What Student Grants Are Available For California Residents

    As education costs continue to climb higher over the years, it is now more crucial than ever to seek educational funding. Fortunately, multiple higher education grants provide low to middle-income students with the opportunity to attend college. Not only that, colleges and scholarships offer financial aid to students to obtain quality tertiary education they may not have access to otherwise. In fact, in 2020, 58% of families used scholarships and educational grants to help pay for college. Overall, these student grants for college helped pay for 19% of their college costs. 

    With the soaring inflation rates and high living costs, pre-college, college, and post-college stages of the student experience require higher education subsidies and grants. Initiatives and programs designed to support every student in their pursuit of a college degree are equally important. Without student grants and financial aid for education, student potential and opportunity may be left unrealized.  

    Overview Of California “Cal Grant” College Grants

    Recent graduates or graduating high school seniors who meet all eligibility requirements, including financial and academic, may apply for a Cal Grant. Applicants must provide and submit all required application materials by the specified deadline to be considered for the various college grants in California.

    For the fall term, the application deadline is September 2nd, but interested students are urged to apply by March 2nd to increase their chances of being chosen for the California student grants. Due to funding restrictions and limited slots, applying as soon as possible will give you the best chance of receiving financial aid. Disbursement of Cal Grants is subject to the State Budget Act’s final approval. Students can receive over $10,000 annually for educational fees, depending on the specific Cal Grant they acquired.

    Cal Grant applicants must enroll in California-based colleges, universities, or career colleges that satisfy the admissibility requirements. While some scholarships merely cover tuition fees, others cover room and board as well as the cost of textbooks and other school supplies. 

    Applying for a Cal Grant is relatively simple. The primary step in receiving a college grant in California involves submitting the federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January 1st and September 1st. To strengthen your application, a verified Cal Grant GPA is also necessary. 

    If you wish to know more about the application process for student grants in California, continue reading this guide below.

    How To Apply For College Grants In California

    In contrast to scholarships, grants are typically need-based. To prove your financial need for California school grants, you must submit either the state’s Dream Act Application (DAA) or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2 each year. 

    Non-citizens, including some undocumented immigrants, are now eligible to apply for in-state tuition rates, state grants, and other forms of financial help in California, courtesy of the DAA.

    Aside from completing the FAFSA or DAA each year, you must also submit your high school or community college transcripts via the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by the March 2 deadline. Despite being need-based, the majority of California grants for graduate school include a minimum GPA requirement which you must maintain. 

    For both citizens and noncitizens applying for California grants for college, additional eligibility requirements include:

    • U.S. citizenship, eligible noncitizen, or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
    • Resided in California for at least one year
    • Attend a qualifying college in the state of California
    • Must not have a bachelor’s degree or professional degree
    • Do not owe a refund on any state or federal grant or be in default on a student loan
    • Must be enrolled or plan to enroll at least part-time
    • Must not have been jailed

    Note: Family income and assets ceiling are also crucial factors in your eligibility for Cal Grants.  

    California Grants For College Available Today

    California’s public colleges rank among the most affordable in the US at only $120 per credit, and California school grants may further reduce these costs. Below is a list containing full details on some of California state grant programs:

    1. Cal Grant Community College Entitlement Award

    Students who are attending a California Community College (CCC) are eligible for the Cal Grant Community College Entitlement Award. To qualify, you must submit a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application along with a certified Cal Grant GPA no later than September 2. In the fall of 2023, new awards will be made available.

    Your eligibility for an appropriate Cal Grant award based on GPA and financial need will be determined once you submit your completed documents. 

    Depending on your income level, you could be eligible for either two multi-year grants — Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B.

    Cal Grant A

    This grant is for low to moderate-income students with a minimum high school GPA of 3.00 or a college GPA of 2.40. Cal Grant A also applies to programs lasting at least two academic years that result in 48-semester units, or the equivalent, of any associate or bachelor’s degree. However, this California school grant is only applicable to tuition & other school fees. In the event that the grant is awarded at a CCC, it will be held in reserve for up to two academic years until the student transfers to a school that charges tuition. 

    Cal Grant B

    This California education grant applies to low-income students who maintained a minimum of 2 GPA in high school and college. Cal Grant B covers programs lasting at least one academic year that lead to an associate, baccalaureate degree, or certificate with at least 24-semester units or the equivalent. 

    Unlike Cal Grant A, this California student grant offers an award amount to assist with tuition and other school fees and an additional annual Access Award to aid with living expenses. However, keep in mind that the tuition and fee award is only applicable during sophomore through senior years. The student will only receive the Access Award sum during their first year. 

    Cal Grant C

    The Cal Grant C program provides financial aid — in the form of free money — to students pursuing an occupational or technical program. Students must apply for FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application to apply. There is no GPA requirement for this college grant in California. 

    2. Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award

    Any community college student who plans to directly transfer to a four-year university in California is eligible for this educational grant. The main determining factor in qualifying for either a Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B under this award is your income level. However, regardless of your socioeconomic level, you must maintain a 2.4 GPA to qualify for the Transfer Entitlement Award. Deadline for applications is on March 2. Keep in mind that the eligibility requirements and included benefits for Cal Grant A and B of this award are the same as that of Cal Grant A and B of the Cal Grant Community College Entitlement Award. 

    3. Cal Grant Competitive Awards 

    Students who aren’t qualified for the awards listed above may still obtain educational grants through the Cal Grant Competitive Awards. This award is only limited to 13,000 awards each academic year, and to be considered, you need to meet the following general requirements:

    • Complete FAFSA or Dream Act Application
    • Not awarded a Cal Grant Entitlement award
    • Meets the additional Cal Grant eligibility requirements

    Also, your application is graded according to the details in your FAFSA, such as your parents’ educational background and your GPA. You may score one of the following grant types:

    Cal Grant A

    This grant type is for low to middle-income students who successfully scored a minimum of 3.00 high school GPA or 2.40 college GPA. Cal Grant A under the Competitive Awards can be applied to programs lasting at least two academic years that lead to 48-semester units, or the equivalent, of associate or bachelor degrees. However, this California school grant is only usable for tuition and other school fees. 

    Cal Grant B 

    This grant type is exclusive to low-income students with a minimum of 2.00 High School and College GPA. Cal Grant B applies to programs lasting at least one academic year that lead to an associate or baccalaureate degree or a certificate with at least 24-semester units or the equivalent. 

    It also provides an award to help with school tuition and fees and an additional annual Access Award to assist with living expenses. Like most B-type California Grants, students only receive the full amount of tuition and fee awards from the start of their sophomore years up until their senior years. This also means that students will only receive the Access Award during their first year. 

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