Financial Aid Resources
Financial aid will help you pay for college.
There are many different types of financial aid that can help you pay for college, such as grants, loans, and federal work-study. A grant is sometimes called “gift aid” because it does not have to be repaid. Both the federal and state government provide grants that foster youth qualify for, such as the Pell grant and the Chafee grant. Loans do have to be repaid, though student loans obtained from the federal government usually offer better interest rates and repayment options than do loans offered by private banks. Federal work-study is a program where you work part-time on your college campus, earning money that you can use toward your college and personal expenses.
How do you apply?
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
This is your starting point for all financial aid. It’s an easy online application and it’s completely free! You can apply starting October 1st of each year, beginning with your senior year in high school. To maximize your financial aid, you should submit your FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 2nd. Missed the priority deadline? Get your application in as soon as possible, but no later than June 30th of the academic year you are applying.
Complete the California Dream Act Application
Undocumented immigrant students should complete this application instead of the FAFSA. Like FAFSA, the California Dream Act application is available beginning October 1st of each year. You should submit your application no later than March 2nd.
Tip: Answer YES to question #53 on the FAFSA!
Q #53: “At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?” If you can answer yes, then you are considered “independent” for the purposes of the FAFSA and don’t have to fill out any parental or guardian information! Your financial aid office may ask for verification of your foster youth status, so remember to check your email!
Apply for a California Chafee Grant
If you were in a foster care between the ages of 16-18 and are 22 years old or younger, you should also complete the California Chafee Grant application. It’s recommended that you apply by March 2nd, but you can still apply after this deadline. You may qualify for a grant of up to $5,000 per year to help with your college or vocational school expenses. Visit www.chafee.csac.ca.gov to learn more and apply.
Tip: Undocumented immigrant students still qualify for Chafee!
Simply download the paper application and use your California Dream Act Application ID# (instead of a social security number) to apply.
Submit your Cal Grant GPA Verification
High school seniors should follow up with their high school counselor to ensure they complete the GPA verification form, which is used to determined Cal Grant eligibility. To learn more about Cal Grants, visit the California Student Aid Commission website at: www.csac.ca.gov
Create a WebGrants account to check your Cal Grant and Chafee Grant status!
With a free WebGrants account, you can see your GPA verification status, the status of each application, when payments go out, make any corrections you need to make in your address and/or contact information, and/or change your college. Set up your free account at mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov.
Tip: Need help applying for and understanding financial aid? Check out the Financial Aid Guide for CA Foster Youth or this complimentary Step-by-Step Visual Guide to Completing the FAFSA.
California College Promise Grant – formerly the CCC Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver
Attending community college? Through the California College Promise, your local community college can waive your course enrollment fees. This won’t take care of costs like your health fee, textbooks, transit, or housing so make sure you complete your FAFSA or CA DREAM Act Application as well.
California Community Colleges “I Can Afford College”
Want to learn more about financial aid? This website provides additional information and also lets you search upcoming community college events where you can get answers to all of your financial aid questions. All events are free and open to the public!
L.A. Cash for College
Win a $1,000 scholarship! You could get free assistance with your financial aid applications and also win a $1,000 college scholarship. Each year, L.A. Cash for College offers dozens of free events all across L.A. County.
L.A. County Foster Youth Scholarships
Want even more free money? Check out this list of private scholarships just for L.A. County foster youth!