A Complete Guide to California Financial Aid

Financial Aid Appeal Letters A Complete Guide to California Financial Aid

A Complete Guide to California Financial Aid

Regardless of whether you are a California resident or an out-of-state student, the Golden State offers a variety of options to meet college students’ financial needs.

In this guide, you will find out how California financial aid works, what options are on the table, and how to apply!

What Types of Financial Aid Are Available in California?

In California, financial aid comes in many forms, such as:

  1. Grants
  2. Scholarships
  3. Loans
  4. Work-study programs

California Financial Aid—Grants

The following table shows grants that are most frequently awarded to California college attendees:

Cal GrantThis grant has three subcategories:

  • Cal Grant High School Entitlement Award
  • Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award
  • Cal Grant Competitive Awards

The subcategories ensure that students with different backgrounds, accomplishments, and financial needs can get the necessary aid

California Chafee Grant for Foster YouthStudents younger than 26 who spent at least one day in foster care between the ages of 16 and 18 can apply for this grant
Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant ProgramSpouses, children, and dependents of law enforcement officers who were disabled or killed in the line of duty are eligible for this generous financial aid program
The Golden State Teacher Grant ProgramFuture teachers can apply for this one-time grant if they agree to teach in high-need areas for four years
Middle Class ScholarshipStudents with family income and assets below $184,000 can use this grant to cover from 10% to 40% of their tuition and attendance costs

Students enrolled in California schools can also qualify for federal grants such as:

  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants

Scholarships in California

The State of California offers a plethora of private and institutional scholarships. If you’re attending a school located in California, you should contact its financial aid department to inquire about school-specific scholarships.

Outside scholarships can help you fill any financial gaps you still have after receiving aid. Here are some tools to help you with your search:

California Financial Aid—Loans

California doesn’t offer state-specific loans, but it does participate in the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program, which allows you to get the following loans:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans

Work-Study Programs in California

The State of California participates in the Federal Work-Study Program that allows students to work up to:

  • 20 hours per week during the academic year
  • 40 hours per week during breaks

Most California-based schools also offer employment programs for students who don’t qualify or haven’t applied for Federal Work-Study.

How To Apply for California Financial Aid

To apply for California financial aid, check out the forms you need to complete and the application deadlines:

Financial Aid ApplicationDescription
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)Students need to meet the following criteria to complete the FAFSA:

  • Have any of the following citizenship statuses:
    • U.S. citizen
    • T visa holder
    • Permanent resident
    • Eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled in an eligible school and program
  • Demonstrate financial need

Applications are open from October 1st of the current year through June 30th of the year after next (For example, for the academic year 2020/2021, FAFSA applications opened on October 1st, 2019, and closed on June 30th, 2021)

California Dream Act Application (CADAA)CADAA requires students to:

  • Have a valid or expired DACA status or a Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Be a U visa holder
  • Meet AB540 requirements for tuition exemption

CADAA applications for the next academic year begin on October 1st of the current year and end on March 2nd the following year

What To Do if a School in California Doesn’t Offer You Enough Aid

If a school in California denies you aid or offers too little, you can appeal its decision by writing a rock-solid appeal letter.

Subscribe to DoNotPay to get a custom financial aid appeal letter without any hassle!

Use DoNotPay To Create an Appeal Letter and Get More Financial Aid!

If you feel like your dream school underestimated your financial need, DoNotPay can help you get more aid in three simple steps:

  1. Open DoNotPay in any web browser
  2. Search for Appeal for More Financial Aid
  3. Answer a few brief questions about your application

After you complete the final step, the service will generate a custom letter using the information you provided to make it as convincing as possible.

Handy Financial Aid Guides Are Only a Few Clicks Away

We can help you find out all the info about financial aid, such as how many years you can get it for or how it works for graduate schools. We even explained a variety of programs of the most popular schools in the U.S., such as:

University of California, Los Angeles Financial AidColumbia University Financial AidYale University Financial Aid
University of California, Davis Financial AidUniversity of California, Berkeley Financial AidUniversity of California, Santa Cruz Financial Aid
Stanford University Financial AidMIT Financial AidPrinceton University Financial Aid
Rutgers University Financial AidHarvard University Financial AidCornell University Financial Aid
University of California San Diego Financial AidPurdue University Financial AidNew York University Financial Aid

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