Skip Navigation

Financial Aid Overview

<<< STEP 3: UNDERSTANDING THE TYPES OF FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE

Cal Grants

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) awards Cal Grants to eligible California students.

You apply for all Cal Grants when completing your FAFSA or DREAM Application and having your high school provide a verified grade point average (GPA) to CSAC. Selection is based on financial need, academic performance, and other factors. Cal Grant A is available to assist with registration fees for low- and middle-income students; for Cal Grant B, disadvantaged background is also considered; for Cal Grant C, vocational interest and aptitude are considered. You must apply for a Cal Grant by the March 2 deadline by filing your FAFSA or DREAM Application and having your school submit your verified GPA.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for All Cal Grant Programs

All Cal Grant recipients must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, eligible noncitizen, or permanent resident (or an eligible CA Dream Applicant)
  • Be a California resident at the time of high school graduation and at the time you receive a Cal Grant (or eligible AB 540 student)
  • Meet U.S. Selective Service requirements
  • Enroll in and attend an eligible California university, college, or vocational school
  • Maintain no less than half-time enrollment status
  • Have financial need at an eligible California school
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school
  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • Not have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree (e.g., MA) or the equivalent
  • Not exceed parent or student income or asset ceiling
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal educational grant or have defaulted student loans

Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards

These awards are available to students who graduate from high school in 2000-2001 or later and achieve a minimum high school grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Eligible students must have financial need at least equal to the amount of the award plus $1,656 and have family income and assets below the established ceilings. Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards will be for a maximum of the mandatory system wide fees at CSU, currently $5,472. Even though this is an “entitlement” award, students must apply by filing the FAFSA and a verified grade point average by March 2 of their senior year in high school in order to receive the award for the following fall. If you missed the deadline during your high school senior year you can apply by March 2 of the year immediately following high school graduation.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Awards

These awards are available to students who graduate from high school in 2000-2001 or later and achieve a minimum high school grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Eligible students must have a minimum financial need of $700 and have family income and assets below the established ceilings. The income and asset ceilings for the Cal Grant B Entitlement awards are lower than those used for Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Awards provide grant funds for access costs for low-income students in an amount not to exceed $1,656 for an academic year. These funds can be used for books and supplies, transportation expenses, and living expenses. With the second and subsequent years of Cal Grant B benefits, students are also eligible to receive an additional amount for tuition and mandatory system wide fees which at the CSU are currently $5,472 in 2015-16. Even though this is an “entitlement” award, students must apply by filing the FAFSA and a verified GPA by March 2 of their senior year in high school in order to receive the award for the following fall. If you missed the deadline during your high school senior year you can apply by March 2 of the year immediately following high school graduation.

Cal Grant Community College Transfer Entitlement Awards

These awards are for students who graduated from a California high school no earlier than July 1, 2000, who did not apply for and receive a Cal Grant Entitlement Award upon high school graduation, and who are transferring from a California Community College to an eligible four-year institution in California. Students must have a minimum GPA of at least 2.4 on all transferable community college coursework.

Eligible students must be under the age of 28 and be pursuing a bachelor's degree in order to be eligible for a transfer entitlement award. Transfer entitlement awards will be either A or B depending on which income and asset ceilings the student falls under. Award levels will be the same as those for the A and B entitlement programs.

Competitive Cal Grant A and B Awards

A limited number of Cal Grant awards are available for students who are not eligible to be considered for entitlement awards. Eligible students must meet all basic eligibility requirements, have financial need, and be under the income and asset ceilings. Students must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 but since the awards are competitive a higher GPA will likely be required in order to receive an award. Students will receive either A or B awards at grant levels referenced above for the entitlement programs.

Program Eligibility

Eligible students may receive up to a maximum of four years of full-time grant payments. The actual number of years of eligibility will depend on the student's class level at the time an award is initially received. Students who are enrolled in a mandatory five-year undergraduate program or who enroll in a teacher credential program may be eligible to receive a fifth year of Cal Grant eligibility.

Can you get Cal Grants to pay for Summer Semester/Quarter classes?

Yes. If you plan to enroll in summer courses and wish to receive Cal Grant funds you must notify the California Student Aid Commission or the school you are attending.

Summer Cal Grant payment amounts are based on the regular academic year grant and may not meet all summer tuition or charges. Summer payments will reduce a student's total program eligibility for Cal Grant benefits. A student must be enrolled at least halftime to be eligible for summer payment.

Can your Cal Grant Award eligibility be renewed or extended?

Depending on the student's level of education during his or her first term of grant payment, the award may be renewed for up to four years of full-time attendance.

College seniors are not eligible to renew a Cal Grant unless enrolled in a mandatory five-year undergraduate program or an approved teaching-credential program.

Copyright © 1997-2017 XAP Corporation. All rights reserved. XAP and Mentor are registered trademarks of XAP Corporation. Reg. U.S. Pat. & TM Off. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the XAP Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.