FAFSA Quick Tips For Youth in FOSTER Care

Have questions about completing your FAFSA by the deadline March 2nd? Here are some suggestions that may help!

The Application https://fafsa.ed.gov

  • You must have an email address to complete the process. This is the perfect time to establish a professional email address. Make sure you check your inbox (and spam folder) regularly.
  • Keep your FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID#, username, and password in a safe, easily accessible place.
  • Make sure you enter your name exactly as it appears on your social security card; and be sure to know your social security card number.
  • The home address you enter does not have to be the address of your guardian or foster family. It must be an address where you can reliably receive your mail. This includes a friend, mentor, or PO Box address (as long as you have their permission).
  • (Question 24-25) Use the highest education level of your biological parents, even if they are no longer alive. Do not use education information from your foster parents, grandparents, guardians, or anyone else you may be living with.
  • (Question 31) Answer "yes" so that you can see what work-study may be available. If you change your mind later, you can refuse work-study aid.
  • (Questions 53-58) These questions determine whether you are an independent student. If you are in foster care, have a legal guardian, or live with relatives, you will answer yes to one or more of these questions. This includes those asking if you are "at risk of homelessness". Once you answer these questions you will skip step 4 , which is the parental financial information. Here's is a link that will help explain: http://fosteringsuccessmichigan.com/library/faqs-about-question-53-on-the-fafsa You may need a document to prove your independent status later on. Examples are: a copy of a court order, a letter from your state, county, or private foster care agency, or statement from your attorney, guardian ad litem, or CASA (court appointed special advocate).
  • (Questions 95-102) Your household size is "1" (yourself), unless you are married or have a child.
  • A parental signature is not required for independent students. There is no need for your foster parent, guardian, or anyone else to sign.

California Financial Aid Info

  • Submit your GPA Verification form for the Cal Grant by March 2nd. The deadline is for Community College students is September 2nd.
  • If you are planning to attend a Community College, file your Board of Governors Fee Waiver. The waivers cover the costs of taking classes. For information about how to apply go to icanaffordcollege.com
  • Apply for the Chafee Grant for current and former foster youth at www.chafee.csac.ca.gov. The grants, for eligible applicants ages 18-23, provide up to $5,000 of tuition or job training assistance. Youth must have been in foster care at or after the age of 16 to be eligible.
  • If you are planning to attend a private independent school, you will likely need to complete the CSS Profile. As a foster youth, the fees should be waived. Check with the colleges you apply to in order to find out if the CSS Profile is required.

Remember, if you have questions, ask for help! Your foster parents, college counselor, mentor, social worker, or other caring adult are all there to support you if you get stuck!

Success in Degrees is a Los Angeles based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides year-round mentoring to current and former foster care youth to support their educational and career pursuits as they transition to an independent and fulfilling adulthood. You can find more information and donate to support Success in Degrees by clicking here. Success in Degrees is a project of Community Partners, a tax-exempt charitable organization qualified under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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