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FINANCIAL AID. Tips for Foster Youth. What Is Financial Aid?. Money available for you to use to pay for tuition, books, health or lab fees and other expenses. There are many different types of financial aid. Some money needs to be repaid while some money does not.

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what is financial aid
What Is Financial Aid?
  • Money available for you to use to pay for tuition, books, health or lab fees and other expenses.
  • There are many different types of financial aid. Some money needs to be repaid while some money does not.
  • Financial aid is individual. It should be personalized to meet a student’s wants and needs.
where does it come from what is it based on
Where does it come from? What is it based on?
  • Financial Aid can come from:
    • Federal government
    • States
    • Institutions / schools
    • Private donors or organizations
  • Financial Aid can be based on:
    • Financial need
    • Grades
    • Class standing
    • Other factors such as race, major or affiliations
first things first fill out a fafsa
First things first…Fill out a FAFSA!
  • What is the FAFSA?
    • Free Application For Federal Student Aid
    • This form opens the door for all forms of financial aid
  • Where can I get a FAFSA?
    • Online at
    • You can also visit your college’s financial aid office or your high school guidance counselor
need help filling out a fafsa
Need Help Filling Out A FAFSA?
  • Call the federal government at 1-800-4FED-AID, it’s FREE!
  • Attend a FREE California Cash for College workshop near you. Workshops are held across California during January and February of each year. To find a workshop, visit
  • Ask your ILP Coordinator or CSW / PO / CASA
  • Ask your high school counselor or financial aid officer at the college you’re planning to attend
  • Grants are a form of financial aid that doesn’t have to be paid back
  • Pell Grants are need based grants to low income undergraduates; average awards are around $2,466 and can be used at more than 5,400 participating schools
  • Chafee Grants award up to $5,000 a year for college or career/technical training; must be a current or former foster youth and younger than 22 as of July 1 of the award year
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants for low-income students with exceptional financial need. Not all schools participate.
  • Scholarships are a form of aid that is based upon specific qualifications, talents, or merit, often without regard to financial need.
  • Almost every college campus, at every level, provides their own specific scholarships.
  • Some scholarships are awarded by public and private organizations or individual donors.
  • United Friends of the Children (UFC) offers scholarships and support for youth transitioning out of foster care or probation.
federally guaranteed student loans
Federally-Guaranteed Student Loans
  • Loans for financing your education are available from a variety of programs, including:
    • Subsidized Stafford Loans – available to students who meet financial requirements and are attending school at least part time. The government pays the interest from the time you get the loan money until up to six months after you leave school.
    • Unsubsidized Stafford Loans – available to any student regardless of financial need, but the student pays the interest while in school, and after leaving college.
    • Perkins Loans –administered by colleges and are for students with exceptional financial need.
work study
  • Work-study programs allow you to earn money to pay for your education through part-time jobs.
  • You should check off the work study box on your FAFSA.

Note that these opportunities are harder to secure in community colleges and at CSU’s because of the number of students attending with financial hardship.

extended opportunities programs and services eops
Extended Opportunities Programs and Services (EOPS)
  • EOPS is a California State funded program established to recruit, enroll and retain students.
  • EOPS is designed to assist students who are identified as economically and educationally disadvantaged.
  • Eligible students are provided with a wide range of support services such as grants and book loans; educational, personal, and career counseling; personal development courses; college survival skills; cultural awareness activities; career workshops; and field trips to four year colleges and universities.
trio student support services program
Trio/Student Support Services Program
  • TRIO is a federally funded program designed to assist students transferring to a four-year college or university.
  • Eligibility is based on low income, first generation or disabled college students with academic need. Students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • TRIO provides academic career and personal counseling, cash grants, tutoring, skills/information workshops, priority registration, cultural activities, field trips, computer lab usage, and laptop loaning.
california community colleges
California Community Colleges
  • The Board of Governors Enrollment Fee Waiver (BOGW) Program - waives enrollment fees for qualified students for the entire school year. Students may receive a waiver for any number of units, with no minimum if they have financial need and meet certain income requirements.
  • You can find the BOGW application in your schedule of classes or ask the financial aid office at your community college.
  • Answer “Yes” on question #4 “Are (a) both your parents deceased, or(b) are you (or were you until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court?”
cal grants
Cal Grants
  • Cal Grants are funded by the State of California and are administered by the California Student Aid Commission. There are both competitive and needs-based grants available.
  • Cal Grant A – CSU/UC schools $2,772 - $6,636; private colleges up to $9,708 toward tuition and fees. Student must be working toward an Associates or Bachelors degree.
  • Cal Grant B - awards low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,551 for books and living expenses.
  • Cal Grant C - helps pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career colleges. This $576 award is for books, tools and equipment. You may also receive up to an additional $2,592 for tuition at a school other than a California Community College.
watch out for predatory lenders
Watch Out for Predatory Lenders!
  • Beware of “private” loan lenders. There are many private lenders who work like credit card companies – giving you money you will have to pay back with a high interest rate and none of the safety features or protections of a federally guaranteed student loan.
  • 3 signs that you’re dealing with a “predatory lender”?
    • You don’t have to fill out a FAFSA. Remember, you’re closing the door on lots of other money
    • A lender is willing to offer you a huge sum of money (often between $40,000-$250,000)
    • Money goes directly to you and not your school
  • Scholarship scams are everywhere. Beware of any group or individual that guarantees a scholarship if you pay a fee.
  • There are many very good, FREE scholarship sources to help you avoid scams—check out or
tips for foster youth completing the fafsa
Tips for Foster Youth Completing the FAFSA
  • If you were a ward of the court up to age 18, you are automatically an “independent” student.
  • Even if foster parents, grandparents, aunts, etc. get TANF/welfare benefits for you, this is NOT your income.
  • Legal guardians and foster parents are NOT considered parents when completing the FAFSA.
  • What is a “ward of the court”? This term is used for both foster and probation youth. It means the court (state or county) has custody of you.
  • I see my parents occasionally, do I need them to sign my form? NO, parent’s signatures and tax records are NOT needed when you are a ward of the court through age 18.
independent status
Independent Status
  • Currently, an undergraduate student is considered independent in certain circumstances only. However, being an orphan or ward/dependent of the court until age 18 is an automatic qualifier.
  • Effective July 1, 2009, the following will be considered “Independent” students:
    • Youth in care or adopted any time after their 13th birthday
    • Youth in legal guardianship
    • Homeless youth
is college worth the price
Is College Worth the Price?

YES!!! Look at these salaries in comparison:

  • 9th-12th grade, no diploma $22,138
  • High school diploma or equivalent $31,683
  • Associate degree $39,601
  • Bachelor's degree $53,693
  • Graduate or Professional degree $71,918

Source: U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2005

making college your reality
Making College Your Reality
  • Talk to peopleyou trust about what type of school might work best for you. They can also help you with tips about how to juggle school, work, and other responsibilities.
  • Decide what kind of college community you want — big city, suburb, small town – and whether you want to be close to home or try someplace new.
  • You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do before going to college! But think about what your interests are and what your ambitions might be so you can make sure they are available at the schools you choose.
  • Remember that there is no one right choice. There are many options, so look around and decide which schools seem best for you.
making college your reality1
Making College Your Reality
  • Check out Internet resources on higher education, financial aid and career prospects.
  • Find some people who are currently attending, or who have graduated from, the kind of program you are considering so you can talk to them about their experiences.
  • Ask the Admissions Office to help you find the “special services” office for students with special needs. As someone who has been in foster care, you are entitled to these services. Your social worker should also contact the Admissions Office to see if they will waive the application fee, given your circumstances.
making college your reality2
Making College Your Reality
  • Don’t choose which schools to apply to based on cost. Harvard, Stanford and others actually offer FREE tuition to students in need.
  • If a school wants you, they’ll help you create a financial aid package that gets you in.
  • Remember, you can appeal to your school to remain in the dorms during vacations/breaks.
helpful websites for college financial planning
Helpful Websites for College Financial Planning