California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth
What is Chafee?
If you are or were in foster care 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.
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a current or former foster youth who was a dependent or ward of the court, living in foster care, between the ages of 16 and 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, between the ages of 16 and 18.
- Not have reached your 22nd birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
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:
Note: Forms are year-specific. Be sure to complete the applications that corresponds with the academic year you will be attending school.
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 Funds
- 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.
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 23rd birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
- New and ***non-paid renewal students who will be 22 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.
Support Services for Foster Youth
The Guardian Scholars program at California State University, Fullerton provides support services to foster youth, including assistance with the Chaffee application process, accessing Ward of Court letters for financial aid purposes and much more. To learn more about the Guardian Scholars program, you can visit or contact the Center for Scholars.
Location: McCarthy Hall - MH 013
Phone: (657) 278-5494
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. -- Monday - Friday
CSAC Contact Information
California Student Aid Commission
Specialized Programs Operations Branch – Chafee
P.O. Box 419029
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9029
888-224-7268 (toll free) | 916-464-7977 (fax)
Renewing My Chafee Grant
If you receive a Chafee Grant, it may be renewed through your 23rd 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.