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​Chafee Grant

The Chafee program is designed for students who are current or former foster youth. Students may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for college or career and technical training. Chafee can be used at any California postsecondary institution or out-of-state institution that participates in the federal Pell Grant program.

To apply, current or former foster youth must not reach their 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year. The court must have established the state dependency between the ages of 16 and 18. KinGap youth, adopted youth, guardian placements, and voluntary placements are not eligible for Chafee, unless court dependence was established, at any time, between the ages of 16 and 18. Students who have received a Chafee payment can be renewed through their 23rd birthday.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will verify the student’s foster youth eligibility status. As long as foster youth eligibility is met, students are not required to have a valid Social Security number to apply for Chafee.

Chafee is federal and state funded with a current maximum award of $5,000 per academic year, not to exceed the cost of attendance. The final award amount will be determined by the postsecondary institution (institution) based on the cost of attendance and enrollment status. The majority of the Chafee awards are initiated during the fall term and additional awards are offered year round based on funding availability.

APPLICANT REQUIREMENTS 
Student Application Process -
  1. Student completes the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth application
  2. Student completes and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or if applicable a CA Dream Act application.
  3. CDSS must confirm foster youth eligibility--completion of the Foster Care Eligibility Certification Form may be required
  4. School submits the Chafee Need Analysis Report (NAR) to the California Student Aid Commission (Commission)
Students ARE NOT required to -
  • Have a Social Security Number
  • Meet selective service requirements
  • Be clear of loan default or grant over award
  • Meet the Ability-to-Benefit (ATB) requirement
  • Be a California resident or go to a California school

Eligibility Criteria -
  • Be a current or former foster youth with court dependence established, at anytime, between the ages of 16 and 18
  • Not have reached their 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year
  • Have financial need
  • Must enroll in an institution
  • Must enroll in a school that participates in the Pell Grant program
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time
  • Must enroll in a program of at least one academic year at length
  • Must maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Chafee funds can be used at colleges outside of California provided that the foster youth placement was established in California
  • Out-of-state residents who attend college in California are also eligible for Chafee

Undocumented Foster Youth -
  • Student must submit to the Commission a paper Chafee application form and a paper FAFSA or if applicable a CA Dream Act Application.
  • The Commission will assign a CSAC ID and a pseudo SSN
  • CDSS must confirm foster youth eligibility--completion of the Foster Care Eligibility Certification
  • Form may be needed
  • School must perform a hand calculation of the expected family contribution (EFC) by using the information from the FAFSA or if applicable a CA Dream Act Application.
  • School will use EFC to complete the NAR
  • The Commission must be notified immediately upon assignment of valid a Social Security number


Renewal of Application -
Once a student receives a Chafee payment, the award may be renewed through their 23rd birthday. The student will need to submit the FAFSA or if applicable a CA Dream Act Application and the school will need to submit a NAR again; however, the Chafee application or the Foster Youth eligibility form will not need to be resubmitted. Awards will be determined based on the award selection criteria.
Students who have received a prior Chafee payment are assigned first priority during the selection process. Institutions and students may contact the Commission by phone or e-mail to request a school change. School changes can be reported to the Commission on the “Chafee Update and Change Form” at https://www.chafee.csac.ca.gov.

Selection Criteria -
  1. Applications are sorted by the application date, and awards are offered based on the following priority selection criteria:
  2. Paid renewal students who have not reached their 23rd birthday as of July 1st of the award year
  3. New and non-paid renewal students who will be 22 years old as of July 1st of the award year
  4. New and non-paid renewal students who have dependents
  5. New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of $5,000 or more
  6. New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of less than $5,000
• Paid renewal students are students who have received a Chafee payment
• New and non-paid renewal students are students who have not received a Chafee payment
Once all the requirements are fulfilled, the Commission will offer awards based on the priority selection. Award notifications will be sent to the Chafee recipients.

For more information or questions regarding the Chafee Grant, please contact your campus financial aid office.

​Updated: 6/11/2015