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Financial Aid Information

What is Financial Aid?
Financial Aid:  funding intended to help students pay for educational expenses which include tution and fees, room and board, books, suppliles, etc. 
Financial aid can be classified in two different categories:
1.  Merit-based financial aid 

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. 

(Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

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 October 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


Who is eligible to fill out the FAFSA?
• Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
• Have a valid Social Security Number
• Register with Selective Service if you are male and 18 to 25 years of age (go to www.sss.gov for more information).
• Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate
• Not have a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, or work-study)


What is Federal Student Aid?


• Federal student aid is financial assistance that’s available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.
• Federal student aid covers school expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. This aid can also help you pay for a computer and dependent childcare expenses.
• There are three categories of federal student aid: grants, work-study and loans.
What’s the difference between grants, work-study and loans?
• Grants: Free money that does not have to be repaid
• Work-study: provides jobs to undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.
• Loans: Parent and student loans that MUST be paid back but typically charges lower interest rates than private banks.


When do I fill out the FAFSA?


• October 1


What is the deadline to submit the FAFSA?


• March 2


What documents do I need to fill out the FAFSA?




Where do I go to fill out the FAFSA?





  • 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:

How to apply for a Cal Grant

Step 1:

  •  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.

Step Two:

More information on the CAL Grant if available at the following website:

CSS Profile
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

                         -alumni contributions

                         -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 

Dream Act Flyer

Dream Application

California Dream Act Application Instructions

Dream Application Worksheets

Quick Guide for Undocumented Immigrant Students