Paying for College
College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017–18 FAFSA®
What’s changing for 2017–18?
Starting with the 2017–18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), these changes will be in effect:
• You’ll be able to submit your FAFSA® earlier. You can file your 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
• You’ll use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), as appropriate—will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information.
Cal Grant Program
NEED CASH FOR COLLEGE? YOU COULD GET A CAL GRANT.
Cal Grants are one of the smartest ways to get cash for college. For starters, it's money you don't have to pay back. If you're a graduating high school senior or recent graduate, meet academic, financial and eligibility requirements and submit two forms by the Cal Grant deadline, you may receive a Cal Grant!
What 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.
How Much Money Are We Talking About?
With a Cal Grant you can get up to $12,192 a year to pay for college expenses at any qualifying California college, university or career or technical school in California. Depending on which Cal Grant you get, the money can be used for tuition, room and board, even books and pencils. The best part is, it's yours to keep and you don't have to pay it back.
How To Apply:
In addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), to apply for a Cal Grant a school certified Grade Point Average (GPA) must be submitted to the California Student Aid Commission (Commission) by the filing deadline. A GPA form can be obtained in the Career Center.
WHERE TO USE YOUR CAL GRANT
To participate in the Cal Grant Program, a California university or college must have an approved Institutional Participation Agreement with the California Student Aid Commission and meet certain requirements in California law.
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
The College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® is an online application that collects information used by almost 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid from sources outside of the federal government. After you fill out the application, the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs you have chosen. Not all colleges and scholarship programs require the PROFILE. Check with the ones you’re interested in to see if they require it. (Click Here for a List of Participating Institutions)
When to Register and File: You should register at PROFILE Online at least two weeks before the earliest college or scholarship priority filing date you need to meet. This date is the college or program’s deadline for submitting a completed PROFILE application.
Once you register, you can complete the PROFILE application right away or save your data and return to it later. Just be sure to complete and submit the application by the deadlines your colleges or scholarship programs specify.
How Much It Costs: Sending your PROFILE report to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. Students who are from low-income families with limited assets will automatically receive fee waivers.
CA Dream Act Application
Completion of this application is required to determine eligibility for California student financial aid for AB540 eligible students. Your application will be processed by the California Student Aid Commission.
The Dream Application is not an application for federal financial aid. Students who are eligible to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), must use that application to maximize their opportunity to receive student financial aid. The FAFSA application is on-line at www.fafsa.gov. Students should not complete both applications.
Assembly Bill (AB) 540 was passed in 2001 to allow non-resident students in California to pay the lower resident tuition and fees to California's public colleges and universities. In October 2011, AB131 was signed into law and allows students eligible for AB540 to also apply for state financial aid like the University of California Grants, State University Grants and Board of Governor's fee waivers for the 2012-13 school year and later Cal Grants for the 2013-14 school year.
To qualify for California financial aid through AB131, non-resident students, including undocumented students, must:
- Have attended a California high school for 3 or more full academic years between grades 9 through 12. They do not need to be consecutive years;
- Have or will graduate from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received a passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
- Register or be currently enrolled at an accredited institution of higher education in California;
- Not hold a valid non-immigrant visa (F,J,H,L,A,B,E, etc.);
- Demonstrate financial need and meet all other program requirements.
If you believe you meet these requirements, please click the Dream Application link below.
For detailed instructions on completing the CA Dream Act Application click here
College Board: The Facts on Scholarships
- You should never pay for a scholarship search. There are many free ones.
- Organizations like businesses, clubs and churches usually fund private scholarships for students who belong to a certain group or meet certain requirements.
- These institutions want the funds to go to qualified students. They don't keep the money a secret.
- If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam!
Undocumented Student Scholarships
CA Chafee Grant for Foster Youth
If you are or were in foster care and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You don’t have to pay this money back. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.
To check your Chafee Grant status you can go online to