Launch Success Participants Overcoming Challenges

From Staff Reports

Financial Aid Corrections

Cara is a recent high school graduate, embarking on her first quarter of college at the local community college. She is a very independent and self-directed young person, but something was missing from her financial aid file.

She panicked when she saw how much she was supposed to pay for her classes. Luckily, she reached out to her Launch Success Coach before accepting huge student loans.

With a quick correction to her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), two paperwork-filled Zoom calls, a few three-way phone calls to the financial aid office and a friendly connection to the college’s Passport to Careers support staff, Cara is now enrolled and excelling in three classes this fall quarter—at no cost to her.

As schools started for fall, there were a lot of challenges with financial aid last month that Treehouse worked to overcome. A number of Launch Success participants successfully filed FAFSA corrections after missing a question asking about foster care, which temporarily called their independent status into question.

Any young people who are at all interested in taking classes in 2021-2022—even if they are not absolutely sure—should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible. It really helps to avoid last-minute stress and be considered for first-come, first-served funding options.

Living Independently

Abby has known for a while that living independently would help her with her mental health and academic goals. This fall, she secured enough hours of paid work to afford an apartment with her best friend.

Treehouse worked with her to get the furniture she needed to make the apartment into a cozy home, so she can continue her studies and enjoy a stable, secure place.

Several other first-time renters have moved successfully into their own apartments recently with assistance from Treehouse.

Thriving in Classes

Many young people in Launch Success decided to return to college at the last minute as they weighed the impact of the pandemic on their studies and life. They had to urgently take care of paperwork, financial aid, placement tests and registration at a community college. The students requested technology resources, with Treehouse partnering to coordinate with their schools, Independent Living or Together We Rise on those requests.

Once all barriers were successfully navigated, a number of participants have been thriving in classes.

Remaining Barriers

A number of Launch Success participants are still underemployed or unemployed since the spring, and are struggling financially now that they have used up most of their savings. For those who are Spanish-speaking and/or those who do not have a driver’s license, it is proving particularly difficult to find work.

Treehouse will continue to work with our Launch Success participants well into their 20s to remove barriers as they make progress toward a degree or other career credential, living wage and stable housing.

Support Treehouse as we partner with youth in foster care to weather the pandemic. Make a gift at treehouseforkids.org/donate.

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