to concentrate on is your schoolwork. Get the best grades you can and consider tutoring programs offered through your school or in your community.

You can check out books and practice tests from your local library to get ready for the test, and you may want to ask your counselor about taking a class to help you prepare.

If you don’t get the scores you want the first time, you can take the ACT or SAT again, but remember that the tests cost money. You have to pay each time you take them, and you can’t get your money back if you don’t like your scores. Find out from your school guidance counselor if you are eligible for a fee waiver or ask your case manager for assistance with payment.

After you take the ACT or SAT, it’s time to start thinking about which colleges you are interested in. Your counselor can help you come up with a list.

You can generally begin applying to college during the fall of your senior year, but you should start putting together your applications and writing application essays during the summer of your junior year (or earlier). Once your senior year begins, it is a good idea to send in the applications as soon as the schools start accepting them.

It usually costs money to apply to college, but as a foster child you often won’t have to pay if you request a fee waiver from the school and provide documentation that proves you are a foster child (your case manager can provide you with this documentation). Contact each school before you send in your applications and ask about the fee waiver process.

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