Ten Things you Need to Know About California's Middle Class Scholarship

  1. The Middle Class Scholarship (MCS)
    • The Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) is a new program beginning in the 2014-15 academic year that provides undergraduate students with family incomes up to $150,000 a scholarship to attend University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses.

  2. Students must meet the following requirements:
    • Be a California resident attending a UC or CSU; be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or have AB 540* student status; meet certain income and other financial aid standards; maintain satisfactory academic progress; not be in default on a student loan; and, must not be incarcerated.

  3. Apply starting January 1, 2014:
    • Complete a 2014-15 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov or the California Dream Act Application at caldreamact.org. Use the California Dream Act Application if you do not have a Social Security number (SSN) or if you have a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) number. Make sure your email address is listed on your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application.

  4. If your family earns up to $100,000 per year:
    • You may be eligible for a scholarship of up to 40 percent of the mandatory systemwide tuition and fees: The maximum award amount is a lesser percentage of mandatory systemwide tuition and fees for each academic year beginning in 2014-15 at 14%, 2015-16 (20%), and 2016-17 (30%)

  5. Students whose families earn between $100,001 and $150,000 per year:
    • May be eligible for a reduced scholarship of no less than 10 percent of the mandatory systemwide tuition and fees.

  6. MCS scholarships are not set amounts and may vary by student and institution:
    • The award is determined after you are awarded any federal Pell Grant, Cal Grant 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.

  7. The MCS is being phased in over four years:
    • Each academic year, the maximum amount of the scholarship will increase until 2017-18, when the maximum scholarship award will be up to 40 percent of the mandatory systemwide fees and tuition.

  8. To get assistance completing the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application:
    • Attend a Cash for College workshop January 1 thru March 2. Students must reapply each year. Visit www.calgrants.org for locations.

  9. If you are selected to receive a MCS:
    • If you are selected to receive a MCS, you will be notified by the Commission.

  10. Need more information about this scholarship?:
    • Contact your UC or CSU campus Financial Aid Office or check the California Student Aid Commissionís website for updates.


*Students need to meet the following Assembly Bill (AB) 540 qualifications:
  • Attend a California high school for a minimum of 3 years;
  • Graduate from a California high school or pass the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) or get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED);
  • Enroll in an accredited and qualified California college or university; and,
  • If applicable, fill out an affidavit stating your intent to legalize your immigration status as soon as possible.
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