Monthly Archives: September 2015

Financial Aid Doesn’t Cover Meal Plan for Foster Youth

Q: I am a social worker for an 18 year-old foster youth who just started his first year of college at a campus of the California State University system. He received a full package of financial aid, including a Pell Grant and a Cal Grant. For some reason, however, his financial aid is not enough to pay for a meal plan in his dorm. Isn’t the meal plan included in his financial aid calculation? How can I help him?

A: Yes, the cost of room and board is calculated in the cost of attendance and figured into his financial aid eligibility. However, financial aid eligibility is based on a standard budget, not the actual expenses that a student may be incurring on campus. For example, the cost of the actual dorm where a is assigned may be higher than the cost included in the standard budget.  If the student is incurring certain allowable expenses, such as higher housing costs, he may be eligible for additional financial aid by applying for a Cost of Attendance Adjustment. To apply for a Cost of Attendance Adjustment, he should contact his college’s financial aid office.

Source: This response was provided by financial aid representatives from California State University system and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

Assistance for Students with Disabilities

Q: Are there any specific resources that a foster youth with disabilities can access at community college to help them to be successful?

A: Yes. Every community college has a Disabled Students Services and Programs (DSPS) office that can offer assistance to qualifying students with disabilities. In order to qualify, the specific disability must be verified, and there must be an educational limitation that precludes the student from fully participating in general education without additional specialized services. Examples of services available through DSPS that are over and above those regularly offered by the college would be test-taking facilitation, assessment for learning disabilities, specialized counseling, interpreter services for hearing-impaired or deaf students, mobility assistance, note taker services, reader services, speech services, transcription services, transportation, specialized tutoring, access to adaptive equipment, job development/placement, registration assistance, special parking and specialized instruction. A directory of DSPS programs at each college can be found at

Medi-Cal and THP-Plus Eligibility for Youth Who Re-Enter Foster Care Under AB 2454

Q. If a youth successfully petitions the courts to re-enter foster care after age 18 under AB 2454 because their guardian or adoptive parent(s) no longer provide ongoing support or receive payment on their behalf, will they be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage up to age 26 or THP-Plus programs?

A. Yes, they are eligible to participate in THP-Plus and the Medi-Cal program for former foster youth until age 26. According to DSS, any foster youth who exited from the foster care system on or after his or her 18th birthday are eligible for both.