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Foster Youth Eligibility

“Foster youth” means a person who is currently in foster care, and “former foster youth” means a person who is an emancipated foster youth and who is 24 years of age or younger.

There are two accepted forms of verification for foster youth status:

  1. Ward of the Court or Dependency letter on official county letterhead from the student’s county-of-origin
  2. County Foster Care Verification Card

As mandated by the California Department of Social Services, counties must provide youth with a proof of county dependency status for education and applications. The form in which this proof comes varies by county, but must include the following information:

  • Youth Name
  • Date of birth
  • Current mailing address and Independent Living Program contact number
  • County Identification Number (aid payment number used to identify youth in out-of-home care) or Probation Identification Number
  • Dependency/Ward of the Court start date
  • Dependency/Ward of the Court termination end date (court date)

Unhoused Youth Eligibility

"Unhoused youth" means a student under 25 years who meets the following requirements:

  • Lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (includes "couch surfing")
  • Student is unaccompanied by a parent or lives with parents/guardians
  • Became homeless with 24 months of applying to the college or while in college

If you haven't been verified as an unhoused youth by one of the following:

  1. Director of TRIO or GEAR UP program or designee
  2. Homeless Youth Liaison or Foster Youth Liaison
  3. Homeless services provider (e.g. K-12 homeless liaison, government or non-profit agency, mental health provider, etc.)
  4. Higher ed financial aid administrator (or designee)

You may still qualify for Inspire Scholars services, please submit your application and when you meet with the Inspire Scholars counselor, they will verify your unhoused eligibility.

Inspire Scholars Services

Services are available to current/former foster and unhoused youth:

  • Educational, Career and Personal Counseling (as related to academics)
  • Priority Registration (verifiable documentation required)
  • Textbook Vouchers
  • Meal cards
  • Transportation cards (gas and TAP)
  • School Supply Assistance
  • Transfer fee waivers
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Inspire Scholars institutional scholarship (must apply in spring semester)
  • In-house mental health counseling with licensed therapist
  • Academic Advocacy
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Support Services (help with completing enrollment steps and financial aid application)
  • Resource Referrals
  • Inspire Scholars Snack Stop
  • Access to Shower Facilities
  • Personal Care Supplies
  • Workshops, Meet-ups, Special events

*Services based on available funding.