Every year, billions of dollars in federal and state financial aid go unused because eligible students do not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). With education a key driver toward financial stability in adulthood, and receipt of financial aid crucial to enrolling and persisting in college for youth from low-income backgrounds, foster youth need and deserve maximum access to financial aid.

In response to this, in 2017, John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY), in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), launched the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge to increase rates of FAFSA completion among foster youth.

This publication outlines the best practices undertaken as part of this effort in order to inform FAFSA completion efforts in the years to come.