Application Process

How to Apply for a Cal Grant

To apply for a Cal Grant, you must complete and submit two forms: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form between January 1 and March 2* of the year immediately before the fall term in which you would like to use your Cal Grant.

The FAFSA is also the application used to apply for financial aid from the federal government, including federal Pell Grants, as well as financial aid from colleges. You can submit the FAFSA online,or complete the PDF version of the FAFSA and mail it, or complete the paper FAFSA, available by calling toll free 800.433.3243. Get a federal personal identification number, or PIN, ahead of time to electronically sign the online FAFSA. If you’re a dependent student, your parents can also get a PIN to e-sign your FAFSA.

If you’ll be mailing the FAFSA or the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, be sure to get a Certificate of Mailing from the Post Office ($1.15 plus postage) as evidence you met the Cal Grant March 2* application deadline. (The FAFSA must be mailed to the federal processor and the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form must be mailed to the California Student Aid Commission.)

If you or your parents are in a Registered Domestic Partnership at the time you submitted your FAFSA, you’ll need to complete the G-37: Cal Grant Registered Domestic Partner Reporting Form (284kb) to be considered for a Cal Grant.

Need help completing the FAFSA or other forms? See your high school counselor or college financial aid administrator, or attend a free California Cash for College workshop.

Check out the Cal Grants Web site for more information.

What To Do If You Miss the Cal Grant Deadline?

*Missed the March 2 deadline? There is a secondary deadline, specifically for California Community College students, September 2. Submit the required forms before the September 2 deadline to be considered for this specific Cal Grant. There is a limited number available.

To be considered for other state, federal and college financial aid, you should still complete the FAFSA. Find more information about money for college in the Fund Your Future brochure and the More Ways to Pay Fact Sheet.

Contact your financial aid office to learn more about financial aid opportunities.

Out-of-State Students
In most cases, Cal Grants are only for California residents—those who have or will be a California resident for at least one year by the application deadline. If you’re under 18 years of age, your residency is determined by your parent's state of legal residence.

Financial Aid Checklists
Use these checklists to help you plan and pay for college.

Explore Colleges

Take some time to explore colleges:

California Community Colleges

California State University System

University of California

Independent Colleges and Universities

We’re Here to Help

If you have questions or need help applying for student aid, contact your school, call us toll free at 888.224.7268 or email us at