Independent Living

Postsecondary Education Services and Support (PESS)

PESS is a state program for eligible former foster youth to receive the skills, education, and support necessary to become self-sufficient and have lifelong connections to supportive adults. Depending on certain statutory conditions, eligible youth may receive a monthly financial payment of $1,256; this may include applicable Education and Training Voucher (ETV) funding. The financial award is to secure housing, utilities, and assist with cost of living while attending a Florida Bright Futures-eligible postsecondary educational institution.

You may be eligible for PESS if:

You turned 18 while in the legal custody of the Department and who you have spent a total of at least six months in licensed out-of-home care before turning 18.

OR

You are at least 18 and you were adopted after the age of 16 from foster care or placed with a court-approved dependency guardian after spending at least 6 months in licensed care within the 12 months immediately preceding such  your placement or adoption.

AND

You have earned a standard high school diploma, or its equivalent.

AND

You are attending a college or vocational school that is Florida Bright Futures eligible.

If the school you are attending is NOT a Florida Bright Futures-eligible School, you are NOT eligible for PESS; however, you may be eligible to receive ETV funding. ETV is a federal grant provided to states to help fund eligible former foster youth who are enrolled in postsecondary programs.  There are specific eligibility requirements for funding and states have some discretion to limit or expand eligibility.  Florida has determined that funding may be provided to youth who have reached 18 years of age but are not yet 23 years of age.  The initial application for these funds must be received before the young adult’s 21st birthday.  ETV grant funds are limited; therefore, financial assistance will be administered on a first come, first served basis.

This program is available until you reach your 23rd birthday.

For More Information

For questions regarding eligibility visit: