Chafee Grant: What Is It and Who Is Eligible?
IF YOU WERE IN THE FOSTER SYSTEM FOR AT LEAST ONE DAY BETWEEN THE AGES OF 16 AND 18, AND ARE UNDER 26 YEARS OLD, YOU LIKELY QUALIFY FOR A CHAFEE GRANT, WHICH CAN BE APPLIED TO BOTH COLLEGES AND TRADE SCHOOLS LIKE I-TAP.
April 17, 2021
The California Chafee Grant is a financial grant for current or former California foster youth to help pay for college or career and technical training. The grant money can also be used to pay for child care, rent and transportation while you’re in school.
The best part: Chafee grants don’t have to be paid back.
In other words, Chafee grants are free money. And they aren’t limited to just 2-year and 4-year college programs. They can also be used to pay for career training programs, like I-TAP’s electrical trainee and apprenticeship programs. We have previously had students who covered a substantial part of their tuition with Chafee grants.
What are the requirements for getting a California Chafee Grant?
Chafee grants are not for just anybody. They are specifically for people who were in the foster care system in their late teens, as a way of helping young adults who don’t have the financial resources that other students may have.
To qualify for a Chafee grant, you must have:
- Been in the foster care system for a least one day between the ages of 16 and 18.
- Been a ward of the court.
- Not reached your 26th birthday as of July 1st of the current year.
Please note that some older information sources online and elsewhere may state that you can be no older than 22 years old to be eligible for a Chafee grant. This is no longer true. In July of 2018, the state of California passed a new budget plan which expanded the eligibility requirements. The 22-year-old age limit no longer applies.
The Chafee grant doesn’t have the same limitations as other federal and state financial aid programs.
Many young people who want to enter a career training program (or go back to school) but need financial aid to afford it are frustrated when they find out that they don’t qualify for financial aid. This can be because they aren’t a citizen of the United States, or because of other issues.
Many of these requirements do not apply to Chafee applicants.
You are eligible for a Chafee grant, even if you:
- Do not have a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Do not have a high school diploma or meet alternative ‘ability-to-benefit’ requirements
- Do not have a history clear of loan default or previous grant over-awards
Any or all of these three three issues can apply to you, and you are still eligible to apply for a Chafee grant.
How much is the Chafee grant worth?
The amount of money awarded through a Chafee grant depends upon your level of financial need. The maximum award amount is $5,000 per year.
Where can you use the Chafee grant?
You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or higher education school. In California, you can use the Chafee grant to cover at least some of the costs at:
- Career and technical schools, like I-TAP
- California Community Colleges
- California State University campuses
- University of California campuses
- Independent colleges
- Private colleges
What is required to get the Chafee grant?
To receive the grant money, your school will verify that you are:
- Enrolled in an eligible public or private college, university or technical school
- Enrolled at least half time.
- Enrolled in a program at least one academic year long
- Maintaining satisfactory academic progress
- Demonstrate financial need
- The school will verify payment eligibility and disburse the check to you
In addition, the institution must be eligible to participate in the Cal Grant Program. If the institution is not located in California, it must have “a three-year cohort default rate that is less than 15.5 percent and a graduation rate greater than 30 percent.”
How do you apply for the Chafee grant?
To apply for the Chafee grant, you must first fill out either:
- Citizens with SSNs: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Non-Citizens: California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
Either of the above forms can be submitted online. There’s no need to mail anything. Once you have submitted the appropriate form, you can then fill out and submit the California Chafee Grant Application.
This may seem like a lot of work. But bear in mind, if you qualify for a Chafee grant, you may also qualify for other grant programs, such as a Pell Grant, which also doesn’t have to be repaid (and currently maxes out at $6,195). By filling out and submitting a FAFSA, you’ll find out about all of the types of federal aid you qualify for, some of which don’t have to be paid back.
If you receive a Chafee Grant, it may be renewed through your 26th birthday. You do not need to reapply for your Chafee Grant each year. However, you must submit a FAFSA or CADAA and your school must determine if you are still eligible.
If you’re interested in furthering your career as an electrician by attending I-TAP, and you have questions about other ways to fund your electrical education, just give us a call or fill out our contact form. We’re happy to help in any way we can!
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