California Cal Grant

A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back and it all starts with FAFSA.

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.

These grants of $1,094 to up to $12,570 a year are guaranteed to students who meet income, GPA and residency requirements. 1

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.

Types of Cal Grants #

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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 #

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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 #

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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.

Cal Grant C #

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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. Up to $2,462 more for tuition and fees if you’ll be attending a school other than a California Community College. A GPA is not required.


For students who aren’t eligible for the above Cal Grant Entitlement awards may apply for Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards. Students are selected based on information from their FAFSA and their GPA.

How do I qualify for a Cal Grant? #

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  1. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
  2. Be a California resident for at least 1 year
  3. Have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent
  4. Be enrolled at least half-time at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well 5. As qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California 2
  5. Be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  6. Must not owe a repayment or be in default status with federal student loans
  7. Must have substantial financial need as determined by the FAFSA

How do I apply for a Cal Grant? #

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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.


  1. Each year the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) publishes income and asset ceilings for the Cal Grant Program eligibility.
  2. Cal Grant Eligible School List