Frequently Asked Questions 

General 

Q: What is the purpose of the Together We Rise Rapid Response Program? 

A: To provide access to flexible resources to quickly address challenges presented by COVID-19 that threaten a foster youth’s ability to transition to and through college. 

Q: What types of expenses will the program pay for? 

A: Housing, food, technology access, transportation, health care, and other emergency needs. 

Q: How does the fund work? 

A: Foster youth campus support programs and nonprofit agencies can apply to become an authorized referral agency. Approved agencies then make student referrals to the program administrator, Together We Rise (TWR). TWR will assess referred students’ needs, disburse funds and provide limited case management services. 

Becoming a referral agency

Q: Who is authorized to become a referral agency? 

A: Campus-based foster youth support programs and nonprofits that serve the eligible population located in Washington. 

Q: How does my agency apply to become a referral agency? 

A: Agencies should complete this FORM. Please ensure that your agency submits only one form. 

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

A: The agency should submit a single request for agency approval, however, once approved, multiple departments may submit referrals with different points of contact for each.  

Q: What are the expectations of referral agencies? 

A: Agencies must agree to verify the eligibility of each student prior to making a referral, utilize all other options available for emergency support prior to making a referral and make referrals only for emergency needs. 

Q: Will the program limit the number of referring agencies accepted? 

A: No, the program will not limit the number of agencies accepted. Individual agencies could be asked, however, to limit their referrals. 

Q: Can a child welfare office apply to be a partner/referring agency? 

A: Only campus programs and nonprofits are currently authorized to become a referral agency. Social workers should work with campus foster youth programs to request that a referral be initiated. A searchable list of postsecondary support programs for foster youth is available HERE.  

Q: Can a student self-refer? 

A: No, referrals must be submitted by an authorized agency.  

Q: Is it possible for a former foster family to refer for the youth? 

A: No, referrals must be submitted by an authorized agency.  

Making student referrals 

Q: When is the soonest we can make a referral? 

A: Referrals may be made immediately upon an agency’s approval. 

Q: Once a referral is made, how long will it take for TWR to contact the student? 

A: TWR will typically make contact with the student within one business day. 

Q: Where can I find the student referral form? 

A: The link will be provided via email upon your approval to make referrals.  

Q: Can an agency refer a former client? 

A: Yes, an agency can make this referral, however the agency should collaborate with TWR to ensure that the student is connected to long-term supports. 

Student eligibility  

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to access the program? 

A: Students must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Current or former foster youth residing in Washington 
  • Current college student or enrolled for upcoming summer or fall 
  • The student’s need, if not addressed, threatens to disrupt their post-secondary education 
  • The need is urgent and other public and private resources are not available to address the immediate need 
  • NOTE: tribal foster youth and federal foster youth are eligible to apply.

Q: Is there an age eligibility for students who were in foster care (i.e in care at 13 yrs old or 16 yrs old)? 

A: No, students who were in foster care at any age may be referred. 

Q: Does a student need to have been in foster care for a specific duration of time to be eligible? 

A: No, there is no minimum duration.  

Q: Is there an age cap for this program? 

A: No, there is no age cap. 

Q: Would a student who is 17 be eligible? 

A: Yes, there are no age restrictions for the fund. 

Q: Does the student need to be enrolled in a certain number of units or meet a minimum GPA or other academic standard? 

A: No, there are no minimum unit or academic standards. 

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

A: Only students who are or were in foster care may be referred. There is a separate emergency  

Q: If a student is referred by a campus foster youth program, does the student need to have been previously enrolled in the program? 

A: The student does not need not need to have previously been in the program, but it is expected that the program staff will engage with the student to provide support moving forward or will connect the student to other appropriate resources. 

Q: If a student dropped out of college midway through the Spring semester as a result of COVID-19, can this student qualify for funding? 

A: Yes, this student would qualify. The student must have been enrolled at some point in Spring 2020 or planning to enroll into the summer/fall term.  

Q: A high school senior is transferring to a college in the fall. Who can refer them to the program?  

A: If the student is in contact with a campus foster youth support program or an approved nonprofit, the student can be referred by that organization. If the student is not currently engaged with an authorized referral organization, the student should connect with the foster youth support program at the campus that they plan to attend to request a referral. 

Q: What type of institution does a student need to be attending in order to qualify for support? 

A: A student can be attending any form of post-secondary education. This includes community college, 4-year universities, career and technical education programs or other career training programs. If you are unsure, you can reach out to TWR to clarify if a particular circumstance qualifies. 

Q: If a student is not taking summer classes but plans on taking courses in the Fall, can they receive services now? 

A: Yes, a student who is enrolled for Fall 2020 can receive assistance even if not planning to enroll in classes for the summer.  

Q: Do students have to have been former foster youth in WA specifically? Or can it be anywhere in the states? 

A: A student who was under the jurisdiction of another state who is now attending college in Washington may be referred. 

Q: What if a youth has financial aid from their school, but is still struggling financially. Are they eligible? 

A: Yes, if the student has an emergency need that cannot be met by other sources, they may be referred.  

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

A: Yes, as long as the student was in foster care at some point and does not have support or resources to address their emergency needs, they may be referred. 

Q: Will graduating college seniors be eligible for support from this fund? 

A: Yes, graduating college seniors are eligible. 

Q: Are graduate students who meet all other requirements eligible? 

A: Yes, graduate students may be referred.  

Q: If a student received other assistance from another source, would they be eligible for this assistance as well? 

A: Yes, if the other source was inadequate to cover the full need, they may be referred. 

 Together We Rise services  

Q: What services will be provided by TWR? 

A: TWR will provide payments to address emergency needs such as imminent housing loss, food insecurity, transportation barriers, health care costs, etc. TWR will provide limited case management support along with the financial payments. 

Q: How will payments be made? 

A: Whenever possible, payments will be made directly to third party vendors (e.g. to landlords, utility companies, etc.). Grocery stipends are provided bi-weekly, typically by Venmo, Paypal or gift card. 

Q: How will TWR contact students who are referred? 

A: The initial contact will be made via email. Once engaged in the program, students will be provided with phone/text and email contact information for TWR staff.  

Q: How long will the bi-weekly grocery stipend be provided? 

A: Support will typically be provided for one month. This may be extended if necessary. 

Q: Will referring agencies get a final email about what services and support the student received from TWR?  

A: Yes, the referring agency will receive a report with a summary of the support provided.  

Q: Will TWR share assessment results with the referring agency? 

A: TWR will not routinely share assessment results but can do so upon request, with permission from the student.  

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum length of time TWR will work with youth? 

A: There is no maximum or minimum time frame. Typically, TWR will work with youth for one month, but this may be extended if necessary.  

Q: Many programs have case management in place. Do youth have to engage with TWR in case management services? 

A: Case management will only be provided by TWR to the extent necessary. Students with other case management in place will not be required to engage with TWR case management services. TWR will collaborate closely with any existing case management support regarding services provided. 

Miscellaneous 

Q: Will the names of the referring agencies who have been approved be provided to the public? 

A: A list of agencies will not be made public, however, if you have a student in need of support you can email passport@wsac.wa.gov with the name of the college that the student attends and we can assist with providing contact information for the foster youth program or liaison at that campus. 

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

A: Together We Rise will not be reporting any information to campus financial aid offices. Students should consult directly with their financial aid office regarding what their reporting obligations are. 

Q: Who can I contact if I have additional questions? 

A: Contact information is as follows: