A high school senior is transferring to a college soon or is dual enrolled. Can they be referred to the program?

Yes. high school/GED students can be referred, however, their services are strictly limited to college application expenses, college commitment deposits, admissions fees, admissions testing, academic supplies, & college textbooks.

Are students who exited foster care to guardianship or adoption eligible?

Yes, as long as the student was in foster care at some point.

Can a student self-refer to the program or be referred by a former foster family?

No, referrals can only be submitted by an authorized agency. To avoid a conflict of interest, agencies cannot refer eligible employees, contractors, or family members for services.

Can I refer an individual who was in foster care but is not enrolled in college?

No, our funding is strictly for college students with foster care experience. Exceptions will be made for high school seniors planning to enroll in college or dual-enrolled high school students, and individuals who are returning to school and can provide proof of enrollment.

Do probation youth qualify?

Probation youth with an order for out-of-home placement, “crossover”, or “dual-status” youth do qualify for our services. Probation youth residing with biological parents do not qualify unless previously in foster care.

How can my organization apply to become a referral agency?

Please complete the Agency Application linked here. A TWR coordinator will connect with you to begin the onboarding process.

How does the safety net program work?

Agencies must first apply to become an authorized referral agency. Approved agencies will then be able to submit a student referral to Together We Rise (TWR). TWR will assess the students’ needs and provide the resources necessary to address the students’ requests.

If a student dropped classes midway through the semester due to extenuating circumstances, can they qualify for funding?

Yes, this student can qualify. The goal of this program is to eliminate barriers preventing students from continuing with their college education. We would ask that the student commits to returning to school the following semester. 

Is the individual required to have been in foster care for a specific duration of time?

No, there is no minimum duration for foster care experience. The student’s foster care status must be verified by the approved agency.

Is there an age cap for this program?

There is no age cap for services. Individuals must be at least 17 years and meet all eligibility criteria.

My agency has multiple departments that provide services independently of each other. Would it be possible for us to have two points of contact for each department?

Only one application will be required per agency and up to 3 points of contact are acceptable per organization. We understand that some agencies may have multiple case managers supporting students. If this is the case please communicate that to TWR for further assessment. 

My program serves students who were not in foster care, such as unaccompanied homeless youth. Can I refer these students as well?

No, only students with foster care experience may be referred. Foster care status includes kinship care, adoption, and probation youth with an order for out-of-home placement.

Our agency services students from all across the nation? Are there referral limits based on geographical locations?

Our safety net program is open to all college students with foster care experience from across the United States, however, funding limits may differ from state to state. 

The student receives scholarships and financial aid but is still struggling financially. Are they eligible?

Yes, the student can be referred. We do ask that each student access all public and campus support programs before seeking funding through TWR.

What are the eligibility requirements to access the program?

All of the following criteria must be met: 

● Individuals must be a current or former foster youth age 17 or older regardless of their length of time in care. (For eligibility purposes, foster care status includes kinship care, adoption, and probation youth with an order for out-of-home placement). 
● Individuals currently enrolled at college or university regardless of credit attainment, GPA, or academic standing. High school and GED seniors may qualify for this program with limited funding. 
● The eligible student has an urgent need that, if not addressed, would prevent them from continuing with their college education. 

No exceptions will be made for individuals that do not meet the eligibility criteria. 
Students will not be eligible to self-refer. No age cap is placed on the student applicant

What are the expectations of referral agencies?

Agencies must have the capacity to:

  1. verify the eligibility of each student prior to making a referral.
  2. make referrals only for emergency needs.
  3. protect the integrity of the fund and comply with program terms & conditions.
What is the purpose of the Rapid Response Program?

A safety net program for college students with foster care experience that provides flexible resources to quickly address the challenges threatening the student’s ability to transition to and through college.

What type of institution must a student be attending in order to qualify for support?

A student can be attending any form of post-secondary education which includes community college, 4-year universities, career & technical programs, or other career certification programs. TWR will evaluate payments to for-profit colleges and proceed accordingly.

What types of expenses will the program pay for?

The program provides basic needs including housing, meal assistance, educational technology, transportation, personal utilities, and other emergency needs related to the student’s academic success.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact RR@togetherwerise.org or submit an inquiry through our Contact Us page. A TWR member will promptly respond to each inquiry. TWR office hours are from Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Who is authorized to become a referral agency?

Organizations that serve the college foster care student population. This includes college campus foster care organizations, child welfare agencies, and nonprofits serving the college foster care population are welcomed to apply.

Will current foster youth in a transitional housing program be eligible?

Yes. We do ask that all other resources be exhausted before a referral is made to TWR including any provided by the THP program.

Will graduating college seniors or recent college graduates who meet all other requirements be eligible for support?

Yes, graduating college seniors are eligible. For students that have recently graduated, they can be no more than 3-months removed from their college/university enrollment to qualify. Proof of graduation/completion may be required for verification purposes.

Will TWR limit the number of referring agencies accepted?

No, however, these funds are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. TWR holds the right to decline or suspend an agency's referral status at any time.

Would students that have exited foster care be eligible? Would students in extended foster care qualify for this program?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the student’s current foster care status as long as the agency can verify the student experienced foster care at some point.