Cal Grant

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NEED CASH FOR COLLEGE? You could get a Cal Grant.

A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back. To qualify, you must 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 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

When is the Cal Grant deadline?
You must apply by March 2 to maximize your opportunity to receive an award.
  • If you miss the March 2 Cal Grant deadline AND you plan to attend a community college in the fall, you have until September 2 to apply. However, the number of Cal Grant awards is limited.

Here's How to Apply: 

  1. Complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application by March 2* of each year.
    • If you are a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen, you should file the FAFSA.
    • If you are not a citizen, but attended a California high school for at least three years, graduated from a California high school or the equivalent, and are or will be attending an accredited California college or university, you should file the California Dream Act Application.
    • You can also download a PDF version of the California Dream Act Application in English or Spanish which you will need to mail for processing. If you will be mailing in a paper application, be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing ($1.30 in addition to postage) from the Post Office so you can verify the date you mailed your forms.
    • If you or your parents are in a Registered Domestic Partnership at the time you submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application, you’ll need to complete the G-37: Cal Grant Registered Domestic Partner Reporting Form to be considered for a Cal Grant.
    • *Missed the March 2 deadline? There is a second deadline, only 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 of September Cal Grants available.
  2. ​File a certified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission by no later than March 2*.
    • ​​Some high schools and colleges automatically file their students’ certified GPAs with the Commission. Some do not. You must confirm whether your school will file your GPA for you before the deadline.
    • If your high school or college won’t be automatically submitting your Cal Grant GPA to the California Student Aid Commission, obtain a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, get it certified by a school official, and mail it yourself before the deadline.
    • If you will be mailing in a paper GPA Verification Form, be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing ($1.30 in addition to postage) from the Post Office so that you can verify the date you mailed your form.

Please be advised that any Cal Grant award is tentative and subject to final approval of the State Budget Act. 


To be eligible for a Cal Grant you must:

  • Submit the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (beginning in 2013) and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (your parents don’t need to be citizens or eligible noncitizens) or meet AB540 criteria (beginning in 2013)
  • Be a California resident when you graduated from high school or meet AB540 criteria
  • Have a Social Security number or meet AB540 criteria
  • Attend a qualifying California college
  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree (except for Cal Grant A and B extended awards for a teaching credential program)
  • Have financial need based on your college costs
  • Have family income and assets below the established ceilings
  • Meet any minimum GPA requirements
  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • Be enrolled at least half time
  • Have registered with U.S. Selective Service (most males)
  • Not owe a refund on a state or federal grant, or be in default on a student loan


Cal Grant A

  • will help pay for tuition and fees at four-year colleges
  • award amounts vary by type of college — for 2014-2015, Cal Grants are up to $12,240 at a University of California campus, up to $5,472 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 $1,656, 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 $12,240 at a UC campus, up to $5,472 at a CSU campus and up to $9,084 at independent colleges for 2014-2015)
  • requires at least a 2.0 GPA

Cal Grant C

  • Assists with the costs of a technical or career education
  • provides up to $547 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



Some students don't have a GPA, so certain test scores can be used instead. Please submit your test score along with the GPA Verification Form.

  • If you have a GED, submit your GED score directly to the California Student Aid Commission.
  • If you graduated from a school that doesn't provide grades, is not accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or another regional accrediting agency, or doesn't have a course list approved by the University of California you must provide your ACT, SAT or GED score.
  • If you were home-schooled or attended a charter school you must submit your ACT, SAT or GED score.
  • If you graduated from high school more than five years ago you may provide your SAT or ACT score, or use a re-established GPA from your grades at a California Community College.

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