Tag Archives: postsecondary education

Community College Assessment and Remediation

Q: Do students who are entering community college still need to take assessment tests in math and English to determine if they need to take remedial classes?

A: Under a new law, Assembly Bill 705 (Irwin), community colleges in California are required to use students’ high school grades as the primary means of placement rather than assessment tests, which are notoriously unreliable predictors. The law also restricts colleges from denying students access to transferable, college-level courses and gives students the right to begin in courses where they have the best chance of completing the English and math requirements for a bachelor’s degree.

A recent report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, however, found mixed results in how this law has been implemented. They looked at 47 community colleges in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and greater Los Angeles. On the positive side, colleges have approximately doubled the proportion of transfer-level classes they offer. There has also been dramatic growth in the number of colleges offering corequisite remediation—that is, curricular models in which students receive additional support while enrolled in transferable, college-level classes. Most colleges are allowing all students to enroll directly in transferable, college-level courses, in compliance with the law, however, there are some exceptions.

At many colleges, however, remedial courses continue to constitute a large proportion of course offerings, especially in math, and students are not being fully informed both about the pros and cons of enrolling in remedial courses and their rights as defined in AB 705. Although expressly prohibited by new Title 5 regulations, some colleges still embed “readiness tests” deep within their guided placement tools.

It is crucial that, until the bill is fully implemented, professionals educate themselves and students about how to advocate to ensure that students are enrolling in courses that maximize their likelihood of success.

To read the full report, CLICK HERE. To read more about AB 705, follow this LINK.

Tagged , , ,

List of Counties that Have Opted into the THP-Plus Extension

Q: I’m currently nearing the end of my 24 months in the THP-Plus program. I’m working on getting my AA degree, and would really like to stay in the program until I finish. I’ve heard that some counties allow youth to remain in THP-Plus for an additional 12 months if they are in school. How do I find out whether my county offers this?

A: You are correct. Senate Bill 1252 (Torres) established the option for counties to extend their THP-Plus programs for youth enrolled in school for an additional 12 months and up to the age of 25. This law went into effect January 1, 2015.

Currently, 27 counties have opted into the THP-Plus extension. These counties are listed, along with additional information about the THP-Plus extension on the JBAY website at the following URL: https://www.jbaforyouth.org/thp-plus-extension/

Citation:

Tagged , , , ,

CalGrant Extension

Q: I heard that foster youth can now receive a CalGrant for eight years instead of four years under a bill passed this year by the legislature. If a foster youth is already receiving a CalGrant, can they still get the full eight years or is it only for students who get new awards moving forward?

A: All foster youth who otherwise qualify can receive the grant for the full eight years, regardless of whether they are already receiving a CalGrant or not. Representatives from the California Student Aid Commission shared this on a webinar last week. To view the entire webinar, CLICK HERE.

Tagged , , , ,

FAFSA Submission

Q: I am working with foster youth to complete their FAFSA by the March 2 deadline. How do we know it was successfully submitted and received?

A: The FAFSA form will be processed a few days after submission, and it will be indicated when you log back into FAFSA.

You can also make a correction by choosing “Make FAFSA Corrections,” or click to “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR).”

 

For additional resources on completing FAFSA, please review the Financial Aid Planning Guide.

Tagged , , , ,

Cal Grant Time Limits

Q: I was awarded a Cal Grant to attend community college, but my counselor is telling me I shouldn’t take the money because it could run out later. Could you explain why I wouldn’t want to accept this money?

A: Currently, the Cal Grant is available only for a maximum of four years of full-time enrollment at a community college, CSU, UC or private institution. At a community college, the grant provides up to $1,672 to cover non-tuition costs, such as books, housing and transportation. At a 4-year university, the money can also be used to pay for tuition costs and therefore provides significantly more: up to $7,414 for a student attending a CSU campus, $14,302 for students attending a UC campus and $10,756 for students enrolled at a qualifying private institution. If you utilize the funding while in community college, you run the risk of not having enough funds remaining when you transfer to a university and when the available benefit is significantly more.

It should also be noted, that this limitation would change if Senate Bill 940 passes. For foster youth specifically, the maximum time would be extended from four to eight years, allowing students to utilize the grant throughout their educational career. To support the passage of this bill, please consider sending in a letter of support as well as sign on to the budget request letter to expand Cal Grant access for foster youth. Support letters can be sent to Carolyn@jbay.org

Tagged , , ,

Independent Status on FAFSA

Q: How do I know if I qualify for independent status on the FAFSA, and what exactly does it mean to be an independent student?

A: Independent Status” on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) means that youth do not have to provide any information, including income and asset information, about their biological, adoptive, or foster parents (including relative or non-relative caregivers) or legal guardians in the Parent Demographics section. This will mean that parental contribution is not added into a student’s contribution to determine his or her Estimated Financial Contribution (EFC), the index number that determines how much a student can pay for education and how much financial aid students receive.

If any of the below applies to students, then they qualify as independent students on the FAFSA:

  • Was an orphan, foster child, or ward/dependent of the court at any time since the age of 13
  • Age 24 or older at any time before December 31st of the award year
  • Was determined at any time since July 1st of award year to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless
  • Is married as of the date student applies
  • Will be a graduate or professional student when the award year starts
  • Is currently serving on active duty for purposes other than training
  • Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Has dependents other than a spouse

Citation: U.S Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid, 2018-2019 Application and Verification Guide https://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1819FSAHbkAVG.pdf

Tagged , , ,

Selecting a Housing Plan on FAFSA

Q: I am completing the FAFSA and on the page where I indicate which schools I want my information sent to, it asks me to indicate if I will be living on-campus, off-campus or with parents. I am currently in foster care and have lived with my aunt since I entered the system, and I plan to continue living with her while I go to community college. Which option do I select?

A: You would select “off-campus.” Students should not select “With Parent” as their housing plan if they plan to live with a foster parent, relative caregiver, or legal guardian. Instead, select “Off-Campus.” This is crucial for getting all the money that is available to you to pay for your living expenses. The option you select has an impact on how much money you receive as the “cost of attendance” is considered more when living off-campus than when living with a parent. For more tips on how to complete the FAFSA, check out the Financial Aid Guide for California Foster Youth.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Resources

Q: Is there any way to easily learn more about Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at the community colleges and find out what types of credentials are available at my local colleges?

 

A: There are a number of new online tools now available to help students research and understand CTE options at the community colleges. My Path walks users through the steps involved with community college matriculation and includes information on career options, choosing a college, applying for college and financial aid. The Career Coach offers links to career assessment tests, data on wages, employment and training for jobs in a range of sectors, and a searchable database of programs in different fields. The Salary Surfer uses the aggregated earnings of graduates from a five-year period to provide an estimate on the potential wages to be earned two years and five years after receiving a certificate or degree in certain disciplines. This tool also provides information on which colleges offer programs in each specific discipline.

Tagged

Extended foster care eligibility: attending school as a participation condition

Q:  My foster child will be turning 18 in the summer and wants to attend community college. Will that qualify him to be eligible for extended foster care?

A:  In order to be eligible for extended foster care, a youth must meet with one of five participation criteria. One of the five criteria is being enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or vocational education. In order to satisfy the criteria, a nonminor dependent must be enrolled at least half-time. In most institutions, including the California public college and university systems, this will consist of enrollment in at least six semester course units or quarter course equivalent.  As stated in ACL 11-69 on page 10, “a nonminor dependent on summer break from school is still considered participating as long as they are enrolled for the following semester.”  (Scheduled school breaks do not affect the eligibility status of nonminor dependents). There is more information about the post-secondary or vocational education participation criterion starting on page 23 of ACL 11-69.

Tagged , , ,