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Your Best Investment!

A college education will help you earn more money, get better jobs, get respect from others, have financial and career security, gain new knowledge, and secure your future.

Four Year Colleges

California public four year colleges include both California State Universities (CSU) and Universities of California (UC). All of the public four-year universities have dorms where students can live and eat on the school campus. Financial aid programs can help pay for tuition, room and board and expenses.

Guardian Scholars

CSU Fullerton and some other CSUs and UCs have a program for former foster youth called the Guardian Scholars Program which accepts a certain number of foster youth every year into the college and provides a full scholarship, peer support, tutoring, and academic support. If you would like more information, contact the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman.

Financial Aid Information

Foster youth are eligible for many types of financial aid. There are state financial aid programs, federal financial aid programs, college and university financial aid programs, and scholarships from different sources. For more details, go to Financial Aid.

Foster youth are also eligible for:

  • Federal Pell Grants: Federal grants of money for low-income students that do not need to be paid back.
  • Cal Grants A, B, C, T: State grants of money for low-income students that do not need to be paid back.
  • EOPS and EOP: Financial aid programs at community colleges and public four year universities that provide grants and stipends that do not need to be paid back.
  • Federal loans: Money that must be paid back after students graduate from college.
  • Fee waivers: Community College programs that waive the cost of classes for low-income students.
  • Scholarships: Grants of money from different sources that youth must find and apply for that don't need to be paid back.

For more information, go to the California Student Aid Commission.

Scholarships specifically for foster youth:

The California Chafee Grant. This program gives money to current or former foster youth to use for career and technical training or college course. You don't have to pay this money back as long as you are in school and can use it for things like child care, transportation and rent. This program is also known as the Education and Training Voucher (ETV). Money for the Chafee Grants come from the federal government. Foster youth need to apply for Chafee ETV at the Financial Aid Office of a state or community college, even if they will be attending a technical training program. To find information on Chafee grants for all states, click on State Vouchers (link removed).

The Orphan Foundation of America Scholarships for Youth in Foster Care. The Orphan Foundation of America is committed to helping parentless teens make the difficult transition from foster care to independent adulthood. As part of its mission, the foundation awards scholarships ranging between $1,500 and $10,000 a year to students pursuing two- or four-year degrees, or a vocational training certificate. Applicants to the OFA/Casey Family Scholars program must have been in foster care or a ward of the court for at least one year (twelve months) on their 18th birthday; be under the age of 25 on April 1, 2004; and be enrolled in or have applied to college or a vocational training program. See the Orphan Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application procedures.

For more information about how foster youth can attend
community colleges and four year colleges,
call the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman at