The State of California, through the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) sponsors the Cal Grant A, B, and C Programs for undergraduate students.
Types of Cal Grant Awards
Cal Grant A can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges as well as some occupational and career colleges. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers up to the full system-wide fees of $2,046 and $4,984, respectively. If you are attending a private college, it pays up to $9,708 towards tuition and fees. To get this Cal Grant, you need to be working toward a bachelor's degree.
Cal Grant B provides low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,551 for books and living expenses. After the freshman year, Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees in the same amount as a Cal Grant A. For a Cal Grant B, your coursework must be for at least one academic year.
Cal Grant C awards help pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career colleges. This $576 award is for books, tools and equipment. You may also receive up to an additional $2,592 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 vocational school. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of your program.
Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards are for students who aren't eligible for the entitlement awards. The main difference is that these awards are not guaranteed.
Cal Grant A Competitive Awards are for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who are from low-and middle-income families. These awards help pay tuition and fees at qualifying schools with academic programs that are at least two years in length.
Cal Grant B Competitive Awards are for students with a minimum 2.0 GPA who are from disadvantaged and low-income families. These awards can be used for tuition, fees and access costs at qualifying schools whose programs are at least one year in length. If you get a Cal Grant B Competitive Award it can only be used for access costs in the first year. These costs include living expenses, transportation, supplies and books. Beginning with the second year, you can use your Cal Grant B Competitive Award to help pay tuition and fees at public or private four-year colleges or other qualifying schools.
Requirements for a Cal Grant
- Submit the FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form by deadline
- Are a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- Are a California resident
- Are attending or going to be attending a qualifying California college
- Have not already earned a bachelor's or professional degree
- Have financial need at your college
- Have family income and assets below the ceilings
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress at your college
- Are in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
- Are enrolled at least half-time
- Have registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required to do so
- Do not owe a refund on any state or federal grant
- Are not in default on any student loan
Deadlines and Application Process
Applicants must file a FAFSA and GPA (Grade Point Average) Verification form by the deadline (March 2nd each year). A GPA verification form must be completed by your high school counselor.