Our Work - EDUCATION
FAFSA Completion

Last updated Jun, 16 2022

Receiving all available financial aid is a deciding factor in the success of foster and homeless youth in college.

Given its importance, JBAY works to ensure all foster youth have access to the financial aid to which they are entitled. To access college financial aid, students typically must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). Data show that 90% of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA go on to enroll in college within 12 months as compared to just 45% of high school seniors who do not complete the FAFSA. Foster youth and students experiencing homelessness, however, often do not complete this crucial step, which contributes to low rates of college completion.

“Discovering all the resources available to foster youth through the FAFSA has brought my dream closer to reality for me.”

- Toby, a graduating senior at Palmdale High School in LA County

Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge

JBAY launched the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge in 2017. It is a statewide campaign to increase the number of foster youth who are prepared for college by ensuring that they are accessing financial aid. JBAY provides technical assistance to county-based Foster Youth Services Coordinating Programs (FYSCP), which work with local partners to help youth complete the FAFSA.

Successful completion of the FAFSA or CADAA is the single most important step in ensuring foster youth receive financial aid and subsequently enroll and persist in college, including career and technical education programs provided by California’s 116 community colleges.

Resources

FAFSA Challenge:

For FYSCPs:

Fact Sheet|
Last updated Oct, 17 2021
Tools and Toolkits|
Last updated Oct, 15 2021
Publication|
Last updated Jan, 8 2019

Links

State FAFSA Completion Requirements

In 2020, JBAY successfully advocated for the passage of Senate Bill 860, which requires FYSCPs to coordinate efforts to ensure, to the extent possible, the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) for foster youth in grade 12. It also added financial aid application completion rates to their bi-annual reporting requirement.

Homeless Youth FAFSA Challenge

Based on the success of the Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge, beginning Fall 2021, JBAY is expanding this effort to students experiencing homelessness.