November 24, 2020


Financial Aid Guide for Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement

As part of our ongoing work to create Pathways to Higher Education for youth with juvenile justice involvement, the Youth Law Center has created a new financial aid resource that we hope will be useful to youth, policy advocates, and a wide range of juvenile justice and child welfare system stakeholders. College is For Everyone: A California Financial Aid Guide for Youth with Juvenile Justice Involvement was developed in response to common questions raised by students, colleges, and system stakeholders regarding financial aid for youth who have experienced the juvenile justice system. 

Youth who have been impacted by the juvenile justice system desire to participate in higher education, but school staff, caseworkers, probation officers, and advocates are not always sure how to help youth navigate higher education systems. This “College is For Everyone” resource addresses practice issues, such as where to go to get paperwork verifying someone’s status as a foster youth, or how to demonstrate to a financial aid officer that a youth is experiencing homelessness, among other common concerns. It also explains financial aid terminology like “ward of the court” and available financial aid programs, such as CalGrant, Chafee, and the California Dream Act for undocumented youth and DACA recipients. 

The financial aid system has flexibility to address problems commonly faced by youth who have experience with the juvenile justice system, foster care, and/or homelessness, but, as with many systems, youth often need support from advocates to obtain the resources they need. We hope that this resource can assist you and your partners in supporting youth in your community and in the state on their educational journeys.