Types of Aid

Grants, Loans, Scholarships, And All That Good Stuff.

The graphic below visually displays various types of aid that are available to you. But it’s important to note that there are financial responsibilities that come with certain types of aid:

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Financial Aid you DO NOT have to pay back:

  • Grants*
  • Scholarships
  • Fee Waivers
     

Financial Aid you DO have to pay back:

  • Loans
     

Financial Aid that you EARN and DO NOT have to pay back:

  • Work Study
     
Compare Types of Aid Scroll right for more
Grant/Scholarship When to apply Who do I contact or where do I apply? What is it? Type of application required
California College Promise Grant Apply now for current year and annually thereafter Financial Aid Office Waives community college enrollment fees for eligible students FAFSA, CADAA* or California College Promise Grant Application
Assistance from EOPS, CARE and CalWORKs Apply now EOPS, CARE and CalWORKs Offices Varies; may include services such as textbook vouchers or other types of financial aid for those who meet specific eligibility requirements Insitutional application(s)
Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B Community College Transfer Entitlement Application period is October 1- March 2 annually for the following Fall term Financial Aid Office or California Student Aid Commission Grant award covering tuition and education-related expenses for eligible students transferring to a baccalaureate degree granting institution FAFSA or CADAA* and GPA Verification Form**
Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B Entitlement Application period is October 1- March 2 annually for the following Fall term Financial Aid Office or California Student Aid Commission Grant award covering education-related expenses for eligible students in occupational or career technical programs FAFSA or CADAA* and GPA Verification Form**
Cal Grant C Application period is October 1 - March 2 annually for the following Fall term (number of awards are limited) Financial Aid Office or California Student Aid Commission Cal Grant recipients can get an additional $1,298 per year (if enrolled in at least 12 units per sememster) or up to $4,000 per year (if enrolled in at least 15 units per sememster) FAFSA or CADAA*,
Cal Grant C Supplemental Form and GPA Verification Form**
Student Success Completion Grant Application period is October 1 - March 2 annually to recieve the most aid possible Financial Aid Office Cal Grant recipients can get an additional $1,298 per year (if enrolled in at least 12 units per sememster) or up to $4,000 per year (if enrolled in at least 15 units per sememster) FAFSA or CADAA*
Chafee Grant Apply as soon as possible each year (applications open in October; number of awards are limited) Financial Aid Office or California Student Aid Commission Grant award covering education-related expenses for eligible foster youth FAFSA or CADAA* and Chafee Grant Application
Privately Funded Insitutional Scholarships Apply annually by deadlines – check with your college Scholarship or Financial Aid Offices Helps pay for education-related expenses Insitutional application(s)

*To apply for any or all of the financial aid programs requiring the California Dream Act Application (CADAA), you only need to complete and submit ONE application.
**Refer to the GPA information available on the California Dream Act website to help determine who needs to certify your GPA. If you have further questions, check with your financial aid officer.

High Definition: Defining All Types Of Financial Assistance

After you’ve explored the graphic below, dive deeper into exactly how these types of aid can make it easier to achieve your educational goals. Expand each box by hitting the “+” button below.

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You’ll find a lot of useful information below to help you apply for the financial aid that’s right for you. But you may have other questions, and if so, use our handy financial aid office locator to get in touch with an expert at a college near you. You can also search for upcoming financial aid workshops near you by using our workshop locator tool.

Student Guide: Aid awarded based on financial need, not grades.

Federal Grants don't have to be paid back (unless you withdraw from your courses and have been determined to owe a refund*).

Federal grants, like Pell Grants or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, are awarded based on financial need, not grades or class rank.

Pell Grant: Up to $6,195 per year.

Three types of Cal Grants are available, but you only need to complete one form to apply for them all.

Complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. The information you provide in your application form will be used to determine your eligibility for all types of financial aid, including Cal Grants. Once your financial aid information is reviewed, you will receive a written notice from your college (via email or mail) about what grants you will be awarded.

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The financial aid office will continue to be in contact with you about the status of your financial aid award, so make sure you read and respond to emails from your college to make sure they have all the information needed from you in order to determine and pay out any grants you may be eligible to receive.

In 2019-20, a new Cal Grant Access award will be created for Cal Grant A, B and C recipients who have dependents attending a California community college, UC or CSU. 

Award amounts are:
Cal A = $6,000
Cal B = $6,000
Cal C = $4,000

Cal Grants are funded by the State of California for students attending California colleges and universities. They are available if you can meet eligibility requirements based on the information you provide in your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). To get the most aid available, submit your application by the March 2 Cal Grant deadline. Learn more here.

For current high school seniors and recent high school graduates

Who is considered for a High School Entitlement Award
  • Current high school seniors and last year’s high school graduates
  • Students who meet the general Cal Grant eligibility requirements
How to Apply
  • Submit a FAFSA or CADAA by March 2
  • Submit a high school GPA to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2
  • Create an account at WebGrants after you submit your FAFSA or CADAA for your award status

Once you submit your completed FAFSA or CADAA and high school GPA you will be considered for the appropriate Cal Grant award based on GPA, financial need and college of attendance.

Cal Grant A

Can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges and universities, but cannot be used at a California community college, unless you are enrolled in a Bachelor Degree Pilot Program.

At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees up to $5,742 and $12,570 respectively. If you attend a private college, it pays up to $9,084 toward tuition and fees. To get this Cal Grant, you must be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.

  • For low to middle income students
  • 3.00 high school GPA minimum
  • May be used for a program that is at least two academic years in length resulting in an associate or bachelor’s degree of 48 semester units or the equivalent (can only be used for tuition and fees)
  • If attending a California community college, will be held in reserve up to two academic years until student transfers to an eligible public California university or private college
Cal Grant B
  • For low income students
  • 2.00 high school GPA minimum
  • May be used for a program that is at least one academic year in length resulting in an associate, bachelor’s degree or certificate of at least 24 semester units or the equivalent
  • Includes an additional annual Access Award amount (living expenses)
  • Sophomore through senior year students will receive tuition and fees plus Access Award at an eligible public California university or private college
Cal Grant C
  • Can be used to cover tuition and training costs for occupational, technical or vocational programs.
  • This $1,094 award is for books, tools and equipment. You may also receive up to an additional $2,462 for tuition at a school other than a California community college.
  • To qualify, you must enroll in a vocational program that is at least four months long at a California community college, private college or a career technical school.
  • Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of your program.

For students who plan to transfer directly from a California community college to a four-year university that offers a bachelor degree in the academic year that they are applying for the award.

Who is considered for a Transfer Entitlement Award
  • Students who plan to transfer directly from a California community college to a four-year university that offers a bachelor degree in the award year. There cannot be a gap in enrollment between attendance at the California community college and the four-year university.
  • Students who are under the age of 28 by December 31 of the award year.
  • Students who meet the general Cal Grant eligibility requirements.
  • Students who graduated from a California high school after June 30, 2000 and were California residents (or if you applied through the Dream Act application, living in California) at the time of high school graduation.
  • Students that did not graduate from high school, but were a California resident (or if you applied through the Dream Act application, living in California) on their 18th birthday.
How to Apply
  • Complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by March 2.
  • Submit a California Community College GPA based on 24 completed units to the California Student Aid Commission by March 2.
  • After you are preliminarily awarded you must complete a Transfer Entitlement Certification form at WebGrants for Students

Once you submit your completed FAFSA/CADAA and high school GPA you will be considered for the appropriate Cal Grant award based on GPA, financial need and college of attendance.

Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement A

Can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges and universities. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees up to $5,742 and $12,570 respectively. If you attend a private college, it pays up to $9,084 toward tuition and fees. To get this Cal Grant, you must be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.

  • For low to middle income students
  • 2.40 California community college GPA minimum
  • May be used for a bachelor’s degree at UC, CSU, or private California colleges and universities
  • Can only be used for tuition and fees
Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement B

Can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges and universities. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees up to $5,742 and $12,570 respectively plus a $1,672 Access award. If you attend a private college, it pays up to $9,084 in tuition and fees plus a $1,672 Access award. To get this Cal Grant, you must be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.

  • For low income students
  • 2.40 California community college GPA minimum
  • May be used for a bachelor’s degree at UC, CSU, or private California colleges and universities
  • Includes an additional annual Access Award amount for living expenses

Waives tuition

The California College Promise Grant is available for eligible students at California community colleges and waives per-unit tuition. More than 1 million students got this grant last year... now it’s your turn! You will automatically be considered for this grant when completing the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. Visit the California College Promise Grant page for more information.

More classes. More Money.

With the Student Success Completion Grant, you could get up to $4,000 a year so you can take more classes. This will help you stay on track, earn your degree faster and get you on the path to your dream career. That’s great, right? The more classes you take, the more money you’re eligible to receive (all you have to do is submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application by March 2).

If you are a full-time student and a full-time Cal Grant B or C recipient, the Student Success Completion Grant will give you an additional $1,298 (if you’re attending 12-14 units per semester) or up to $4,000 (if you’re attending 15+ units per semester). These amounts are in addition to the annual Cal Grant awards you’re eligible to receive! So, if you take at least 15 units per semester, you’ll receive the most money available.

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Usually 12 units is about four classes and 15 units is about 5 classes. So, taking just ONE more class per semester could mean up to $4,000 in financial aid for the year. And, taking 15 units will also help you complete your program faster.

How Do You Get It?

Just complete the FAFSA or the California Dream Act Application and your financial aid office will determine your eligibility and automatically award this grant. The FAFSA form and California Dream Act Application are available each year beginning on October 1.

In order to receive the Cal Grant and Student Success Completion Grant, complete the forms as soon as possible so you can receive the most aid available, (make sure you apply no later than the March 2 Cal Grant deadline). But know that if you miss the March 2 deadline, it’s not too late to apply for other forms of financial aid that are available year-round!

You Can Do It!

Remember, full-time attendance is 12 units per semester (about 4 classes). However, to earn an associate degree in two years and receive up to $4,000 in financial aid, you will need to take at least 15 units per semester (about 5 classes). You’ve got this, it’s totally manageable. Your college counselor is there for you and will help you set up an education plan, which outlines the classes you need each semester to achieve your college goals.

Download the Student Success Completion Grant flyer.

Aid for active duty, veterans and military dependents

In addition to financial aid, you can also apply for veterans benefits. The State of California provides education assistance to veterans, active-duty military and dependents through CalVet. To confirm your eligibility status and apply for veterans benefits, visit gibill.va.gov. To find out more about financial aid for veterans, active duty military, survivors and dependents, click here.

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Be sure to apply to the college that offers your program of interest before applying for your benefits.

Anyone can be eligible to receive a scholarship!

Thousands of easy-to-find scholarships exist. Yes, you might be able to get a scholarship for being a good student or an all-star athlete. But you may also receive aid if you’re a member of a certain church, if your parent works for a certain company or if you’re interested in pursuing a certain career path – just to name a few.

Scholarships generally do not have to be repaid, and the types of scholarships available can vary from college to college. And there’s help for you at your high school or community college. Check with your high school or community college scholarship office to find out about the scholarships available and how to apply. To search for free scholarship opportunities, click here.

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Legitimate scholarships do not require fees or payment. All scholarship applications will be free to apply. Also, do not supply personal information (such as Social Security Number or bank information) before checking with your financial aid office.

One type of scholarship that’s available at every California community college is the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment (CCCSE-Osher). LEARN MORE.

Private and Federal aid that you’ll need to pay back

Student loans that cover your college costs need to be paid back in full, plus interest. Before you apply for a student loan, make sure you have explored all of your financial aid options. There are loans available through the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, as well as private lenders who provide education loans. Generally speaking, the federal loan program rules provide significantly better terms and rates and greater flexibility in repayment. It’s important to note that not all California community colleges offer student loans. Talk to your financial aid office to see if loans are necessary and, if so, what types of loans might be available to you.

Financial aid that works with flexible, part-time employment

Work study programs are a great way for you to earn money for college through part-time jobs on campus or in the community. If work study is offered as part of your financial aid package, the amount you can ultimately receive will depend on your financial aid award and how many hours you can work. Talk to your financial aid office about your options. Work study jobs are often offered throughout the school year as well as during summer sessions.

Working 10-15 hours a week will ease your financial burden and, according to some studies, can help improve your grades and time management skills in the process. Many employers look at past work experience when hiring new staff. So, work study can give you valuable workplace skills, as well as a possible advantage when applying for a job after college.