Thank you for visiting the College Choice Program, an initiative from NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), in partnership with The New York Foundling.

The College Choice Program supports youth in foster care who are attending college full-time. The program was established in the summer of 2022 with the goal of making significant enhancements to several programs that were already operating under ACS’ College Initiatives: The Fostering College Success Initiative (the “Dorm Project”), Fostering College Success Stipend, and College Room and Board. The purpose of making these changes was to give students more flexibility and options around what types of support they need while attending college, including where they can live.

Please see the Program Summary Sheet for complete program details.

Program Benefits

  • Tutoring, Coaching, and Career Counseling offered through The New York Foundling’s Fostering College Success Initiative (FCSI)
  • Year-round housing costs covered by ACS for you to live:
    • On campus at your college/university, or
    • In a CUNY dorm or private dorm (for students attending schools in NYC or in online classes), or
    • In safe off-campus housing with a private landlord (students attending schools outside of NYC)
  • Tuition costs and related fees covered by ACS, after all eligible financial aid is applied
  • $60/day stipend to cover the cost of food and other college living expenses, which students can receive while in school and for up to 6 months after graduating with a degree

Eligibility Criteria

  • Foster Care Status: Be in foster care through the NYC Administration for Children’s Services at the time you first begin participating in the College Choice Program
  • Full-time Course Load: Be enrolled in at least 12 credits during each of the fall and spring semesters or have the equivalent full-time status at a college/university that isn’t on a semester system.
    • If taking less than 12 credits, submit a formal letter from your college/university advisor that explains why you are attending less than full time and lays out a plan to return to full-time status, or if it is your final semester, noting how many credits you need to graduate.
  • Academic Progress: Maintain a 2.0 cumulate GPA (or the equivalent of your college/university grades on a different scale) after your first semester.
    • If your GPA falls below a 2.0, to maintain eligibility you’re required to work with your college/university advisor to develop and submit an Academic Success Plan that outlines tasks/steps you will take to improve academically
  • Financial Aid: Apply and submit all required documentation for all of the following, by the deadline prior to the start of school year in which you wish to participate in College Choice:
  • College/University Support Programs: Enroll in all college support programs which are offered by your college/ university for which you are eligible. These include ASAP, SEEK, CD, and H/EOP
  • Responsiveness: Respond to any questions, concerns, and document requests from ACS and NYF staff, and Case Planner or Fair Futures Coach, as well as be responsive to any plans that might be put in place by them to help you with school.
  • Degree Type: Be an associate’s degree student, which enables you to participate in the College Choice program for up to a total of nine semesters (including summers), or a bachelor’s degree student, which enables you to participate for up to a total of fifteen semesters (including summers and including any time you spent in the program as an associate’s degree student).

Required Documents

  • All students applying to the College Choice Program are required to provide the following documentation as part of their application each semester.
    • College/university enrollment verification letter (view sample)
    • Bursar bill with financial aid/awards applied (view sample)
    • Up-to-date college transcript (for continuing college students) – view sample
    • Full-time course load for the upcoming semester (view sample)
    • College of attendance academic calendar (view sample)
    • For students living in private off-campus housing, a signed lease with their landlord outlining terms and fees (view sample)
    • For students applying for the 6 months post-graduation stipend, a copy of their final college transcript and diploma are required

If you would like to see a sample documents package, please click here.

Housing Opportunities

Students are responsible for arranging their housing, including making sure any licensing agreements and other paperwork are filed by deadlines set by colleges/universities/private landlords. ACS will cover up to $30,000 in housing costs, after financial aid, during each academic year/three-semester period (fall, spring, summer).

  • Students who attend a school that provides on-campus housing can apply directly through their school
  • Students who attend a school outside of NYC can opt to apply for safe and appropriate private off-campus housing
  • Students who attend school in NYC can an opt to apply for any of the below options. Housing is first come, first served, and coordinated directly through the housing provider. Students must indicate they are a student with ACS College Choice when they apply.
  • The Towers at City College of New York (only for CUNY students)
  • The Summit at Queens College (only for CUNY students)
  • International House (Morningside Heights; for students age 20 and older)
  • 92Y Residence (Upper East Side)
  • Outpost-club Student Housing (Multiple locations through NYC)