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Cal Grants

California student aid commission

If you are planning on attending a college or university in California, you may qualify for a Cal Grant. This is money from the state of California to use towards your education that you do not have to pay back. 


How do I apply for a Cal Grant?

  1. You must submit a FAFSA or CADAA
  2. Submit GPA verification
    • If you submit the FAFSA, you don't have to worry about this part- your high school automatically sends GPA verifications to the California Student Aid Commission
    • If you submit the CADAA, you may have to submit a Cal Grant GPA verification form. It needs to be printed and mailed to the California Student Aid Commission.
  3. Create an account on the Student Aid website and claim your award


General eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. Citizen or meet AB-540 eligibility
  • Be a California resident for at least one year
  • Attend a Cal Grant eligible school at least half-time
    • All California community colleges, UC's and CSU's are eligible, but some private colleges are not. Check out a complete list of eligible schools here



There are three different types of Cal Grants. Though you may qualify for more than one type, you may only receive aid from one. When you submit the FAFSA or CADAA, that information is sent to the California Student Aid Commission to determine which Cal Grant you are eligible for based on income, GPA and the type of institution you plan to attend.


Cal Grant A

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Low to middle income (see income ceilings)
  • Minimum 2 year program
    • Students attending community college will not receive Cal Grant payment, instead it will be placed on reserve for two years until they transfer to a four year institution
  • Maximum awards:
    • UC's: $12,570, CSU's: $5,742, private non-profits: $9,084
    • Can only be used towards tuition and fees

Cal Grant B

  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Lower income (see income ceilings)
  • Minimum 1 year program
  • $1,656 Access Award only during freshman year (to be used for living expenses)
  • Awards for tuition and fees given starting in the 2nd year of college (in addition to the Access Award)

Cal Grant C

  • No minimum GPA
  • Low to middle income (see income ceilings)
  • Minimum 4 month program
  • Maximum awards:
    • Community colleges: $1,094 for books/supplies 
    • Eligible private/vocational schools: $2,462 for tuition/fees plus $547 for books/supplies
  • Special consideration for priority  occupations



Other Grants Offered by California Student Aid Commission


Middle Class Scholarship 

  • For students pursuing a teaching credential
  • Income/assets must be less than $184,000
  • Must be enrolled at a UC or CSU at least half time
  • Maximum awards:
    • MCS scholarships are not set amounts and may vary by student and institution. The award amount is determined after you are awarded any federal, state, and institutional need-based grants for which you are eligible. The final award amount will be based on the number of students eligible for the MCS statewide and the funding allocated by the State Budget. Typically covers between 10% and 40% of tuition and fees.
  • Automatically considered after submitting FAFSA or CADAA

Chafee Grant

  • For foster youth (current or former; at least 1 day between the ages of 16-18)
  • Up to $5,000 per year
  • Can be renewed until the age 26 (but only 5 consecutive years)
  • Can be used at any Cal Grant eligible college
    • All CSU's, UC's and California community colleges are eligible. Some private colleges are eligible while others are not. Check out complete list of eligible schools here
  • Can receive Chafee and Cal Grant in the same year
  • Must submit FAFSA or CADAA and an additional Chafee Grant Application