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A program helping foster youth pursue higher education is returning to Delaware

Delaware Legislative Hall
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Legislative Hall

The ASPIRE529 program that helps foster youth pursue higher education is returning for a third year.

The program offers financial assistance to youth in or aging out of the foster care system seeking to go to college.

$529 awards are available to 20 qualified applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. The application process is open until July 8.

Applicants must be under 26 and at least 14 years-old and currently in the Department of Services for Children, Youth & their Families custody or exited out of custody to adoption or guardianship at 16 or older, or aged out of foster care at 18.

Applicants must also be a Delaware resident, U.S. citizen, permanent resident or approved refugee, and an undergraduate student.

State Treasurer Colleen Davis explains the goal of the plan.

"To help pay for any ancillary costs to keep them on their trajectory toward higher education, job training, preparation for life's independence and (to be) successful in a really, from an economic perspective to ensure that they're achieving their own personal professional goals," said Davis.

Before a winner receives the money, they must complete financial literacy coaching from Stand By Me which is a financial coaching program partnership of the state and the United Way of Delaware.

Davis says that’s an important part of the process.

"It's really important that not only are we sending these funds out and ensuring that young people stay on that trajectory, but also that they have the tools to ensure that when life throws different things at them they'll continue to be successful because they'll have the tools to really navigate some of those challenges," said Davis.

More information including an application for the ASPIRE529 program can found on the state treasurer’s website at

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.