Monthly Archives: April 2018

Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV)

Q: I am working with a foster youth attending community college. As the summer approaches, she is worried about how to pay for housing and other living expenses. I asked, and it turns out she didn’t receive a Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) for the current academic year.

Can she still get the Chafee ETV for the current academic year? Would she be eligible for any funding over the summer? Also, would a student who is enrolling for the first time at community college this summer be able to get a grant?

A: Chafee ETV funds have not yet been fully expended and she may be able to get the Chafee ETV for the 2017-18 academic year, including the upcoming summer term. New students enrolling for the first time for the summer may also be able to receive a grant. In order to apply she must submit a 2017/2018 FAFSA and a Chafee application.

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) administers the Chafee Education and Training Voucher. CSAC will be issuing Chafee awards for students who attended school during the 2017-18 academic year through September 24, 2018. While the $14 million state budget allocation will likely run out before all approved students are granted awards, it is possible that the student you are working with could still receive a grant. If she was enrolled at least half time for the fall and spring terms this year, she could qualify for the full maximum of $5000. If she was enrolled for one term, she could qualify for $2500, plus an additional $2500 if she chooses to enroll in classes over the summer. New students enrolling for the first time for this coming summer may also be able to receive up to $2500.

The deadline to apply for this year is September 10, however the 2017/2018 FAFSA must be submitted and accepted no later than June 30, 2018 to qualify.

It is also worth it to have her to apply for a Chafee ETV for the current academic year because even if the student is not awarded a grant, it may make her a higher priority next year. According to CSAC, prioritization of applications is in part based on the date that the Chafee application is submitted. So, if the young person applies for the Chafee ETV for the 2017-18 academic year and is approved, but is not awarded a grant, that student has a higher likelihood of getting a Chafee ETV in the next academic year than if they wait until later to submit their application.

Foster Parent Upset about Condoms

Q: Katrice, a 14 year-old in foster care, asks her social worker how she can get free condoms as she is sexually active but does not want to get pregnant.  Her social worker provides Katrice with information about a local health clinic that provides free condoms, no questions asked.  Katrice visits the health clinic and gets condoms and later her foster mother finds the condoms.  The foster mother demanded to know how Katrice got the condoms, and Katrice tells her that the social worker assisted her.  The foster mother is now angry and tells the social worker that she is going to file a complaint with the county agency.

 

A:  The case manager should inform the foster parent of the youth’s right to have access to confidential reproductive health care services, including contraception.  Case managers will not have disciplinary action taken against them for doing their job and fostering the youth’s rights.  It is the case manager’s duty to provide the youth with age appropriate medically accurate information and resources about reproductive health care, unplanned pregnancy prevention, abstinence, use of birth control, abortion and the prevention and treatment of STIs.  

 

This scenario is from the CDSS-issue policy guidance, A Guide for Case Managers: Assisting Foster Youth with Sexual Development and Pregnancy, page 13.

Citation:

Summer Pell Grants

Q: I am a college student and am thinking of taking classes during the summer. Can I receive financial aid if I choose to enroll in summer courses?

A: In 2017, Congress reinstated year-round Pell, which allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so that they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. In order to qualify you must have either have submitted a FAFSA for the 2017/2018 school year and been awarded a Pell grant or, if you did not submit a FAFSA, you can still submit the 2017/2018 application before June 30 of this year.

Depending on how many units you were enrolled in during the academic year, there may be minimum unit requirements. You should be aware that Pell grant used during the summer counts towards your federal 6-year maximum and so it would not be wise to take summer classes while receiving a Pell Grant that are not required for your degree.

It is recommended that you consult with your school’s financial aid office in order to determine exactly how much aid you would qualify for and what restrictions are in place based on your particular circumstances.

How does a student verify their status as a homeless youth for financial aid?

Q: I’m working with a youth who has been in and out of shelters and couch surfing. I understand from helping him complete his FAFSA that as a homeless youth, he qualifies as an independent student. What will he need to provide to the school to verify this?

A: Other than a financial aid administrator, there are three authorized authorities that can verify that he “was determined at any time since July 1, 2017 [year prior to the award year], to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.” These authorities are:

  • a school district homeless liaison
  • the director (or designee) of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • the director (or designee) of a runaway or homeless youth (RHY) basic center or transitional living program

These three authorities can submit a homeless youth determination letter on behalf of the student. (Here is a letter template from National Association for the Education of Homeless Children & Youth & a letter template from SchoolHouse Connection).

If he is a current high school student, he should ask for a letter from the school district homeless liaison. Or, if he is currently a resident in a RHY-funded shelter or transitional living program or HUD-funded shelter or transitional housing program, he should ask the director (or someone the director designates) to provide the letter.

Additionally, these authorities are now permitted to write determination letters for homeless youth for subsequent years as long as they have the necessary information to write such letters. This means if he is no longer in high school but still has relationship with the homeless liaison from his former high school, or was previously a resident in a RHY- or HUD-funded shelter or transitional living/housing program, he should visit the school or program to request a letter. Note that school district homeless liaisons can only write letters for youth up through age 23.

If he is not able to get a letter from any of the three aforementioned authorities, then he needs to visit the financial aid office at his college so that the financial aid administrator (FAA) can make the determination. The FAA may make the determination based on help from third parties, or, if there is no written documentation available from third parties, a documented interview with the student suffices.

Citation: U.S. Department of Education. 2018-19 Federal Student Aid Handbook, Application & Verification Guide. https://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1819FSAHbkAVG.pdf

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