Next Generation

Cal Grant facts

By From page A8 | November 06, 2012

What is a Cal Grant?

Cal Grants are entitlements funded by the state of California. The awards do not have to be paid back.

How to apply for a Cal Grant:

* Complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is a federal form that must be filed by any student who wants to be considered for college financial aid.

For a Cal Grant, the FAFSA must be completed and filed with the federal processor by March 2 of each year. Get a federal personal identification number, or PIN, to electronically sign the FAFSA on the Web. Parents can also get a PIN to e-sign dependent students’ FAFSA. Students also may download a PDF version of the FAFSA that can be mailed for processing or call 800-433-3243 to have a paper FAFSA sent.

* File a verified grade-point average with the California Student Aid Commission no later than March 2. Some high schools and colleges automatically file their students’ verified GPAs with the commission. Some do not. Students must confirm whether their schools will file the GPA or if they should obtain a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, get it certified by a school official and mail it themselves.

What are the Cal Grant categories?

Cal Grant A Entitlement awards can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges as well as some private career colleges. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers systemwide fees up to $5,970 and $12,192, respectively. It pays up to $9,223 toward tuition and fees at private colleges. To get this Cal Grant, students need to be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.

Cal Grant B Entitlement awards provide low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,473 for books and living expenses. After 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, coursework must be for at least one academic year.

Cal Grant C awards help pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career technical schools. This $547 award is for books, tools and equipment. Students also may receive up to an additional $2,462 for tuition at a school other than a California community college. To qualify, students 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 the 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..

What are the Cal Grant income ceilings?

Cal Grant B ceilings range from $33,600 for a family of two to $50,900 for a family of six or more.

Cal Grant A and C ceilings range from $72,000 for a family of two to $92,600 for a family of six or more.

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

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