Foster youth continue to face lower educational outcomes than their non-foster youth peers, particularly when it comes to postsecondary education. By age 26, just 4 percent of former foster youth have earned a Bachelor’s degree, compared to 36 percent of the same-age population of young adults. Multiple studies have shown that receiving financial aid positively impacts grade point average, transfer rates, and undergraduate degree attainment, but currently, just 9 percent of California foster and former foster youth receive a Cal Grant, the state’s largest financial aid program.
This week First Place traveled to Sacramento to show our support for SB 940 in the Senate Education Committee.
Authored by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), a long-time legislative champion for foster youth, and sponsored by John Burton Advocates for Youth, SB 940 addresses three key barriers to accessing the Cal Grant, as identified by a John Burton Advocates survey of current and former foster youth.
- Removes the requirement for foster youth to apply for an entitlement Cal Grant within one year of high school graduation, instead allowing them to apply for and receive an entitlement Cal Grant up to age 26.
- Extends the length of time a foster youth is eligible for the Cal Grant from 4 to 8 years.
- Extends the deadline for the Cal Grant entitlement application from March 2nd to September 2nd for foster youth applying to attend community college.