Am I required to report this funding to the IRS or for tax purposes?

The Emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the student. Individuals should consult with their tax advisor for additional information regarding any reporting obligations. Visit the IRS website for more information, https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/

As a student, can I self-refer to this program?

At this time, only an authorized referral agency can process a referral on behalf of the student. Please connect with your supporting agency and encourage them to become an authorized referral agency.

I am a current or former foster youth but am not a college student and have no interest in attending college. Can I apply for this program?

At this time, our program only supports college students with foster care experience. For additional support, we recommend you connect with your child welfare agency, local nonprofit, and contact the public services available to you.

I am a current or former foster youth in need of assistance. What do I do?

Individuals must meet the eligibility criteria (see criteria above). If you qualify, please reach out to your affiliated college campus foster care support organization or child welfare agency and request they submit a referral for services. Your college may need to apply to become an authorized referral agency. Please contact us at RR@togetherwerise.org or for more information

I need to get a hold of a TWR staff. I have questions about the program and its processes. How can I speak with a TWR staff?

Due to a high volume of calls, the best method to connect with TWR is via email. Please provide your full name, the college you attend (if available), and a detailed summary of your inquiry. Include any relevant contact information. A TWR staff member will respond to your inquiry and can work to schedule a call thereafter.

Be aware that our offices are located in Brea, California (Orange County) and our timezone is Pacific Standard Time. Our office hours are from 7:00 am through 3:30 pm Monday through Friday. This program is not an emergency crisis center. All correspondence will be addressed during scheduled operating hours.

To help in making this process more efficient, please answer any incoming calls placed to your phone during and after your inquiry. Be on the lookout for email correspondence from TWR and look over your spam folder in the event our emails are directed there

I was never in foster care, kinship care, adoption, or classified as a probation youth with an order for out-of-home placement. Can I qualify for services?

This program is strictly for college students with foster care experiences. No exceptions will be made for individuals who do not meet the eligibility criteria. If you have questions about your foster care placement, please submit an inquiry through our Contact Us page.

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 can I do to prepare for my conversation with TWR?
  1. Be prepared to present your urgent need(s). Have verification documentation handy, if needed.
  2. Do your due diligence before reaching out to TWR. Speak with your landlord about payment extensions. Communicate with your utility company, service provider, or college campus about missing/late payments. Feel confident in negotiating down late fees and interest charges.
  3. Be open and honest with your needs. We understand this program is new to you so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that we are here to help and provide guidance to resolve the situation.
What documentation will TWR require from me as a student?

TWR may require the following information for verification purposes: a copy of a student’s housing agreement and/or lease. Copy of pending utility bill. Proof of current college enrollment. Proof of college completion. Proof of employment. In order to make payments to designated vendors, students may need to provide additional account details including account credentials to process a payment.

To protect your privacy, do not provide any documentation until it is required. TWR recommends processing payments via a guest portal, if available. At no point will a TWR staff collect confidential data such as birth certificate, social security information, or debit/credit card information from the student.

What is expected of me as a student participant of the program?

Participation, communication, patience, and respect. Students are expected to clearly communicate with TWR and work alongside TWR to address their urgent needs. Any delays by the student will delay TWR’s payment processes. While the Rapid Response Program allows us to quickly address urgent needs, TWR is not a crisis center. Students are encouraged to secure and maintain connections with local agencies and organizations to address long-term barriers to their education. We appreciate student feedback and testimonials. A program evaluation survey will be sent a few weeks after the initial services have been completed.

What is the purpose of the needs assessment and all other TWR surveys?

The needs assessment survey and all additional surveys are meant to provide TWR with an overview of the student’s college plan and the barriers preventing them from graduating. Our TWR coordinators will use this information as an attempt to provide a holistic assessment of the student and help provide the best service possible.

Per the terms and conditions of this program, all data collected for this initiative will solely be used for grant reporting, grant writing, promoting the initiative, and impact metrics. TWR will not sell any information related to this initiative nor will confidential information be made public or shared with partner agencies. The following circumstances may require the disclosure of confidential information without the consent of the student: 1) Threats to human life of a suicidal or homicidal nature and 2) Legal obligations to report abuse or suspected abuse of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Any marketing or media requests will require a media release by all parties involved.

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.

Will the funds distributed to students need to be reported to the Financial Aid department? Will they count against the student’s Cost of Attendance?

TWR will not be reporting any information to campus financial aid offices. Students should consult directly with their financial aid office regarding their reporting obligations.

Will the names of the referring agencies who have been approved be provided to the public? Will students' information be shared with outside agencies?

For privacy and confidentiality, information will not be disclosed to others outside of TWR. Any marketing or media requests will require a media release by all parties involved.