Cal Grant FAQ

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How do I get a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program?

If you’re not enrolled at least half time for any term, you must request a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program. You are allotted a maximum of 4 semesters/6 quarters (200%) of leave of absence throughout the lifetime of your Cal Grant award. Extensions may be granted for extenuating circumstances for students that submit a Cal Grant Appeal.

You can view your leave of absence remaining balance and request leave of absences by logging into your www.webGrants4students.org account. In addition, you may ask your school to report a leave of absence on your behalf. Keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to make sure that the Commission has been informed of your leave.

If you’re on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard, you may have your Cal Grant deferred for up to three years. Simply fill out a Deferment Request Form or write to:

Our Mailing Address

California Student Aid Commission
Attn: Active Duty Deferment Processing
P.O. Box 419026
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9026

When will I receive my Cal Grant funds?

Your Cal Grant funds will first go to your school, so you should contact your school’s financial aid office for information on its disbursement policies. Schools disburse the funds to their students based on their disbursement schedules. Since the school is responsible for payments, you will need to work with your financial aid office to resolve issues with payments. If the school determines that a student is not eligible, they have the authority to withdraw the award.

Note: In order to receive a Cal Grant payment, you must be attending at least half-time, provide all necessary documentation to your school, and maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress as reported by your school.

How do I renew my Cal Grant?

If you’ve already received a Cal Grant, whether or not you’re receiving payments or it’s on reserve status, you don’t need to submit a verified Cal Grant GPA to renew your award for the next year. However, you will need to submit the FAFSA for each academic year of renewal. To submit your FAFSA, please go online to www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Beginning with the 2011-12 academic year, students have to meet income, asset and minimum need criteria to be considered for a renewal Cal Grant award. For more details, please go to the “About Senate Bill 70” page on our website.

In July, you should receive notification from the Commission regarding your renewal status. You can also log in to your WebGrants for Students account to check on your Cal Grant status. Please read the Cal Grant Renewal Important Program Facts sheet for an explanation of your renewal options, and follow the directions on the sheet to make the best use of your Cal Grant award.

How do I make changes or corrections to my California Aid Report?

For new Cal Grant applicants:
If you’re a new Cal Grant applicant and received a letter that states you were placed “on hold” until the Commission receives corrected data, and the correction form was not received, you may use the Cal Grant Application Correction Form. You’ll need to complete the G-23 form, with all the requested changes, and submit it right away to have further consideration for the Cal Grant. Any delay in returning this form will result in either a delay in the processing of your application or possible disqualification.

For current Cal Grant recipients:
Have you recently moved, changed schools, or changed your name? If so, then you’ll need to complete the Grant Record Change Form for Students and submit it to the Commission as soon as possible.

The Grant Record Change Form for Students can also be used to notify the Commission of any changes to your attendance. Have you changed schools or changed your course of study? You may also use the Grant Record Change Form for Students to let the Commission know about these changes. Please keep in mind that any changes to your school (for example, changing from an independent college to a community college), living arrangement (moving from the dorms to your parents’ house), changing your course of study (pursuing a bachelor’s degree instead of a vocational certificate) may affect your eligibility for a Cal Grant. Before you make any changes, please talk to your college’s financial aid office to see if these changes may affect your eligibility for a Cal Grant.

How do I make a school change?

After you have been awarded a Cal Grant, you can update your school of attendance online on WebGrants for Students (WGS). Please ensure that you are using a Windows based desktop computer and the Internet Explorer browser for best results. Other browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have not been found to be compatible. Mac Computers, Tablets, and smartphones are also not recommended to use to log in to WGS.

Renewal students will not be able to make a school change until they have been awarded. Updates to renewal awards will be posted in late July. You cannot update your school prior to being awarded.

To report a school change:

Log-in to WebGrants for Students (WGS) at www.webgrants4students.org. If this is your first time visiting WGS, you will need to create a WGS account by clicking the link that says, “Create an Account.”

Once you are logged on, click on “Cal Grant Main Menu.”

Click the link that says, “Submit School Change.”

Select an eligible Cal Grant school from the drop down list under the, “School Change To” section.

Select the “Term Change to Occur.”

Then hit the “Submit Change” box to process the school change.

If you are still having a problem with making the school change online, fill out a Grant Record Change Form (G-10), complete Section 1, 2, and 6, and respond back to this email with the scanned PDF copy of the completed form. Once received, please allow the appropriate time for processing. All forms can be submitted as a PDF document by email at studentsupport@csac.ca.gov. Email will be the quickest way for your form to get processed.

What is a Cal Grant?

A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back. To qualify, you must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the deadline and meet the eligibility and financial requirements as well as any minimum GPA requirements. Cal Grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California.

There are three kinds of Cal Grants — A, B and C — but you don’t have to figure out which one to apply for. Your eligibility will be based on your FAFSA or CADAA responses, your verified Cal Grant GPA, the type of California colleges you list on your FAFSA and whether you’re a recent high school graduate. To learn more about the qualifications, go to Calgrants.org.

Headed to a four-year college?

Cal Grant A

  • will help pay for tuition and fees at four-year colleges
  • award amounts vary by type of college — for 2018-2019, Cal Grants are up to $12,630 at a University of California campus, up to $5,742 at a California State University campus, and up to $9,084 at independent colleges
  • has a GPA requirement. If you’re applying using your high school GPA, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA; if applying using your college GPA, you must have at least a 2.4 GPA
  • requires that your course of study leads directly to an associate or bachelor’s degree, or qualifies you for transfer from a community college to a bachelor’s degree program

Cal Grant B

  • provides a living allowance of up to $1,672, in addition to tuition and fee assistance after the first year, at a two- or four-year college
  • pays most first-year students a living allowance only, which may be used to pay living expenses, books, supplies and transportation, as well as tuition and fees
  • when renewed or awarded beyond your first year, you’ll receive the living allowance as well as a tuition and fee award (up to $12,630 at a UC campus, up to $5,742 at a CSU campus and up to $9,084 at independent colleges for 2018-2019)
  • requires at least a 2.0 GPA
  • Interested in a technical, vocational or career education?

Cal Grant C

  • assists with the costs of a technical or career education
  • provides up to $1,094 for books, tools and equipment—and up to $2,462 more for tuition and fees if you’ll be attending a school other than a California Community College (community colleges don’t charge tuition and your fees will be waived as a Cal Grant recipient)
  • is available for up to two years

If you qualify, you’ll receive an email or letter notification to complete the online Cal Grant C Supplement in Web Grants for Students by the deadline. Even though a GPA is not required to apply for a Cal Grant C, you’re still encouraged to submit yours because it can only help your chances of receiving an award.

How do I qualify for a Cal Grant?

Cal Grants are for students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational or career training, and do not have to be repaid. In addition to meeting the financial criteria and Cal Grant requirements, you must:

  • submit the FAFSA or Dream Act application and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
  • be a California resident for 1 year
  • attend a qualifying California college
  • not have a bachelor’s or professional degree
  • have financial need at the college of your choice
  • have family income and assets below the minimum levels
  • be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time
  • have registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required to do so
  • not owe a refund on any state or federal grant or be in default on a student loan
  • not be incarcerated
  • maintain the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards as established by the school. Recipients who do not meet the standards are ineligible for Cal Grant payment and will not use eligibility during the terms they are ineligible for payment.

What is the “Cal Grant guarantee”?

If you’re a high school senior or transferring from a community college to a 4 year school, meet all the requirements, have financial need, apply by March 2nd and graduate from a California high school (or receive your GED), you’re guaranteed to receive a Cal Grant award. Be sure to check out the details.

You have three chances to apply:

  • As a high school senior
  • Within one year after graduating from high school or receiving your GED
  • As a California Community College transfer student, if you meet the requirements

How do I apply for a Cal Grant?

Learn how to apply for a Cal Grant in two easy steps!

When will I know if I’ve received a Cal Grant?

After you apply, you can track the status of your Cal Grant application online by using WebGrants for Students. Log on to set up your personal, confidential account.

If you qualify for a Cal Grant Entitlement award and your application was received on time and needs no corrections, you will recieve a Cal Grant Eligibility Notification after November. After following the steps in the notification to select your school of attendance, you should receive a California Aid Report (CAR). If you have not heard from the Commission by June 30th, please call toll free 888.224.7268 or Log on to your Webgrants4students account to check your status under view my award details.

If you’re applying for a Cal Grant Competitive award (you aren’t a high school senior and you didn’t graduate from high school the previous year or you plan to attend a California Community College and missed the March 2nd deadline), you should receive a CAR by the end of May. If you have not heard from the Commission by mid-June, please call toll free 888.224.7268 or e-mail studentsupport@csac.ca.gov to check on the status of your application.

If you’re applying to renew your Cal Grant, you should receive your notification for renewal by mid-July. If you are a renewal Cal Grant student and you have not heard from the Commission by August 1, please call toll free 888.224.7268 or e-mail studentsupport@csac.ca.gov.

Can I get a Cal Grant if I’m going to a community college?

If you’ll be attending a California Community College in the fall and you missed the March 2 Cal Grant application deadline, you have a second opportunity to apply for a Cal Grant by September 2. Since the number of awards available in September is limited, you should try to meet the March 2 deadline.

If you receive a Cal Grant A but decide to attend a California Community College first, your award will be held in reserve for up to two years until you transfer to a four-year college (as a Cal Grant recipient, your community college fees will be waived and community colleges don’t charge tuition). Be sure to inform the California Student Aid Commission of any address changes during this time. When you’re ready to transfer, be sure to notify the Commission so that your Cal Grant eligibility can be re-evaluated. Also, let your new college know that you have a Cal Grant A Reserve Grant.

If you receive a Cal Grant B, you can use your $1,672 living allowance to help pay for books and other community college costs. (If you do, however, keep in mind that you’ll be using up Cal Grant eligibility that you may instead want to save if you’re planning to transfer to a four-year college.)

If you’re pursuing a career or technical education, you can use your Cal Grant C award to pay for books and supplies at a community college.

If you didn’t receive a Cal Grant for community college, you may qualify for a Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement award to attend a four-year college.

When will I receive my Cal Grant funds?

Your Cal Grant funds will first go to your school, so you should contact your school’s financial aid office for information on its disbursement policies. Schools disburse the funds to their students based on their disbursement schedules. Since the school is responsible for payments, you will need to work with your financial aid office to resolve issues with payments. If the school determines that a student is not eligible, they have the authority to withdraw the award.

Note: In order to receive a Cal Grant payment, you must be attending at least half-time, provide all necessary documentation to your school, and maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress as reported by your school.

What happens if I’m “disqualified” or determined to be ineligible for a Cal Grant?

For the Cal Grant A or B Entitlement awards: If you receive a letter stating you were disqualified for a Cal Grant and you feel this was in error, you may be able submit an appeal depending on the reason. In your appeal, please state why you feel you are eligible and submit all documentation supporting your appeal. If you believe you were denied due to an error, be sure to submit any documentation supporting the correction of that error. If you don’t have any documentation to support your corrections, you may submit an appeal. However, the Commission may not be able to overturn the denial. You will need to work with your college or high school because you’ll also need certification from your school verifying your request to correct any errors.

For Cal Grant A or B Competitive awards: If you’re applying for a Cal Grant A Competitive award or Cal Grant B Competitive award (you’re not a current high school senior or a recent graduate) and you received a disqualification letter, you’ll need to reapply next year unless you’re planning to attend a California Community College in the fall. If you’ll be attending a community college in the fall and correct your Student Aid Report before the Cal Grant September 2 deadline. If you receive your denial after the September 2 deadline, you’ll need to apply again next year.

If you don’t qualify for a Cal Grant this year, you’re encouraged to apply again next year.

In the meantime, visit your local library or search the Web for other financial aid resources or scholarships that are available. You can also make an appointment with your college’s financial aid office to learn what campus based aid may be available. You may also wish to explore low interest federal student loans by visiting www.federalstudentaid.ed.gov.

Here are some other resources that may help you find the right college or more ways to pay for college or career training:

How do I file an appeal?

If you believe you qualify for a Cal Grant, have an extenuating reason to appeal and would like your application reviewed again, you may be able to submit an appeal. The Commission will not make professional judgments on financial information or decisions regarding your dependency status. If you feel that your financial information or dependency status should be re-evaluated, please see your school’s financial aid office to discuss professional judgment. The Commission will only accept financial corrections or changes to dependency status directly from your school.

In addition, the Commission does not review any problems with federal or school-based aid or loans. You should contact your school’s financial aid office for questions or problems regarding other financial aid. Questions regarding your student loans should be directed to your lender.

To file an appeal with CSAC to request a review of your Cal Grant status, please complete a Cal Grant Appeal Form (G-18).

To ensure an accurate and timely response, please state the reason(s) you are requesting a review of your account and include your name, CSAC ID number, mailing address, telephone number where you may be reached during the day, and photocopies (please do not send originals) of any supporting documentation.

Please mail your appeal and all supporting documentation to the mail address below:

California Student Aid Commission
Customer Relations Branch – Appeals
P.O. Box 419027
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9027

What does “low score” mean?

A limited number of Cal Grant A and B Competitive awards are available and so not everyone who applies will receive one. Half of the awards are set aside for qualified students who apply by the March 2nd deadline and half are for qualified students who will be attending a California Community College and apply by the September 2nd deadline.

If you received this letter, it’s because your total “score” was below the minimum total required to receive a Cal Grant. Competitive Cal Grant applicants are scored based on criteria from their FAFSA or CADAA and their GPA. From the FAFSA and CADDA your score is comprised of the following: family income and size of household, parents’ and applicant’s education background, time out of high school, high school performance standards, and other factors, such as whether the applicant comes from a single-parent household or is a former foster youth. Points are assigned uniformly to all applicants in each area. Based on the information you provided on your FAFSA or CADAA, the sum of your points was lower than the cut-off score for the entire applicant pool.

NOTE: Please be aware that these scores are final. We cannot make corrections once they have been calculated, so it is imperative that you review your FAFSA and CADAA submissions for any errors before the March 2nd and September 2nd deadlines.

What if I received a “pending withdrawal” letter?

If you received a letter that states “pending withdrawal,” it’s because Commission records indicate that the school you list as attending for the previous academic year has not confirmed your eligibility to receive your Cal Grant award.

You’ll need to have your school confirm your Cal Grant eligibility by reporting directly to the Commission that you have received your Cal Grant payments for the term in question. This must be done by the school before the deadline listed in your letter.

If you were not attending any school for the term in question, you’ll need to request a Cal Grant leave of absence. If you were attending a different school from the one listed for the term in question, you’ll need to notify the Commission of your new school. A leave of absence or a school change may be requested by completing the  or submitting the requests on WebGrants for Students.

If you or your school does not confirm your Cal Grant status by the required deadline listed in your letter, your Cal Grant award will be withdrawn. Please make sure you do this immediately.

NOTE: Please do not send the Commission a letter or transcripts indicating your enrollment. Your school’s financial aid office must submit verification that you received your Cal Grant award, or you must submit the Grant Record Change Form for Students or go to WebGrants for Students. to request a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program or to change your school for the term in question.

What does my “denial letter” mean?

If you received a letter letting you know that you did not qualify for a Cal Grant, the following information may assist you in understanding the information in your letter.

If you received a denial letter and you’re currently a high school senior or you graduated from high school within the last 12 months, please ask your school to verify the area needing correction. The correction should be mailed immediately to the Commission at:

California Student Aid Commission
Program Administration and Services Division
P.O. Box 419027
Rancho Cordova, Ca 95741-9027

If you’re not a current high school senior or a high school graduate within the last 12 months, and the information is incorrect, you’re not eligible to be considered for a Cal Grant and must reapply by the following March 2 Cal Grant deadline. If you’re planning to attend a California Community College in the fall, you may correct and return your Student Aid Report before the September 2 Cal Grant application deadline for community college students. There are only a limited amount of Grants available in the fall and only those applications that are correct, complete and received by September 2 will be allowed to compete. We encourage you to meet the September 2 deadline or to reapply next year.

Denial Reasons

“EL greater than 4 years”: EL stands for the year you are in college. New Cal Grants are not offered to students who are beyond their senior year of college. If you received this letter, it’s because either you stated that you had completed a bachelor’s or higher degree on your FAFSA or your college verified your educational level as higher than a senior.

“Indication of Prior Bachelor’s Degree”: If you received this letter, you either indicated you had already received a bachelor’s degree on your FAFSA or the Commission received verification from your school that you had already received a bachelor’s degree. The Cal Grants are for students who have not yet received a bachelor’s degree.

“State of Legal Residence not California”: If you received this letter, it’s most likely because you left the residency question blank on your FAFSA or because you indicated something other than “CA.” You must be a legal resident of California to be eligible for a Cal Grant.

“Not pursuing an Undergraduate Degree”: If you received this letter, it’s because you indicated on your FAFSA that you were pursuing a graduate degree. Graduate students are not eligible for the Cal Grants.

“No Grade Point Average Submitted”: If you received this letter, it’s most likely because the Commission did not receive a “certified” copy of your Cal Grant GPA Verification Form by mail or your verified GPA electronically from your school. Your verified GPA had to be received by March 2 (or September 2 for California Community College students).

“GPA Below the Minimum”: If you received this letter, it’s because your school certified your GPA under the minimum accepted for Cal Grant qualification. Cal Grant A requires at least a 3.00 high school GPA or 2.4 college GPA; Cal Grant B requires at least a 2.00 GPA. (Cal Grant GPAs don’t include grades for PE, ROTC or remedial courses and may be different from your cumulative GPA and your GPA for college admissions.) If you feel your GPA was reported incorrectly, you’ll need to contact the school that certified your GPA. If an error is acknowledged, the school will need to submit an appeal letter to the Commission, on school letterhead, explaining the situation.

“Code 35 – Denied – Low Score”: If you received this letter, it’s because your total “score” was below the minimum required. Competitive Cal Grant applicants are evaluated on the following criteria: GPA, family income and size of household, parents’ and applicant’s education background, time out of high school, high school performance standards, and other factors, such as whether the applicant comes from a single-parent household or is a former foster youth. Points are assigned uniformly to all applicants in each area. Based on the information you provided on your FAFSA, the sum of your points was lower than the cut-off score for the entire applicant pool.

“Program Edit Disqual”: If you received this letter, it’s because you listed a school that doesn’t participate in the Cal Grant C program or you listed an ineligible degree or certificate program on your FAFSA. You may also receive this letter if you have already completed a bachelor’s (four-year) degree and you aren’t enrolled in a teacher credentialing program or you have already received payment for the Cal Grant T.

Code 15: Not Applicable“: If you are a CADAA applicant, there is a chance you will see this code for your disqualification reason. Dream Act students are only able to be considered for our “Entitlement” Cal Grants opportunities. To be considered as an entitlement student, you must be a recent high school graduate who has at least a 2.0 GPA, meets the Cal Grant requirements (including financial need) and applies by March 2nd of his or her senior year or the year following graduation. The guarantee extends to California high school graduates who attend a California Community College and meet the requirements in the year they are going to transfer to a four-year college. If you do not meet this criteria, then you would not meet the qualifications to receive a Cal Grant Award.

What are the current Cal Grant income and asset ceilings?

Even though the Commission uses absolute family income ceilings when selecting Cal Grant recipients, all students are encouraged to apply, even if their family income and assets are above the ceilings. Many things can happen between the time the FAFSA is submitted and the start of school that can dramatically change a family’s situation. Also, the Commission annually adjusts the income ceilings.

Also, keep in mind when determining your assets, you don’t report home equity, retirement funds, prepaid tuition plans and life insurance on the FAFSA.

Can I use my Cal Grant if I’m planning to attend a teacher credential program?

If you have Cal Grant A or B and plan to enroll in a teacher credential program, you may be eligible to renew your Cal Grant award for an additional year. The additional year of payment is provided to students who are seeking an initial teacher credential and cannot be used for other graduate level courses of study.

To qualify, you must be enrolled in a professional teaching preparation program at a school approved by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing within 15 months of the end of the term for which you last received a Cal Grant payment. You also cannot have received or submitted an application for a preliminary teacher credential or have an initial teacher credential. You must have financial need.

You’re encouraged to apply for the Cal Grant teacher credential benefits as soon as possible after receiving your bachelor’s degree and after being accepted into a teacher credential program at an eligible institution.

To apply, you must submit the FAFSA and CADAA for the academic year for which you wish to receive benefits and the Request for .

What are the Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards?

Learn about the Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards here.

What are the Cal Grant A and B Competitive awards?

Learn abou the Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards here.

What is the Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award?

Learn about the Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award here.

What is the difference between the federal Pell Grant and Cal Grants?

Pell Grants are federal grants and Cal Grants are state grants. Both are for students with financial need. Some Cal Grants have a minimum GPA requirement while federal Pell Grants do not. You could qualify for both a Pell Grant and a Cal Grant.

To apply for a Pell Grant, you must submit the FAFSA or CADAA. For the Cal Grant, you must submit both the FAFSA or CADAA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the March 2 Cal Grant deadline.

How do I submit my verified Cal Grant GPA?

If you wish to apply for a Cal Grant and you’re not currently receiving a Cal Grant award, the information below is intended for you.

The Commission uses the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and your verified Cal Grant GPA to determine eligibility for a Cal Grant. (Cal Grant A and B have minimum GPA requirements; Cal Grant C does not but you’re encouraged to submit your GPA.)

You can submit your verified GPA before your FAFSA and CADAA beginning June 1st. Some schools automatically submit GPAs electronically for their students. Be sure to ask your counselor or someone in the office. If your school does not electronically submit GPAs, you’ll need to fill out the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and give it to a school official for verification before mailing it to the California Student Aid Commission. Be sure to give your school plenty of time to certify it by the March 2 deadline.

If you’ll be pursuing a technical or career education, you can be considered for a Cal Grant C award even if you don’t submit a verified GPA. You’re still encouraged to submit your GPA because it can only help your chances of receiving an award.

Learn more here.

How do I complete the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form?

Read the instructions carefully before completing the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. Please note that schools must complete the “For School Use Only” section at the bottom of the form.

First, complete the “To be Filled Out by Student” section at the top of the form (use black ink only). Have your school complete the “For School Use Only” section, then make and keep a photocopy, and mail it by the March 2 postmark deadline to: 

California Student Aid Commission
Cal Grant Operations
P.O. Box 419077
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9077

If you already have a Cal Grant or a Cal Grant Reserve award and wish to renew that award, you don’t have to complete the GPA Verification Form. Just complete the FAFSA or CADAA and list the college you’ll be attending in the fall in Step Six. (The school you list will certify your Cal Grant renewal eligibility.) If you’re already in college and are applying for a new Cal Grant, you must submit both the FAFSA or CADAA and your verified Cal Grant GPA to be considered for an award. The Commission does not keep forms from past years.

Some schools electronically submit a list of verified GPAs directly to the Commission. If your school does so, it will not be necessary for you to submit the paper GPA Verification Form. However, you should confirm that your school will submit your GPA—and did submit it—because you’re responsible for making sure your verified Cal Grant GPA is submitted to the Commission by the Cal Grant application deadline.

If you’re mailing any forms, be sure to get a Certificate of Mailing from the Post Office as proof you met the March 2nd deadline.

Learn more here.

What if I am home-schooled—can I still qualify for a Cal Grant?

If you are home-schooled, you can still qualify for a Cal Grant and other state financial aid as well as federal financial aid.

If you were home-schooled, or you attended a school that doesn’t provide grades, isn’t fully accredited by a regional accrediting agency or doesn’t have a course list approved by the University of California, you must submit your GED, SAT or ACT score. If you have a GPA that’s more than five years old, you may choose to submit a test score instead of your GPA. All test scores must be submitted using the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form.

To submit your test scores, complete the “To Be Filled Out by Student” section of the GPA Verification Form. Mark the bubble for Question 9 “Test Scores” and attach a copy of your ACTSAT or GED scores. Send the form with copy of test scores to the Commission no later than the March 2 Cal Grant deadline.

You’ll need to take the GED exam, ACT or SAT several months before the March 2 deadline to ensure your test scores are available in time to meet the March 2 deadline.

What is my Cal Grant GPA?

Your Cal Grant GPA will be calculated on a 4.00 scale (to two decimal places) and extra weight will not be added for honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes.

Your GPA must include all grades from your sophomore year, the summer following your sophomore year, your junior year and the summer following your junior year, except those for physical education, Reserve Officers Training Corps and remedial courses. (Remedial courses are those that aren’t counted toward high school graduation.) If you apply after your senior year, your GPA must include your senior-year grades.

Failing grades for classes you haven’t repeated before your verified GPA is submitted also must be included. (Keep in mind that your GPA for college admission will be calculated differently.)

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers

I’ve attended several colleges. What college credits count and from which school?
To determine what grades can be included in your Cal Grant GPA, you’ll need to check with the registrar’s office at the college you plan to attend to verify the courses they will accept. It is up to that school to determine the college credits you’ll be allowed to transfer over and also the GPA you have earned.

Do pass/fail grades count toward my GPA?
No. All Cal Grant GPAs must be calculated based on a 4.00 scale. It’s possible your school could assign a grade to pass/fail classes. If your school isn’t able to do so, you will not be able to use those grades. If not using those grades affects your overall GPA, you may wish to submit your SAT or ACT scores in lieu of your GPA.

Can I fax my GPA Verification Form to the Commission?
Yes, however, we would prefer to receive the forms via regular mail. Faxed copies of the form must be hand-processed and could slow the processing of your Cal Grant application.

If I fail a class in the 10th grade and retake it in the 11th grade, does the failed class count toward my Cal Grant GPA?
If the class you failed is the same class you took again and passed, the Commission will accept the passing grade and the failed grade should not be included in the overall GPA.

I am home-schooled. How do I get my verified Cal Grant GPA?
If you are home-schooled or attend a non-accredited charter school, you must submit your SAT, ACT or GED test scores. Complete the student section of the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and attach a copy of your test scores to it. If submitting test scores, a school does not need to complete the bottom section of the GPA Verification Form. The scores and the GPA Verification Form must be sent to the Commission by the Cal Grant application deadline.

My GPA is very low and I would like to improve it. How do I do that?
If you’re graduating from high school with a GPA that is not high enough to meet the Cal Grant GPA minimum requirements, you can improve or re-establish your GPA at a California Community College. To re-establish your GPA for Cal Grant B Competitive awards, you must complete at least 16 cumulative units of undergraduate transferable/degree-applicable credits for academic course work at an accredited California Community College, with at least a 2.0 community college GPA.

If you’ve completed at least 16 college units, but less than 24 units, please ask your community college to submit your re-established GPA to the Commission.

If you’re still in high school and you’ve completed 16 community college units, but less than 24 college semester units, you may use either your re-established college GPA or your high school GPA if it is at least 2.0 (you should use the highest GPA score).

You’ll need to make an appointment with your college’s financial aid office to discuss your wish to have your re-established GPA reported. Please do not wait until the last minute.

How do I make changes or corrections to my California Aid Report?

For new Cal Grant applicants:
If you’re a new Cal Grant applicant and received a letter that states you were placed “on hold” until the Commission receives corrected data, and the correction form was not received, you may use the . You’ll need to complete the G-23 form, with all the requested changes, and submit it right away to have further consideration for the Cal Grant. Any delay in returning this form will result in either a delay in the processing of your application or possible disqualification.

For current Cal Grant recipients:
Have you recently moved, changed schools, or changed your name? If so, then you’ll need to complete the  and submit it to the Commission as soon as possible.

The Grant Record Change Form for Students can also be used to notify the Commission of any changes to your attendance. Have you changed schools or changed your course of study? You may also use the Grant Record Change Form for Students to let the Commission know about these changes. Please keep in mind that any changes to your school (for example, changing from an independent college to a community college), living arrangement (moving from the dorms to your parents’ house), changing your course of study (pursuing a bachelor’s degree instead of a vocational certificate) may affect your eligibility for a Cal Grant. Before you make any changes, please talk to your college’s financial aid office to see if these changes may affect your eligibility for a Cal Grant.

How do I change my name on the FAFSA if I got married after I submitted it?

Actually, you should wait to change your name until after you have been awarded a Cal Grant. Making a name change before your award notification could slow up the processing of your application. After you have received your award notification letter, then you can submit the  to notify the Commission of your changes.

If you applied for a Cal Grant last year and did not get the award or you withdrew from the award competition and you changed your name, you’ll need to take some steps to avoid any confusion with your records since the Commission already has your information in its database. If you submit your FAFSA this year under a different name, your file will be flagged for corrections and you will not be put into the Cal Grant competition. The best thing to do is submit a change of name to the Commission using the  and then submit your FAFSA after the name change has been complete. Please be aware that for students attending four-year colleges, career vocational or technical schools and community colleges, the Cal Grant application deadline is March 2. For community college students only who miss the March 2 deadline, there is a second deadline of September 2. However, only a limited number of awards are available in the fall, so it’s best to apply by March 2.

Can I get a Cal Grant if I’m seeking vocational or career training?

Yes. Cal Grant C awards provide assistance with tuition and training costs if you’re pursuing a career or technical/vocational education. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of the program. Your program of study must be at least four months long. A few four-year colleges and universities may also offer vocational studies. You will need to check with your institution to see if it participates in the Cal Grant C program. Even though a GPA is not required to apply for a Cal Grant C, you’re still encouraged to submit yours because it can only help your chances of receiving an award.

Cal Grant C award amounts are determined through the annual state budget process. For 2017-18, awards are up to $1,094 for training-related costs and up to $2,462 for tuition assistance if you attend a school other than a California Community College (community colleges don’t charge tuition and your fees will be waived as a Cal Grant recipient).

If you list an occupational or technical program or school on your FAFSA or CADAA and you don’t receive a Cal Grant A or B, you will be considered potentially eligible to receive a Cal Grant C award. In that case, by early May you’ll receive an e-mail or letter notification to complete the Cal Grant C Supplement online in WebGrants for Students. You will have 30 days from the date of notification to complete this form to be further considered for a Cal Grant C award. If you are unable to complete the Cal Grant C Supplement online, contact Student Support for assistance in completing the Supplement Form at 1-888-224-7268.

The Cal Grant C award notifications will be sent by the end of June.

Special Note: If you’re a current Cal Grant C recipient and wish to be considered for a Cal Grant A or B, you must complete the  and submit a clear written reason for your wish to withdraw from the Cal Grant C program by January 1 and submit both the FAFSA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the March 2 application deadline. You may submit your request to withdraw from the Cal Grant C program to the Commission at: 

California Student Aid Commission
Program Administration and Services Division
P.O. Box 419028
Rancho Cordova CA 95741-9028

Please use caution when withdrawing from the Cal Grant C award. If you withdraw from the Cal Grant C program, your withdrawal is irrevocable and there’s no guarantee you’ll receive a Cal Grant A or B. Please make sure you talk with your college’s financial aid administrator before withdrawing from the Cal Grant C program.

Can the Cal Grant C Supplement be submitted online?

Yes. Just as in prior years, students identified with potential Cal Grant C eligibility will receive notification to complete the Cal Grant C Supplement online in WebGrants for Students (WGS). If students are unable to complete the Cal Grant C Supplement Form online, they should contact Student Support at 1-888-224-7268 to receive assistance. The student notifications are sent either through email or regular mail depending on the contact information available.

When is the deadline for students to submit the Cal Grant C Supplement Form?

The applicant will have 30 days from the date of notification to provide the information online via WebGrants For Students (www.webgrants4students.org). A good rule of thumb is June 30.

How do I renew my Cal Grant?

If you’ve already received a Cal Grant, whether or not you’re receiving payments or it’s on reserve status, you don’t need to submit a verified Cal Grant GPA to renew your award for the next year. However, you will need to submit the FAFSA for each academic year of renewal. To submit your FAFSA, please go online to www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Beginning with the 2011-12 academic year, students have to meet income, asset and minimum need criteria to be considered for a renewal Cal Grant award. For more details, please go to the “About Senate Bill 70” page on our website.

In July, you should receive notification from the Commission regarding your renewal status. You can also log in to your WebGrants for Students account to check on your Cal Grant status. Please read the  sheet for an explanation of your renewal options, and follow the directions on the sheet to make the best use of your Cal Grant award.

Who is considered a California resident?

Cal Grants and other state financial aid programs are for California residents only.

If you’re under age 18 and unmarried as of the application deadline of the state aid program you’re applying to, you’re considered to be a California resident if one of the following applies:

  • one of your parents is a legal California resident as of the program’s application deadline
  • you’ve lived for two years with a responsible non-parent adult and that adult has been a legal California resident for at least one year immediately before the program’s application deadline
  • one of your parents is in the U.S. Armed Forces, stationed in California and on active duty as of the first day of college classes

If your parents are living out of the country, you’re considered to be a California resident if you’re under age 18, unmarried and have been living under the direct care and control of a California resident for at least two years before the application deadline of the state aid program you’re applying to, or if your parents have maintained their California residency during their absence from the state.

All married students, regardless of their age, and all unmarried students age 18 or older, must establish their own residency. If you’ll turn 18 on or before the application deadline of the state aid program you’re applying to, you must have lived in California for at least one year immediately before this date to be considered a California resident.

If you aren’t a California resident, you should still submit the FAFSA to apply for student aid from the federal government, your college and your state.

How do I complete the FAFSA if I or my parents are in a registered domestic partnership?

When determining eligibility for state financial aid, California recognizes domestic partnerships. If your parents are in a registered domestic partnership, you’ll be considered the same as a student with married parents, including financial and residency requirements. Likewise, if you’re in a registered domestic partnership, you’ll be considered the same as a married student.

Registered domestic partners are couples who have filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State’s office and received a Certificate of Registration of Domestic Partnership.

If you’re a dependent student whose parents are in a domestic partnership, you should include information on your FAFSA only for the parent who provided more than half of your support. If you’re an independent student in a domestic partnership, provide only your information. After receiving your California Aid Report, you’ll need to complete the G-37: Cal Grant Registered Domestic Partner Reporting Form (is currently unavailable, please check back again) so that the California Student Aid Commission can further evaluate your eligibility for California state aid.

Assembly Bill 205, known as the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, extended new rights, benefits and obligations to individuals in registered domestic partnerships. You should also notify the school you plan to attend to evaluate your eligibility for institutional aid. Eligibility for federal aid doesn’t consider domestic partnerships.

What deadlines should I mark on my calendar?

March 2: The most important deadline for Cal Grants is March 2. Be sure you submit your FAFSA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the March 2 Cal Grant application deadline.

September 2: If you’ll be attending a California Community College in the fall and missed the March 2 deadline, you have a second deadline of September 2. There are only a limited number of awards available for those who apply in the fall, so try to meet the March 2 deadline.

Keep in mind that your college may have earlier deadlines for its financial aid programs, so be sure to check with each college you’re considering. Also, deadlines for private scholarships may be earlier in the year.

How do I get a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program?

If you’re not enrolled at least half time for any term, you must request a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program. You are allotted a maximum of 4 semesters/6 quarters (200%) of leave of absence throughout the lifetime of your Cal Grant award. Extensions may be granted for extenuating circumstances for students that submit a Cal Grant Appeal.

You can view your leave of absence remaining balance and request leave of absences by logging into your www.webGrants4students.org account. In addition, you may ask your school to report a leave of absence on your behalf. Keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to make sure that the Commission has been informed of your leave.

If you’re on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard, you may have your Cal Grant deferred for up to three years. Simply fill out a  or write to:

Our Mailing Address

California Student Aid Commission
Attn: Active Duty Deferment Processing
P.O. Box 419026
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9026

Where can I get free help completing the FAFSA and other forms?

There’s plenty of free help available

On the Web
You will find the following information on the Federal Student Aid website…

If you have questions about the FSA ID, you can find the answers to frequently asked questions here.

If you need assistance logging in with your FSA ID, contact us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

Find help online or click on the Live Help button during business hours. Filling out the paper FAFSA? Click here for help. 

Phone 
Call toll free 800.433.3243 Monday through Fridays up to 9 p.m. Pacific Time and extended hours on the weekend — or 319.337.5665 if you don’t have access to toll-free numbers (TTY 800.730.8913). For Cal Grant questions, call toll free 888.224.7268. 

In-Person 
Ask your school for help, attend your school’s financial aid night or plan to attend a free California Cash for College workshop in October – March 2nd. Many workshops have staff who speak Spanish or other languages.

You can also watch the FAFSA for Students video with step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the FAFSA.

What should I do if I’m having problems submitting the FAFSA?

If you have tried to fill out and submit the FAFSA on the Web and had trouble logging on to the FAFSA Web site, there are a couple of ways around the problem:

  1. Avoid peak hours. Most problems occur during peak usage hours during the day and early evening when students across the nation are online submitting their FAFSA. You might want to wait to log on to the Web site after 8:00 p.m.
  2. You always have the option of submitting a paper FAFSA. You can now download a PDF of the FAFSA. You can also call toll free 800.433.3243 to have the paper FAFSA mailed to you. If you’ll be mailing the paper FAFSA, be sure to purchase a Certificate of Mailing at your Post Office so you have proof you mailed your FAFSA by the March 2 deadline.
  3. Plan ahead. The Cal Grant deadline every year is March 2 (if you plan to attend a California Community College and missed the March 2 deadline, you have a second deadline of September 2). Keep in mind that deadlines for financial aid from colleges or private scholarships may be earlier. Do not wait until the last minute. Plan to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible starting October 1st, so you’ll have time to make any corrections if necessary.

What is the Chafee Grant for foster youth?

If you are or were in foster care and have financial need, you may qualify for a California Chafee Grant:

  • up to $5,000 a year for job training or college
  • the grant is in addition to any other state or federal aid you may receive
  • requires the FAFSA and the California Chafee Grant Application
  • contact your school, caseworker or Independent Living Program coordinator if you need help completing the FAFSA and Chafee application form
  • must stay in school to keep your Chafee Grant—if you enroll less than half time or get bad grades, you could lose your grant
  • remember to establish your independent status on the FAFSA

Also, be sure to submit your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline to apply for a Cal Grant.

What is the grant for law enforcement dependents?

The Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant, or LEPD grant, is for dependents and spouses of California peace officers, correctional officers and firefighters who were killed or 100% disabled in the line of duty. Grants range from $100 to $11,259 a year, for up to four years. If you are eligible to receive an LEPD grant you may also receive a Cal Grant, other grants, or a fee waiver. Applications are accepted throughout the year. To apply, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA and the LEPD grant application form.

What’s the difference between a grant and a loan?

Grants are money you don’t have to repay and are usually based on your financial need while loans are money you borrow that you must pay back, usually with interest costs. 

The major grants are Cal Grants, federal Pell Grants and some smaller federal grants. There are low-interest federal student loans as well as federal parent loans to help pay for their child’s education. 

For more information about these federal grants visit online.

What are the Governor’s Scholarships?

These scholarships recognize public high school students who demonstrate high academic achievement on the Statewide Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test. However, the scholarships are not currently funded.

Where can I get free help completing my California Dream Act Application

On the Web

You can find helpful information by checking out our California Dream Act information and resources page by clicking here. You will find:

California Dream Act FAQ

Application Instructions Document

California Dream Act Paper Application (English)

California Dream Act Paper Application (Spanish)

10 Things you need to Know about the CADAA & more!

Phone

For Dream Act assistance and Cal Grant Questions, you may call us toll free at (888) 224-7268. Our Student Support Call Center hours are Monday — Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

In Person

Contact your school’s Financial Aid office for help, attend your school’s financial aid night event or plan to attend a free California Cash for College workshop starting October 1st – March 2nd. You may check out a Cash for College workshop near you, click here. Many workshops have staff who speak Spanish or other languages.

Why am I only getting the Cal Grant B even though I qualify for Cal Grant A

A student may meet the eligibility requirements for both the Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B programs. However, California Education Code allows a student to accept and be paid only one type of Cal Grant award at a time. Cal Grants pay different amounts, dependent on whether the student is attending a UC, CSU, community college or private institution. Cal Grant A pays the same tuition & fee amount each year for up to four years. Cal Grant B pays a smaller amount the freshman year and higher amounts thereafter, up to four years of total payments.

2018-19 Award Amounts

Cal Grant A (per year):

pays up to $12,630 at University of California,

$5,742 at California State University,

$9,084 at qualifying private California colleges,

or $4,000 at non-WASC accredited for-profit institutions.

If you attend a California community college, your Cal Grant A is held on reserve until transfer.

Cal Grant B (per year):

$1,672 stipend your first year for books and supplies, then increases after the first year to total the stipend amount plus tuition and statewide fees, in the same amount as Cal Grant A listed above at the respective school.

Cal Grant A pays the same amount each year for up to four years. Cal Grant B pays a smaller amount the freshman year and higher amounts thereafter, up to four years of total payments.

For example: Cal Grant B vs A at UC

Grant Type Freshman Sophmore Junior Senior Total Award
A. Tuition $12,630 $12,630 $12,630 $12,630 $50,520
B- Cash aid
     Tuition
$1,672
$0
$1,672
+$12,630
$1,672
+$12,630
$1,672
+$12,630
$44,578

For example: Cal Grant B vs A at CSU

Grant Type Freshman Sophmore Junior Senior Total Award
A. Tuition $5,742 $5,742 $5,742 $5,742 $22,968
B- Cash aid
     Tuition
$1,672
$0
$1,672
+$5,742
$1,672
+$5,742
$1,672
+$5,742
$23,914

If you feel it would be in your best interest to switch from the Cal Grant B to the Cal Grant A, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor (FAA) at your school. CSAC requires the student to meet with their FAA who will review the student’s financial aid package to see if it would be in the student’s best interest to switch Cal Grant programs. Some factors that the FAA might consider are tuition-only scholarships, tuition remissions, veterans’ benefits, or other sources of funding, prior to switching from a Cal Grant award.

How can I receive Fifth Year Benefits?

Students who qualify for a Cal Grant are eligible for a maximum four years of eligibility. In order to qualify for an additional fifth year of Cal Grant eligibility, students must be enrolled in a mandatory five-year undergraduate program. A mandatory five-year program is an undergraduate program which requires all participants to complete more than four years of undergraduate study to obtain their degree. These additional benefits are not available to students whose attendance is extended for other reasons.

To qualify for Fifth Year Benefits, students enrolled in a mandatory five year undergraduate program should have received previous Cal Grant award(s) as well as submit a Fifth Year Benefits application form to CSAC through the Student Support email at studentsupport@csac.ca.gov a semester prior to the start of their fifth year program. Payment of the Fifth Year grant is subject to the institution verifying that the student is enrolled in an eligible fifth year program and qualifies for a Cal Grant.

To view the application and the list of Cal Grant Eligible Five Year Programs and Schools, please click here. If your course of study or institution is not listed, you must contact an official at your institution to request that they provide documentation to CSAC’s Institutional Support Unit that the program in which you are enrolled is a mandatory five-year program which meets the criteria stated above.

What is a Dream Act ID

For students who do not have a Social Security Number, the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) assigns these students with a unique student identification number called the Dream Act ID as a means of identifying, tracking, and sharing student information for its various financial aid programs. Once a student has successfully submitted their CA Dream Act Application, the Dream Act ID can be found on the student’s “Confirmation Page” of their CA Dream Act Application. Students will need to use their Dream Act ID in order to create a WebGrants for Students (WGS) account. Students should not be using their DACA SSN, high school or college ID numbers to create a WGS account. The Dream Act ID is nine digits long and always starts with three zeros (000).

Students should notate the Dream Act ID number in all communication with CSAC via email, telephone, or written document.

What is a CSAC ID

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) has taken steps to protect students from identity theft by replacing Social Security Numbers (SSN) with a unique student identification number called the CSAC ID as a means of identifying, tracking and sharing student information for its various financial aid programs. All mailed student correspondence and other communications to students contains this unique student identifier and not the student’s SSN. In addition, CSAC uses strong data encryption to protect the student information that is transmitted electronically between institutions and CSAC.

A student’s CSAC ID number can be found on mailed correspondence as well as through the student’s WebGrants for Students portal. The CSAC ID is nine digits long. Students should notate their CSAC ID in all communication with CSAC via email, telephone, or written document.

Can I change my Cal Grant Award? If yes, when and how can I change my award?

For a student to change their initial Cal Grant award, they must complete Section 1, 4, and 6 of the (G-10) Grant Record Change Form for Students and email it with the scanned PDF copy of the completed form to Student Support at studentsupport@csac.ca.gov.

A signature from a financial aid officer at your college is required when requesting a change in grant program. Changing your Cal Grant program will change the amount of your Cal Grant award. Request any program changes as early as possible because program changes can¬not be made after program funds have been disbursed.

Can I apply for a Cal Grant without a GPA

To qualify for a Cal Grant award, each applicant must complete a FAFSA or CADAA and send in a GPA verification by the deadline. If you do not have access to a GPA, you may submit your GED, SAT, or ACT score if you:

Were home-schooled.

If you are home schooled, you can still qualify for a Cal Grant and other state financial aid as well as federal financial aid.

Attended a school that does not provide grades.

Attended a school that is not fully accredited by a regional accrediting agency.

Have a GPA that is more than 5 years old.

To submit your test scores, complete the “To Be Filled Out by Student” section of the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. Mark the bubble for Question 8 (“Test Scores”) and attach a copy of your ACT, SAT or GED scores. Email the form as a PDF document along with a copy of the test scores to the Commission no later than the March 2nd Cal Grant deadline to Student Support at studentsupport@csac.ca.gov

For a student to change their initial Cal Grant award, they

How do I apply for the California College Promise Grant

How do I apply for the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governor’s fee waiver)?

For eligible California residents, the California College Promise Grant (formerly known as the Board of Governor’s fee waiver) permits enrollment fees to be waived at the community college. Assistance for the purchase of books and supplies must be applied for separately.

Many California Community Colleges offer online applications through CCCApply. When you complete this application online through CCCApply, your information will be transferred automatically, making your financial aid application process much easier and faster.

For further information about the California College Promise Grant and how it is disbursed at your school, please contact your school’s Financial Aid Office or visit the California Community College website here.