FAFSA/CADAA Challenge for Students Experiencing Homelessness Policies and Tools

Last Updated Sep 29, 2022

The California FAFSA/CADAA Challenge for Students Experiencing Homelessness, led by JBAY in partnership with SchoolHouse Connection, the California Department of Education (CDE), and the California Student Aid Commission, is a statewide campaign to increase the number of homeless students who are prepared for success as they matriculate from high school into college by ensuring that they are accessing financial aid.

Below are select resources designed for homeless education liaisons related to the FAFSA/CADAA Challenge.

2023-2024 FAFSA/CADAA Challenge Policies and Procedures This document outlines the policies and procedures associated with the FAFSA/CADAA Challenge for Students Experiencing Homelessness, including important deadlines and methods to identify high school seniors experiencing homelessness and track FAFSA/CADAA completion.

FAFSA/CADAA Challenge Internal Tracking Sheet This Excel document is a tool to assist homeless education liaisons in tracking high school seniors experiencing homelessness as they enter and exit their county, district, or high school over the course of the academic year. It also assists with tracking FAFSA/CADAA completion and reporting accurate completion data as part of the FAFSA/CADAA Challenge.

Instructions for Verifying FAFSA/CADAA Completion – FAFSA and CADAA completion is tracked through WebGrants, a database managed by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). Homeless education liaisons can choose between two methods to verify FAFSA/CADAA completion using WebGrants.

  1. The first requires a log-in credential to access WebGrants for Institutions. Instructions for requesting a log-in credential and verifying FAFSA/CADAA completion via WebGrants for Institutions can be found here.

  2. The second option utilizes a secure file transfer system that is connected but external to the WebGrants database and does not require a log-in credential. This option allows homeless education liaisons to upload a spreadsheet of their high school seniors experiencing homelessness and download a data-matched spreadsheet indicating which students have submitted a FAFSA or CADAA. Additional instructions on using the secure file transfer system can be found here and in the video tutorials below.

Homeless education liaisons can contact Pavani Maddikunta at CSAC via e-mail at to set up the secure file transfer system.

Video tutorial: How to Configure WinSCP for initial setup

Video tutorial: How to Upload a File using WinSCP to verify FAFSA/CADAA completion

How to Interpret the WinSCP FAFSA/CADAA Data Match

The instructions in this document are for County Offices of Education and Local Education Agencies that utilize the WinSCP secure file transfer system to verify financial aid application completion for foster and homeless students. The examples are intended to help users interpret the data match from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), troubleshoot issues, and ensure that students have successfully completed their applications.