Posted: 11/09/17

Higher Education Possible with Tuition Waiver for Foster Students at TAMIU



While some college students may not realize this, Texas law allows a tuition and fee waiver exemption for students currently or previously in foster care under the state.

Gina González, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) associate vice president for Student Success and Foster Care liaison, explained that a student who is or was in foster care is exempt from the payment of tuition and fees if they meet necessary criteria.

“A student is exempt from the payment of tuition and fees, including tuition and fees charged by an institution of higher education for a dual credit course or other course for which a high school student may earn joint high school and college credit, if they meet specific criteria,” she explained.

Key criteria focus on the student’s conservatorship under the Department of Family and Protective Services: 

A. on the day preceding the student's 18th birthday;

B.  on or after the day of the student's 14th birthday, if the student was also eligible for adoption on or after that day; or

C.  on the day the student graduated from high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma; or     

D.   the date permanent managing conservatorship of the student is awarded to a person other than the student’s parent, if that date is on or after September 1, 2009.


In order to be considered for the program, the student must be accepted and enroll in an institution of higher education as an undergraduate student or in a dual credit course or other course not later than his or her 25th birthday.

A full list of eligibility requirements, eligible institutions, award amount, and application process is here:


González serves as TAMIU’s Foster Care liaison, assisting students who wish to qualify for a tuition waiver under this law.

“I believe that some students might not be aware that this exemption is available,” González said, “Likewise, some foster students, like other students, might not be thinking about pursuing higher education. We are here to let them know that higher education is not beyond their reach.”

Earlier this year, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp highlighted the important work the System is undertaking to support students who are currently or were formerly in foster care.

“I am pleased to report that much good work has since been done and significant strides continue to be made on behalf of these members of our community in collaboration with partners in the Legislature, the Supreme Court and the Governor’s Office,” he said.

Sharp continued, “Our efforts have established our System as a leader in this important area. I was particularly gratified to learn that our recent work was recognized by the leadership of the Education Reach for Texas Conference, which was held in June on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce.”

This week, Foster Care liaisons from across the System, including TAMIU, met at Texas A&M University-Commerce to participate in the annual Preparing for Adult Living Conference, devoted to supporting foster and former foster students who are still in high school.

In October, a Student Success for Foster Students Symposium was also held at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, for foster liaisons to join, share and learn from each other.

“We encourage all potential students seeking this exemption to visit the information link or contact our offices for additional information,” González concluded.

For more information, please contact González at 956.326.2206, email gina@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, room 226.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.