Free College for Eligible Foster Youth

 

Thanks to a legislative effort from Senator Angelique Ashby and Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, the 2023-2024 State Budget includes increased funding that will allow most foster youth to have most of their financial needs met for college through the Middle Class Scholarship (MCS), and the Foster Youth Student Success Completion Grant.

It is also recommended to connect with the campus-based foster youth program at the college you plan to attend, as they offer additional services, supports and grants. For students attending a community college, the program is called NextUp. For students attending a CSU or UC, the name varies by campus.

*For more information on how to find the campus-based foster program for the college that you plan to attend, please see here.*

 

Middle Class Scholarship for Foster Youth

The MCS is a state financial aid program managed by the California Student Aid Commission that provides low- to middle-income undergraduate students, including students pursuing a teaching credential, with a scholarship if they are enrolled in a UC or CSU, or enrolled in a bachelor’s program at a California Community College. Students are awarded for up to four years depending on their educational level when first awarded (or five years for a teaching credential).

  • To qualify, students must be enrolled at least part time, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by March 2nd, be a California resident, and a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or meet the requirements for a non-resident tuition exemption. Students must also meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.
     
  • Individual award amounts are based on the Cost of Attendance (COA) set by each college and vary by college and by student. For independent non-foster youth students, the MCS provides roughly 24% of the remaining unmet need after accounting for other federal, state, and institutionally administered grants, scholarships, and fee waivers and a “self-help” student contribution of $7,898 per year. This means that students will be responsible for $7,898, and then will be eligible to receive an award to cover the remaining gap.

 

*For more information on the changes to the Middle Class Scholarship Program made in SB 117, please see here for an FAQ.*
 

Student Success Completion Grant for Foster Youth

Each California Community College receives funding through this program, which is then distributed by the college to students. The program provides grants to students that are enrolled in 12 or more units, receive the Cal Grant B or C* and are California residents or meet the requirements for a non-resident tuition exemption. Students must also meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. Non-foster students receive $1,298 per semester, or quarterly equivalent, if enrolled in 12-14 units and $4,000 per semester, or quarterly equivalent, if enrolled in 15 units.

  • Each institution must identify eligible students. The Community College Chancellor’s Office is expected to issue guidance to colleges in the coming months. Financial aid offices should collaborate with their campus’ NextUp program and are encouraged to utilize multiple strategies to ensure that all eligible students receive this financial aid. This can include automatically awarding students who otherwise qualify and have verified their eligibility for NextUp, a Chafee grant, a Cal Grant foster youth award, or independent FAFSA/CADAA status as a foster youth.

 

*For more information on the changes to the Student Success Completion Grant made in SB 117, please see here for an FAQ.*