If you have experienced foster care before coming to UMass, you have a welcoming community of peers and staff to help you transition to campus, succeed during your time at UMass, and prepare for a career after graduation. Here are some things that will help you along the way:
Residence Halls close during extended breaks. If you will need housing over Thanksgiving, winter or spring breaks, select “Break Housing” options on your Preference Application. Residential Life staff at 413-545-2100 can help answer questions. Submit your housing preference application on time to ensure you receive a space to live on campus!
If you are enrolled in UMass Amherst Summer Session classes through Continuing and Professional Education or are employed on campus (and enrolled for the coming fall) you may be able eligible for summer housing.
As part of your financial aid package, if you are or have been in foster care or have been a ward of the court, you may be eligible for these grants from the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance:
- The Foster Care Tuition and Fee Assistance program requires documentation from the Mass Department of Children and Families to the Bursar’s Office for processing.
- The Mass Foster Care Grant requires documentation to Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance.
Both grants require that you report your status in your Common Application and FAFSA and be a Massachusetts in-state student.
If you are a student in good standing, the Foster Student Success Fund can help you if you are experiencing unexpected financial hardship, costs associated with transition to college such as Power UP for College Success, career preparation or graduation/commencement, basic needs, and/or unforeseen personal/family emergencies.
All matriculated students taking five or more credits can pay for health insurance available through the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). If you have private health insurance that is accepted at UMass you can waive the cost of SHBP by completing the online waiver process through the link located on the Spire home page. If you have MassHealth or a MassHealth managed care plan you MUST apply for premium assistance program. If approved, MassHealth will cover the cost of the SHBP for you. The application for this program is listed on the Spire home page.
Support to your Student Success
Our goal is to help you succeed academically, personally, and socially. Your CMASS Personal Success Coach can meet with you as often as you like to identify goals, actions steps and connect you to helpful resources. Your academic advisor can help you compare and choose majors, transition between majors, develop an academic plan, and advance to graduation in a timely manner. The Foster Youth Advisory Board is a group of other UMass students who, like you, have experienced foster care. Members meet every month to build friendships and peer support.
Preparing for Your Career
When you’re ready to start preparing for employment opportunities after graduation, Career Bootcamp is a 2-day conference that will help you find internships and full-time positions in your chosen fields.