If you are or were in foster care for at least one day, between the ages of 16 and 18 as a dependent or ward of the court and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You don’t have to pay this money back. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.
Chafee Foster Youth Eligibility Requirements
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- Not have reached your 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
- Be a current or former foster youth who was a dependent or ward of the court, living a in out-of-home foster care placement, between the ages of 16 and 18.
- Be a youth who was placed in out-of-home care by a tribe or tribal organization between the ages of 16-18.
Youth who are/were in Kin-GAP, a non-related legal guardianship or were adopted, are eligible only if the youth was a dependent or ward of the court, living in foster care, at some point between the ages of 16 and 18.
In accordance with California Education Code 69519, A student’s receipt of a Chafee grant award shall not exceed five years (whether or not consecutive).
Pursuant to Assembly Bill 2506, starting with the 2017-18 award year, you can only receive your Chafee Grant if you attend a school that is either of the following:
- A qualifying institution that is eligible for participation in the Cal Grant Program.
- An institution that is not located in California with a three-year cohort default rate that is less than 15.5 percent and a graduation rate greater than 30 percent.
Foster Care Eligibility Form
Your foster care placement history need only be verified once. Complete and submit a Foster Care Eligibility Form ONLY when requested by the California Student Aid Commission.
Fax, email, or mail this form to the Chafee ETV contact in the county where you are living now. Click on the button below to obtain the Chafee eligibility form:
If you need assistance or information, contact the Independent Living Program(ILP) for the county where you currently reside, or the California Department of Social Services at CFSChafeeETV@dss.ca.gov.
Click on the box below to locate your ILP Coordinator:
How Do I Apply?
To be considered for a California Chafee Grant, you must complete the following:
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online; or
- If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), submit the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) online. (Dream Act Id required to submit a Chafee Grant Application)
- Submit the California Chafee Grant Application online; and
Electronic submission of all required documents is preferred, but if you are unable to do so, you may print and submit the paper versions below:
What Happens After I Apply?
- The Commission will review your FAFSA or CADAA and Chafee Grant Application.
- The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) may verify your foster status. If CDSS is not able to verify your status, please complete the Foster Care Eligibility Certification Form and mail it.
- Once all of the above is completed, the Commission will send you an email message if you are selected for an award.
- The school will verify payment eligibility and disburse the check to you.
- If you applied for a Chafee Grant, go to WebGrants for Students to check the status of your application.
Receiving Chafee FundsYou must:
- Enroll in an eligible public or private college or university or technical school in California or out of state.
- Be enrolled at least half time.
- Enroll in a program at least one academic year long.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
- Demonstrate Financial Need.
Renewing My Chafee Grant
If you receive a Chafee Grant, it may be renewed through your 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year. You do not need to reapply for a Chafee Grant each year; however, you must submit a FAFSA or CADAA.
The Commission may contact you for updated information. Be sure to respond to e-mails, letters or forms that you may receive.
Student's completed applications are sorted by application date, and awards are offered based on the following priority selection criteria:
- ** Paid renewal students who have not reached their 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
- New and ***non-paid renewal students who will be 25 years old as of July 1st of the award year.
- New and non-paid renewal students who have dependents.
- New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of $5,000 or more.
- New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of less than $5,000.
** Students who have received a Chafee payment.
*** Students who have not received a Chafee payment.
Upon selection for an award, students are sent payment notifications for each term.The majority of Chafee Grant awards are initiated during the fall term and additional awards are offered year round based on available federal and state funding each year.
- Chafee Grant Fact Sheet - Download
- More Ways to Pay for College Fact Sheet - Download
- California College Pathways - Visit Site
- The Community College Foundation - Visit Site
- California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office - Visit Site
- California Department of Social Services (CDSS) - Visit Site
- CDSS Children and Family Services Division - Visit Site
- CDSS Foster Care Help - Visit Site
- California Youth Connection - Visit Site
- Foster Club - Visit Site
- Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) - Visit Site
California Student Aid Commission
Specialized Programs Operations Branch – Chafee
P.O. Box 419027
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9027
888-224-7268 (toll free) | 916-464-7977 (fax)
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid or CA Dream Act Application
- Chafee Grant Application (for first time applicants only)