Merit-based grants or scholarships include both scholarships awarded by the individual college or university and those awarded by outside organizations. Merit-based scholarships are typically awarded for outstanding academic achievements and maximum SAT or ACT scores, although some merit scholarships can be awarded for special talents, leadership potential and other personal characteristics. Scholarships may also be given because of group affiliation (such as YMCA, Boys Club, etc.). Merit scholarships are sometimes awarded without regard for the financial need of the applicant. At many colleges, every admitted student is automatically considered for merit scholarships. At other institutions, however, a separate application process is required. Scholarships do not need to be repaid as long as all scholarship requirements are met.
Athletic scholarships are a form of merit aid that take athletic talent into account.
2. Need-based financial aid
Need-based financial aid is awarded on the basis of the financial need of the student. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid application (FAFSA) is generally used for determining federal, state, and institutional need-based aid eligibility. At private institutions, a supplemental application may be necessary for institutional need-based aid. Need-based aid typically comes in three forms:
- Grants: Free money that does not have to be paid back
- Work-Study: Money earned through part time employment subsidized by the goverment
- Loans: Money that is loaned with accruing interest until graduation
Click HERE for a breakdown of the major financial aid programs.
Typcially the most common way to apply for federal financial aid is through the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) which is available starting January 1 and is due March 2.
Like many other applications, the FAFSA is available online. Click here to go to the official FAFSA Website.
FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions
- Cal Grant awards are California state funded monetary grants given to students to help pay for college expenses.
- The awards do not have to be paid back.
- These grants only apply to California schools and universities (No out of state schools)
Types of CAL GRANT:
- Cal Grant A Entitlement awards can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges as well as some private career colleges. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees up to $4,884 and $11,124 respectively. If you are attending a private college, it pays up to $9,708 toward tuition and fees. To get this Cal Grant, you need to be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.
- Cal Grant B Entitlement awards provides low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,551 for books and living expenses. After the freshman year, Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees in the same amount as a Cal Grant A. For a Cal Grant B, your coursework must be for at least one academic year.
- Cal Grant C awards help pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career technical schools. This $576 award is for books, tools and equipment. You may also receive up to an additional $2,592 for tuition at a school other than a California Community College. To qualify, you must enroll in a vocational program that is at least four months long at a California Community College, private college, or a career technical school. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of your program.
- Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards are for students who aren't eligible for the Entitlement awards. The main difference is that these awards are not guaranteed.
- Cal Grant A Competitive Awards are for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who are from low-and middle-income families. These awards help pay tuition and fees at qualifying schools with academic programs that are at least two years in length.
- Cal Grant B Competitive Awards are for students with a minimum 2.0 GPA who are from disadvantaged and low-income families. These awards can be used for tuition, fees and access costs at qualifying schools whose programs are at least one year in length. If you get a Cal Grant B Competitive Award it can only be used for access costs in the first year. These costs include living expenses, transportation, supplies and books. Beginning with the second year, you can use your Cal Grant B Competitive Award to help pay tuition and fees at public or private four-year colleges or other qualifying schools.
How to apply for a Cal Grant
- Complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the FAFSA form is a federal form that must be filed by any student who wants to be considered for college financial aid. For a Cal Grant, the FAFSA must be completed and filed with the federal processor by March 2 of each year. Get a federal personal identification number, or PIN, to electronically sign the FAFSA on the Web. If you’re a dependent student, your parents can also get a PIN to e-sign your FAFSA.
- You can also download a PDF version of the FAFSA which you will need to mail for processing. Or call toll free 800.433.3243 to have a paper FAFSA sent to you. If you’ll be mailing the FAFSA or the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form, be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing ($1.05 in addition to postage) from the Post Office so that you can verify the date you mailed your forms.
- File a verified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission by no later than March 2.
More information on the CAL Grant if available at the following website:
The CSS Profile is a service offerred by the College Board. Member colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools, and scholarship programs use the information collected on the CSS PROFILE to help them award nonfederal student aid funds.
Typcially the CSS Profile is used by private and out of state colleges and univerities. Check the link below for a complete list of participating schools that utilize the CSS Profile and more information about the CSS Profile itself:
**NOTE: There is a fee to register for the CSS Profile as well as a fee for sending your CSS Profile to individual schools**
California Dream Act
Who is the Dream Application for?
The California Dream Act Application is for students who meet the qualifications of AB 540
- An eligible AB 540 student is a student who:
-Attended a CA high school for 3+ years
-Graduated from a CA high school or the equivalent
-Enrolls in an accredited CA college or university
-In case of student without lawful immigration status, filed an affidavit with institution stating that he/she has filed an application to legalize status or will file as soon as he or she is eligible
AB 540 Students may be:
- Students who are undocumented
- Students who are U.S. citizens, but who are not CA residents
-Usually dependent students living in the state whose parents are not CA residents
- In either case, the students must meet the AB 540 criteria on the previous slide
AB 130 - Dream Act Part I
- Signed into law on July 25, 2011
- Becomes effective January 1, 2012 for 2-12-13 year
- Allows students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for & receive private scholarships administered by the public colleges and universities, including
-scholarships funded through private donors
-individual departmental efforts
For information about how and when to apply, AB 540 students must contact their financial aid offices.
For more information: http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp
Download the following information or visit http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp