Governor Bentley Holds Ceremonial Bill Signing for Fostering Hope Scholarship Act
MONTGOMERY — Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday held a ceremonial bill signing for Alabama’s Fostering Hope Scholarship Act, which will offer people currently or formerly in Alabama’s foster care program the opportunity to receive a college education. There are approximately 5,000 children in Alabama’s foster care system, and the scholarship program could help provide scholarships to hundreds of people a year.
“Fostering Hope Scholarships will provide foster children the opportunity for a better future by attending any two- year, four-year or technical institution in Alabama,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “We owe it to our children to give them every possible opportunity for a successful life, and this bill helps those in the foster care system prepare for success. I commend the Legislature, specifically bill sponsors Senator Dick Brewbaker and Representative Paul Lee, for passing this important bill.”
Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, Senate Bill 157 will, contingent on funding, provide eligible participants with:
Tuition and required fees at any public two-year or four-year institution of higher education in the state of Alabama, or
Payment for required fees for state-provided job training courses or skill certifications.
A mentor service administered by the Department of Human Resources as a support system for participants in the scholarship program
SB 157 was sponsored by State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R-Pike Road) and State Representative Paul Lee (R-Dothan).
“The Fostering Hope Scholarship Act gives foster kids a real opportunity at the American dream,” Senator Dick Brewbaker said. “The bill levels the playing field for kids who have been dealt a tough hand at a very young age. I was proud to sponsor this legislation in the Senate and believe it will have a dramatic and positive impact on foster children in Alabama.”
“Every child in Alabama deserves access to a quality education and a chance at a bright future, and this bill gives our foster children the opportunity to pursue those options,” Representative Lee said. “I’m proud to be able to sponsor this important legislation that could be life-changing for these children.”
The Alabama Department of Human Resources will develop and administer the scholarship program. Funding will depend on the Legislature and Governor. In the 2015 Regular Session, lawmakers and Governor Bentley set aside $3 million for the program when they passed and signed into law Senate Bill 182, a supplemental appropriation bill by State Senator Trip Pittman, R-Montrose.
“I commend Governor Bentley, Senator Brewbaker, Representative Lee and all legislators who helped to pass the Fostering Hope Scholarship Act,” DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said. “This legislation will provide hope for a better future to those in our foster care system. It is very important to our older youth in foster care, and it is my hope that it will help encourage families who are considering adopting older youth to do so.”
Governor Bentley signed SB157 into law on May 5, 2015
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