Cal Grant, the nation’s largest state-funded college aid program, is a need-based grant that have helped many low-income Californians fund their college education.
Cal Grants is also available for undocumented students who qualify under the California Dream Act, which allows undocumented students who graduated from a California high school to receive state financial aid.3
Types of Cal Grants
There are three kinds of Cal Grants — A, B and C — but you don’t have to figure out which one to apply for as eligibility will be based on your FAFSA and choice of school.
- Cal Grant A
- Cal Grant B
- Cal Grant C
Cal Grant A helps pay for tuition and fees at four-year colleges. Award amounts vary by type of college — up to $12,570 at a University of California campus, up to $5,742 at a California State University campus, and up to $9,084 at independent colleges.
These awards are guaranteed for those students who have a high school GPA of no less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Cal Grant B provides low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. A 2.0 GPA is required.
Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,672 for educational-related 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.4
Cal Grant C awards are intended for students who are enrolled in a vocational, occupational or technical program at a Cal Grant eligible school, for up to 2 years.
Up to $1,094 can be used for tuition and fees, and include an additional amount for book and supplies.5 A GPA is not required.
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
- Be a California resident for at least 1 year
- Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent
- Be enrolled at least half-time at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California6
- Be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
- Must not owe a repayment or be in default status with federal student loans
- Must have substantial financial need as determined by the FAFSA
How to Apply?
To apply for a Cal Grant, you must complete and submit two forms: the FAFSA and the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form no later than March 2 each year.
AB 540 students may submit a California Dream Act Application instead of a FAFSA. This is a state form instead of a federal form.
Like the FAFSA, application deadline for all Dreamer Cal Grants must be submitted by March 2 in order to receive consideration.
- Each year the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) publishes income and asset ceilings for the Cal Grant Program eligibility.
- How much do you get for a Cal Grant?
- About 7,600 undocumented students received Cal Grants in 2015
- How much do you get for Cal Grant B?
- Up to $2,462 more for tuition and fees if you’ll be attending a school other than a California Community College
- Cal Grant Eligible School List