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Augsburg Family Scholars

Augsburg Family Scholars (AFS) is the only college-based program in the state of Minnesota designed to narrow the opportunity gap for students with foster care backgrounds. The program is open to any Augsburg student who has spent time in the U.S. foster care system. Many AFS members are also eligible for Minnesota’s Fostering Independence Higher Education Grant, a state financial aid program that covers tuition, room and board, textbooks, some supplies, and fees at participating institutions, including Augsburg.

Augsburg Family Scholars adds to this foundation by providing comprehensive support that reflects the unique strengths and challenges shared by students with foster care backgrounds. The program is designed to reduce students’ financial vulnerabilities, nurture their academic progress, and build community throughout their college journey.


The Fostering Independence Higher Education Grant is available to students who were in the Minnesota foster care system at any point after their 13th birthday, and who are currently younger than 27.

The Augsburg Family Scholars program is designed to work in tandem with this state-level support, but is open to any new or returning undergraduate student with a foster care background in the U.S. regardless of the age and state in which they were in the system.

Program Benefits

Financial Support

  • Free or partially free housing depending on grant eligibility
  • Gift cards for new students to help outfit their dorm or off-campus housing
  • Basic needs support when school is not in session
  • Access to laptop
  • Support navigating state and local programs for food and medical assistance
  • Financial literacy education
  • Help completing required annual financial aid applications

Academic Support

  • Dedicated faculty mentor
  • Access to the Gage Center for Student Success
  • Support to explore research and graduate school opportunities through Augsburg’s Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunities program, McNair Scholars, and Emerging Leaders Program

Community and Relationship Support

  • Help moving to campus
  • Welcome package for new students – We’ll buy your first Auggie sweatshirt!
  • Invitation to cohort activities like experiential learning opportunities, regular dinners, celebrations of accomplishments and holidays, and off-campus events
  • Peer mentoring
  • Opportunity to participate in the student-led Augsburg Family Scholars Council
  • Dedicated Augsburg Family Scholars lounge space on campus

Learn More and Apply

In addition to applying to Augsburg, to access the Fostering Independence Higher Education Grant, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Minnesota Dream Act application. Both applications include a question about foster care; the Minnesota Department of Human Services will confirm your information. If you are eligible, Augsburg will award the grant as part of your financial aid package.

To learn more about the Augsburg Family Scholars program or recommend a student to participate, complete the online information form.

If you have any financial aid related questions, contact Diamee Xiong Yang in Student Financial Services at