Fostering Success

At the University of Florida, we care deeply about the success of students formerly in the foster care system and students who were adopted. Below are valuable resources to help support you in your transition to UF and beyond. Foster Youth support is housed in the Office of First-Generation Student Success, located in 155 Tigert Hall.

Transportation

Regional Transit System (RTS)
UF students, faculty and staff may ride RTS public transportation fare-free by presenting a Gator 1 card. RTS offers multiple bus routes on campus with service to every area of the University, as well as routes throughout the City of Gainesville.

SNAP: The Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol
(SNAP) is a free, nightly, campus safety and transportation service for students SNAP operates seven nights a week from 6:30 PM – 3 AM during the Fall and Spring semesters and from 8:30 PM – 3 AM during the Summer semester. You can request a ride by downloading TapRide SNAP app or by calling 352.392.7627.

Megabus
Megabus is a popular city-to-city, express bus company that provides daily departures around Florida.

Red Coach
Red Coach is another bus service that is available for your traveling needs around Florida.

Financial Services

On Campus Employment
To search and apply for on-campus jobs, including all Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Community Service, and OPS positions, go to GatorJobs . Choose “Search Postings.” For “Job Category,” choose “Student.”

Student Financial Affairs and University Bursar.
The University of Florida is unique in that there are two offices that work with finances. Financial Aid is in charge of dispersing money while the bursars office charges accounts.
To process state tuition waivers, contact Maya James, a financial assistance advisor: mjames1@ufl.edu or 352.392.0459.

FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is how the university determines your financial need and how much financial aid you can be awarded. The FAFSA opens October 1st and needs to be received by December 15th. We suggest submitting your FAFSA by December 1st to ensure its timely arrival to the university. The FAFSA is how students become eligible for Pell Grants and other forms of federal and state aid.

Scholarships
AOK Scholars Program
A program to financially assist selected individuals, initially from the foster care system. AOK Scholarships are awarded to young adults who display academic promise and motivation to complete a post-secondary program (two or four-year college or a vocational training program leading to a credential), but require assistance to mitigate barriers related to basic necessities, academics and personal development.

Career Source North Central Florida (CSNCF)
CSNCF works to make sure our community will have a world-class workforce that meets the needs of business and provides opportunities for job seekers today and in the future.
Tuition Waiver
If a youth aged out of foster care or was adopted from foster care they qualify for the state tuition waiver. The tuition waiver covers tuition until the age of 28. The tuition waiver only works at institutions who accept Florida Bright Futures.

Post Educational Services and Support (PESS)
If a student is in college or vocational school full time (9 hrs/ semester) and they were in foster care for at least 6 months after the age of 16 they qualify for PESS which is $1246 per month until the age of 23.

Housing

Residence Life
Residence Life offers a variety of convenient living arrangements designed to give you an incredible on-campus living experience.
Off Campus Life
The office of Off Campus Life offers many resources to aid in your search for off-campus living.

Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF)
SSF helps thousands of students with outstanding academic abilities, good character and financial need realize their dream of a college education through scholarships in the form of rent-free housing to live in a furnished scholarship house adjacent to their college campus.

Gainesville Housing Authority
(GHA) has been committed to advocating and providing affordable housing for eligible individuals and families. GHA works closely with the U.S. Department of HUD, the City and area agencies and organizations to provide services and opportunities, not only to our residents, but to the entire community.

Extended Care
Youth can choose to extend their stay in care up to the age of 21 or 22 if they have a disability.

Aftercare Services
Youth who have aged out may receive aftercare services to assist them find a stable home. This is on a case by case basis. For more information a youth would need to contact their caseworker or Partnership for Strong Families.

Health Care and Disability Services

Disability Resource Center
The Disability Resource Center (DRC) utilizes knowledge and expertise in the fields of disability and higher education to create an inclusive environment for all students.

Student Health Care Center
The Student Health Care Centers (SHCC) mission is to help you remain healthy while you’re at UF with a variety of services available.

GatorWell
GatorWell Health Promotion Services, educates, empowers, and coaches students to make healthy decisions, and provides leadership and advocacy for health-enhancing policy. Be Well. Do Well. GatorWell.

Dental care at the UF College of Dentistry
Dental health care is available through the UF College of Dentistry. Please call (352) 273-7950 / (800) 633-3953 for information about available services and pricing.

Eye care at the UF Department of Ophthalmology
Eye health care is available through the UF Department of Ophthalmology. Please call (352) 273-7080 for information about available services and pricing.

Alachua County Florida Health Department
The Alachua County Health Department offers local access in the public health domain including adult health, female health, family planning, chronic disease (including diabetes), HIV/AIDS and STD, communicable disease control, immunizations, and environmental health.
Medicaid
Youth who are under age 26 may receive Medicaid if they were in foster care under the responsibility of the State and receiving Florida Medicaid when they aged out of foster care. There is no income limit for this program. Students need to make sure to reapply on their own.

Mental Health Resources

Counseling and Wellness Center
The CWC provides a variety of counseling services to assist students in managing any challenges they may be facing while in school.
Meridian
Meridian works to promote the health, recovery, and well-being of those affected by mental illnesses and substance use disorders through prevention, coordinated treatment, and supportive services.

Other Resources

Field and Fork
The Field and Fork Campus Food Program is a collaboration to create awareness about food insecurity and sustainable food practices. The program seeks to not only provide healthy food, but educate Gators on how to make balanced food choices.

Gator Career Closet
It can be challenging for students to always have access to professional clothing, which is often a prerequisite for interviews. The Gator Career Closet is available to all students and is hosted by the Dean of Students Office.

Free Tax Services
The VITA Program offers free tax help to low to moderate-income people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. Certified volunteers (UF Law students) sponsored by the Association for Tax Law and the Levin College of Law receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in Gainesville. For more information please contact Kimberly Thomas at kim.s.thomas@ufl.edu.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
You may be able to qualify for SNAP depending on certain qualifications.

Guardian ad Litem
Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to protect the rights and advocate for the best interests of a child involved in a dependency court proceeding as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment. The volunteer Guardian ad Litem makes independent recommendations to the court by focusing on the needs of each child.

Partnership for Strong Families
PSF’s mission is to enhance the community’s ability to protect and nurture children by building, maintaining and constantly improving a network of family support services.

CDS Family and Behavioral Health Services, Inc.
CDS works to resolve family crisis and deter at-risk behavior exhibited by young adults through counseling, prevention strategies and short-term youth shelter services.

Daniel Kids
Florida’s Independent Living Resource Center opened in 2016. It was created to serve as an information clearinghouse to address all areas of Independent Living in Florida. As a free service, the I.L. Center provides information and referral services to youth, adoptive parents, former foster youth, teachers, mentors and social services professionals. The center also provides bi-annual statewide training opportunities for Independent Living professionals. For more information or help please call or email Florida’s Independent Living Resource Center 1-844-ILYOUTH (844-459-6884).

Keys to Independence
Keys to Independence is an innovative program designed to provide youth in foster care this normal experience by giving them access to drivers education and a driver’s license.