Featured FAFSA Challengers

June FAFSA Challenge Winners!
CONGRATULATIONS to Orange, Tulare, Butte, and Shasta Counties, the June winners of the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge. These counties had the highest FAFSA completion rates for 12th graders in foster care among counties of comparable size, and each received unrestricted awards to support foster youth success in matriculating from high school to post-secondary education.

Kudos to these and ALL counties that participated in this year's FAFSA Challenge. In addition, thirty students selected from the counties that participated in the FAFSA Challenge were named as Burton Scholars and will receive individual $500 scholarships to attend a post-secondary institution.
“We knew this campaign would be challenging but we saw it as an incredible opportunity to take on as a team because we believe that when you help a foster youth complete the FAFSA, you’re telling that youth, ‘We believe in you.'"
Kim Silva
Kern County Office of Education Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program
FAFSA Ambassadors
12th graders who complete the FAFSA in Kern County are invited to serve as FAFSA Ambassadors and reach out to their peers to remind them to complete the FAFSA and refer them to organizations that can help them complete it.
FAFSA Events
Los Angeles County Office of Education Foster Youth Services Program is partnering with Cerritos College to host FAFSA Workshops specifically for foster youth. Each student who completes the FAFSA at these events receives a gift card-- icing on the cake!
Going Above and beyond
In an example of especially inspired action, the Sonoma County Office of Education Foster Youth Services coordinator realized late in the day on March 2nd that a student had not signed the GPA verification for her Cal Grant application so the coordinator got in her car and rushed to Target where the student works to get her signature at 4pm so she could mail it to CSAC with a March 2 postmark to meet the priority deadline. The team became aware that she needed to apply for the Cal Grant through the support generated by the full-team engagement with the FAFSA Challenge, and the student’s teacher and program staff gave her direct support to complete the FAFSA and Cal Grant application.
New Hope for the Future
After completing the FAFSA through the FAFSA Challenge, a Glenn County student who had been discouraged from thinking about college now feels college is not only possible but obtainable. During his one-on-one FAFSA session he learned that as a foster youth he can graduate with the state minimum requirements. As the student learned that he can graduate on time and that he can get financial aid to continue to college, the counselor watched his entire demeanor change as he gained new hope for the future.

Glenn County is now at 100% for the FAFSA Challenge!
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The California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge is a statewide campaign to increase the number of foster youth who are prepared for success as they matriculate from high school into college by ensuring that foster youth are accessing financial aid. Efforts are led by county-based Foster Youth Services Coordinating programs in collaboration with local partners including school districts, community-based organizations, child welfare agencies, Independent Living Programs, and local colleges. JBAY provides technical assistance, promotional materials, and other resources to participating counties to support them in this effort. Follow this LINK to read more about why this matters.

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