Thursday, November 05, 2009

Into to Student Financial Aid


The California Student Opportunity & Access Program (Cal-SOAP) and your high school counselor can help you apply. Financial aid is available in the form of grants and scholarships (which do not have to be repaid), student employment or"work study"(a part-time job while attending school), and low-interest loans (which must be repaid). Information on financial aid application deadlines and maximum award amounts is available in the fall of your senior year in high school. Students should be certain to apply for the following:

If you are a California high school senior (or a graduate) planning to attend a community college, a four-year college, a university, or a vocational school located within California, you need to apply for a Cal Grant by making sure that a GPA Verification Form is sent by the March 2 postmark deadline, and by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 2nd or earlier (deadlines vary by college). It is important to get Certificates of Mailing at the Post Office at the time you mail both forms; keep them in a file.
CAL GRANT A: The purpose of the Cal Grant A is to provide financial assistance to students from low- and middle-income families in meeting tuition and fees. Cal Grant A recipients are selected on the basis of financial need and academic ability. For the year 2009-10, grant awards ranged from $2,772 to $9,708 per year depending on the institution. A student who decides to attend a community college must request that this grant be held in reserve until they transfer to a four-year institution.
CAL GRANT B: The Cal Grant B is for high-potential students from disadvantaged or low-income families who otherwise would not be able to pursue a postsecondary education. Cal Grant B awards for first-year students are usually limited to assisting with living expenses, books and supplies, and transportation (a living allowance or monthly access grant). When renewed by sophomores, juniors and seniors, a Cal Grant B may also coverall or part of tuition and fees. For the year 2009-10, the maximum access grant was $1,551 and the maximum award for tuition and fees was $9,708.
CAL GRANT C: The Cal Grant C was developed to assist vocationally oriented students to acquire a meaningful and marketable job skill in occupations designated by the state as being in demand. This grant may not be used to pursue a four-year degree program. To qualify, vocational training must be on a full- or part-time basis. For the year 2008-09, Cal Grant C awards were up to $3,168 for training related costs and $576 for books and supplies.
•Students apply for federal, most state and some private aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); however, certain state and private aid programs have priority deadline dates and require an additional form(s).To find out more about deadline dates and which forms are required, contact your high school counselor, college financial aid office, or state scholarship/grant agency. Note: Pay attention to priority/deadline dates and photocopy all completed applications and forms for your files. Mail originals and request a "Certificate of Mailing" from the U.S. Post Office. Note: You may apply FREE over the Internet at

: The Federal Pell Grant is intended to assist eligible low- and middle-income students to attend a college or university of their choice. Pell Grants are available to undergraduate students with financial need who will be attending an eligible college or vocational school at least half time. For the 2009-10 school year, Pell Grants will pay up to $5,350. The maximum expected family contribution to be eligible for a Pell Grant is $4,617.

• FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANTS (FSEOG): The Federal SEOG Program provides supplemental funding for students with exceptional financial need. Once the Federal Pell Grant is awarded, the college financial aid office will assist eligible students in determining whether or not they qualify for Federal SEOG.

The state sponsored program that waives an eligible California resident's enrollment fees at a California Community College is the Board of Governors Enrollment Fee Waiver or "BOGW." Contact the EOPS office at the Community College for application information. Or go to

Colleges and universities offer several types of scholarships and financial awards (such as employment under the Federal College Work-Study Program). Students apply for these campus-based funds by completing the appropriate financial aid forms which may be obtained from the financial aid office of the institution they plan to attend.

Some scholarships are offered through organizations, groups, or businesses of which the parent is a member or employed. Many local service organizations also award scholarships and grants. Information about applying for these awards will be announced by your high school scholarship counselor. Pay careful attention to the school bulletin, and check with the counseling office for bulletin boards with scholarship information, applications and deadline dates. Some school districts publish scholarship/grant handbooks for senior students with specific information about available local awards. Outstanding Pell Grant eligible students: Get information on the Gates Millennium Scholarships For more information on scholarships, see section below.

Under this program, "state mandated" and "per unit" fees are waived for qualified students. The waiver is applicable at any California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. Eligibility is determined by the County Veteran Services Office: For more information regarding eligibility questions, contact the appropriate Veteran's Service Office.

Foster youth or former foster youth (ages 16 through 21) in California may qualify for the Califor­nia Chafee Grant administered by the California Student Aid Commission. Eligible students may receive up to $5,000 a year for college or job training. Learn more about this program at or call toll free: 888.224.7268

Loans should be considered only as a last resort to finance your education. If you need to apply for a low-interest loan, discuss your options and the best loan package available with the financial aid officer at your college of choice. Sometimes low-interest loans are necessary. Remember: Loans must be repaid!

Learn more about financial aid and how to apply for it, go to: and

Complete and file the FAFSA online following step-by-step instructions:

Go to for more information on admissions, financial aid, and career exploration.

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