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Cal Grants

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) awards Cal Grants to eligible California students. A grant is money that you don't need to pay back.

You apply for all Cal Grants – there are multiple types -- when you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act application and have your high school provide a verified grade point average (GPA) to CSAC.

Selection is based on financial need, academic performance and other factors. You must apply for a Cal Grant by the March 2 deadline by filing your FAFSA or Dream Act application and ensuring your school submits your verified GPA.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for All Cal Grant Programs

All Cal Grant recipients must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, eligible noncitizen, or AB 540-eligible
  • Be a California resident at the time of high school graduation and at the time you receive a Cal Grant or AB 540-eligible student
  • Meet U.S. Selective Service requirements (males)
  • Enroll in and attend a Cal Grant-eligible California school
  • Maintain at least half-time enrollment status
  • Have financial need at an eligible California school
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school
  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • Not have earned a bachelor's degree or higher degree (e.g., master's) or the equivalent
  • Not exceed parent or student income or asset ceiling
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal educational grant or have defaulted on a student loan
  • Not be incarcerated

Types of Cal Grants

Cal Grant A Entitlement Award

These awards are available to students who graduate from high school in 2000-2001 or later and achieve a minimum high school grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Your course of study at college should lead directly to an associate's and bachelor's degree, or qualify you to transfer from a community college to a bachelor's degree program.

Eligible students must have financial need at least equal to the amount of the award plus $1,656 and have family income and assets below the established ceilings.

Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards are for a maximum of the mandatory systemwide fees at the CSU, which is currently $5,742 (for the 2017-18 year).

Students must apply by filing the FAFSA or the California Dream Act application (CADA) and submitting a verified high school grade point average by March 2 of their senior year in order to receive the award for the following fall.

If you missed the deadline during your high school senior year, you can apply by March 2 of the year immediately following high school graduation.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Award

These awards are available to students who graduate from high school in 2000-2001 or later and achieve a minimum high school grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. Eligible students must have a minimum financial need of $700 and have family income and assets below the established ceilings. The income and asset ceilings for the Cal Grant B Entitlement awards are lower than those used for Cal Grant A Entitlement Awards.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Awards provide grant funds to low-income students i for a living allowance not to exceed $1,656 for an academic year; these funds can be used for books and supplies, transportation expenses, and living expenses for your first year at a two- or four-year college

With the second and subsequent years of Cal Grant B benefits, students are also eligible to receive an additional amount for tuition and mandatory systemwide fees. At the CSU, the tuition and fee award is currently $5,742.

Students must apply by filing the FAFSA and a verified high school GPA by March 2 of their senior year in order to receive the award for the following fall. If you missed the deadline during your high school senior year, you can apply by March 2 of the year immediately following high school graduation.

Cal Grant California Community College Transfer Entitlement Award

These awards are for students who graduated from a California high school after July 1, 2000; who did not apply for and receive a Cal Grant Entitlement Award upon high school graduation; and who are transferring from a California Community College to an eligible four-year institution in California. Students must have a minimum GPA of at least 2.4 on all transferable community college coursework.

Eligible students must be under the age of 28 and be pursuing a bachelor's degree in order to be eligible for a transfer entitlement award. Transfer entitlement awards will be either A or B depending on which income and asset ceilings the student falls under. Award levels will be the same as those for the A and B entitlement programs.

Cal Grant A and B Competitive Award

A limited number of Cal Grant awards are available for students who are not eligible to be considered for entitlement awards. Eligible students must meet all basic eligibility requirements; have financial need; and be under the income and asset ceilings. These awards are for students who are not graduating high school seniors or recent graduates; eligibility for these awards prioritizes nontraditional students.

Students will receive either A or B awards at grant levels referenced above for the entitlement programs. Visit the California Student Aid Commission to learn more about these grants.

Program Eligibility

Eligible students may receive up to a maximum of four years of full-time grant payments. The actual number of years of eligibility will depend on the student's class level at the time an award is initially received. Students who are enrolled in a mandatory five-year undergraduate program or who enroll in a teacher credential program may be eligible to receive a fifth year of Cal Grant eligibility.

Can I get Cal Grants to pay for summer semester (or quarter) classes?

Yes. If you plan to enroll in summer courses and wish to receive Cal Grant funds, you must notify the California Student Aid Commission or the school you're attending.

Summer Cal Grant payment amounts are based on the regular academic year grant and may not meet all summer tuition or charges. Summer payments will reduce a student's total program eligibility for Cal Grant benefits. A student must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for summer payment.

Can my Cal Grant Award eligibility be renewed or extended?

Depending on your level of education during your first term of grant payment, the award may be renewed for up to four years of full-time attendance.

College seniors are not eligible to renew a Cal Grant unless enrolled in a mandatory five-year undergraduate program or an approved teacher credential program.