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What is Financial Aid?

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Financial Aid- Student Opportunity and Access Program

College can be an expensive investment which may be difficult for some students to afford. Luckily, many opportunities are available in order to help you afford college.

Programs such as the California Student Opportunity & Access Program (Cal-SOAP) can help you find and apply for different types of financial aid that are available.

Types of financial aid

California Grants

- Cal Grant A

The purpose of the Cal Grant A is to provide financial assistance to students from low 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 2019-20, grant awards ranged from $5,742 to $12,570 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 students from disadvantaged or very low income families who otherwise would not be able to pursue a post-secondary 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 cover all or part of tuition and fees. For the year 2019-20, the maximum access grant was $1,672 (living allowance) and the maximum award for tuition and fees was $5,742 to $12,294 per year depending on the institution.

- 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 2019-20, Cal Grant C awards were up to $2,462 for training related costs and $1,094 for books and supplies.

- Middle Class Scholarship

- The Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) provides undergraduate students, including students pursuing a teaching credential, with family incomes and assets up to $171,000 a scholarship to attend University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses.

- 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/asset and other financial aid standards; maintain satisfactory academic progress; not be in default on a student loan; and, must not be incarcerated

- You may receive the MCS award for up to 4 years depending on education level when awarded.

- CA College Promise Grant Fee Waiver

- State law requires that students attending a community college pay an enrollment fee and a health fee. Students enrolled in credit classes are currently required to pay $46 per unit. 

- Eligible students can receive the California College Promise Grant (CCPG) fee waiver (formerly Board of Governors Waiver (BOGW)), a state-funded program, which will waive the enrollment fees for eligible applicants (Please Note: The health fee will not be waived for most students and parking fees will not be reduced for students receiving the special circumstance CCPG-A). Only California residents can be considered for this waiver. 

- Currently there are two ways to apply for the CCPG. California resident students who complete a FAFSA will be automatically considered for the CCPG. A student can also apply for the CCPG by printing and completing the form available on the FORMS page. This application is also available in the Financial Aid Office.

- Chafee Grant (for Foster Youth)

- If you are or were in foster care for at least one day, between the ages of 16 and 18 as a dependent or ward of the court 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.

- Submit a FAFSA or Dream Act application AND a Chafee application on line

- California Dream Act Application for AB-540 Students (Students without SS#)

 The California Dream Act Application is used to determine the California State financial eligibility of students who meet the qualifications of Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540-students without Social Security Number). The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) will process this application. Any aid received can only be used at eligible California institutions. You may apply FREE over the Internet at The Dream Act Application is not an application for federal financial aid.  Click on the following link to know more about the Cal Dream Act for AB 540 Eligible Students July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022.

Federal Grants

- Federal Pell Grant Program

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 2019-20 school year, Pell Grants will pay up to $6,195.

- Federal Supplemental Education 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.

* 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(CSS Profile). 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

Other Financial Aid

- Campus-based Funds

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 FAFSA and any other form required by the Financial Aid office of the institution they plan to attend.

- California Veterans' Dependents Fee Waiver

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 Veterans Service Office: or For more information regarding eligibility questions, contact the Veterans Service Office at 1-888-694-3222, or the Admission Office of any California system campus.

- California CHAFEE

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, in addition to any other state or federal aid they may receive. Learn more about this program at or call toll free: 888.224.7268.

- Loans

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. Note: loan cancellation benefits are available to students who become teachers in certain subjects or special education. Remember: Loans must be repaid!!