How to apply for a Cal Grant
Step 1: Complete either a FAFSA or Dream Act Application:
- U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, or Other Eligible Non-Citizens: Must complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.gov). The FAFSA must be completed and filed with the federal processor to be considered for Cal Grant. To e-sign the FAFSA, students must request an FSA ID. When completing the dependency questions on the FAFSA, students who are determined to be a “dependent" must also have one of their parents request a FSA ID to e-sign the student's FAFSA.
- Dream Act: Students who meet the definition of an AB540 student: Must complete the California Dream Act Application (https://dream.csac.ca.gov/) by the March 2 deadline to be considered for a Dream Act Cal Grant. Students will be able to e-sign the Dream Act Application at the time of submission. When completing the dependency questions on the Dream Act Application, student who are determined to be a “dependent student" must have one of their parents request a pin # from the California Student aid Commission (CSAC).
Step 2: File a verified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) (see section “Cal Grant GPA Requirement" below, for important information for this requirement)
Deadlines: (see section “Cal Grant Application Cycles" below, for important information regarding these deadlines)
- March 2 – for California Community Colleges, CSU's, UC's or eligible private colleges.
- September 2 - is only for students who have completed 16+ units and will be attending a California Community College (CCC)
For more information about the Cal Grant Application process, and to see who qualifies please go to https://www.csac.ca.gov/students:
General Cal Grant Eligibility Requirements
|Be a California Resident or AB 540 eligible||Not be in grant repayment or in default on a student loan|
|Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen or AB-540 eligible||Maintain satisfactory academic progress to receive payment|
|Not be incarcerated||Attend a Cal Grant eligible school|
|Meet Selective Service requirements if male||Not have earned a bachelor's degree|
|Enroll at least half-time to receive payment|||
For more information about the Cal Grant eligibility requirements, go to https://www.csac.ca.gov/students
Types of Cal Grant
There are three types of Cal Grant. Based on a student's responses while completing the FAFSA or Dream Act Application, the GPA Verification, and type of California College listed on the FAFSA or Dream Act Application will determine which Cal Grant they may be eligible.
Cal Grant A: Provides low-middle income students with tuition/fee assistance up to $12,630 at a University of California campus, up to $5,742 at a California State University campus, and up to $9,084 at independent colleges. Cal Grant A is for an academic program that is 2-4 years in length. If awarded at a California Community College, Cal Grant A will be held in reserve for up to two years until student transfers to a 4-year school while attending a California Community College.
Please note: It is the student's responsibility to make sure their Cal Grant A is on California Community College Reserve status with the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) if they are only attending classes at a California Community College. To find your status log in at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp.
Cal Grant B: Provides low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,672 for books and living expenses. After the freshman year, Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees (at universities) in the same amount as a Cal Grant A. For a Cal Grant B, student's coursework must be for at least one academic year. Cal Grant B is for an academic program that is at least 1 year in length. Sophomore through senior years the student will receive tuition and fees plus Access Award at tuition charging institution.
Cal Grant C: Provides up to $1,094 for books, tools, and equipment for non-transfer California Community College students ($2,462 more in tuition and fees for students who are attending a school other than a California Community College). Cal Grant C is for students who are pursuing an approved occupational Associate Degree or Certificate at a vocational, occupational or technical school. Cal Grant C is available for up to two years. Students selected by CSAC to receive a Cal Grant C are required to complete a Cal Grant C Supplement form. Cal Grant C is only offered only prior to the March 2 deadline.
For more information about the Cal Grant A, B, and C go to https://www.csac.ca.gov/students
Cal Grant Application Cycles
There are three distinct application cycles, which will determine if a student meets the High School Entitlement, Transfer Entitlement or Competitive.
High School Entitlement: Deadline is March 2, for current high school seniors, or prior year high school graduates who meet the general Cal Grant eligibility requirements. Students are required to have their high school submit their GPA by March 2.
- New Entitlement Cal Grant A & B students must submit to CSAC on-line:
- their High School Verification
- confirm which school they will be attending (may start this process in February)
Transfer Entitlement: Deadline is March 2, for students who:
- meet the Cal Grant eligibility requirements and plan to transfer directly from a California Community College (CCC) to a 4-year University that offers a bachelor degree in the award year
- have a verified GPA electronically reported from a California Community College of 2.4
- graduated from a California high school or have achieve the equivalent
- are a California Resident at the time of high school graduation
- are under the age of 28
- have completed the Transfer Entitlement Verification form on https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp
*Competitive: For students who are not awarded a Cal Grant Entitlement, who meet the Cal Grant eligibility requirements, and meet one of the following deadlines:
- California Community College, CSU, UC or eligible Private College is March 2nd
- California Community College Only is September 2nd
*Please note: there is a limit number of competitive awards offered each deadline. For more information about the Cal Grant A, B, and C go to https://www.csac.ca.gov/students
Cal Grant GPA Requirement
In addition to the FAFSA or Dream Act Application, a school certified Grade Point Average (GPA) must be submitted to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by the filing deadlines, in order to be considered for a Cal Grant award:
- March 2 Deadline – for California Community Colleges, CSU's, UC's or eligible private colleges. It is for consideration of the Entitlement, the first competitive Cal Grant cycle, or Cal Grant C programs.
- September 2 Deadline - is only for students who will be attending a CCC. It is for the second competitive cycle
CSAC will only accept GPAs by one of the following methods:
- Certified by high school or college electronically. The fastest and most secure way for a student to submit his or her Cal Grant GPA is to have their school electronically upload the GPA directly to the California Student Aid Commission's system.
- Certified by a school official on the paper GPA Verification form. The paper Cal Grant GPA Verification form must be certified by the school if the school cannot submit it electronically. Click on the following link to download the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and have the registrar in Admissions & Records certify the GPA. The GPA Verification form must be postmarked no later than the deadline date(s) as describe above. No transcripts are accepted.
Please note: Students who have less than 16 completed college units are required to have their High School submit their GPA. An applicant who does not have a High School GPA or whose GPA is more than 5 years old may submit a test score from the General Educational Development Test (GED), the American College Test (ACT) or the SAT Reasoning Test (SATI), in order to be considered for a Cal grant Award.
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) Policy for submitting GPA Records: SCC will automatically submit GPAs to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) for California Resident Students who are attending/has attended classes at SCC and their last semester was completed no later than 3 years from the GPA deadline date, and have completed at least 16 units. Transfer units will be included only if the official transcript was evaluated before the time SCC submits the GPA electronically.
Student's Responsibility: In order for a GPA submission record to be valid, it is the student's responsibility to make sure that Admissions & Records is reflecting their correct social security number and High School Graduation Date at least three weeks prior to submission deadline. If either one of the components are invalid by the GPA Submission Date; the record will be rejected by CSAC. Students can inquire about the details of submitted GPAs after the submission deadline in the Financial Aid Office. Students who change enrollment status from the Career Advance Placement Program (CAP) into a first year freshman college student, must make sure to complete a new Admission Application with their High School Graduation Status updated. Students in the CAP Program will not have their GPA submitted to CSAC by Santiago Canyon College.
Students identified as AB 540 Dreamer & Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who meet the AB 540 requirements, will have other data matches submitted to CSAC such as address, date of birth, e-mail address, etc. in lieu of a social security number, along with their GPA by the March 2nd Deadline. AB 540 & DACA students must make sure that these data elements match between Admissions & Records and their Dream Act Application.
SCC's Process for Awarding/Disbursing Cal Grant Awards
Awarding: Students offered a Cal Grant by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) must have a completed financial aid file before the Santiago Canyon College Financial Aid Office (SCC FAO) processes the student's Cal Grant. This means that all the required documentation must be turned in and the Financial Aid Analyst assigned the file finalizes the file as "Awarded."
Determination of required documents:
- Selected for Verification by the Department of Education – The student must submit all of the required documents in order for the SCC FAO to complete the verification process. Please note: California Dream Act Application Verification Status will be selected by (CSAC) - not the Department of Education.
- Not selected for Verification/Conflicting Information – The student must submit all required documentation that SCC is requesting to resolve any conflicting information.
- Not selected for Verification/No conflicting information – The SCC FAO has determined that there are no additional documents required. In this case, the student's financial aid file will be automatically awarded.
All Cal Grant students may check for any required documents, their SAP Status, and the status of their Financial Aid File by logging on to Web Advisor under the Financial Aid Menu. In addition, Dream Act students must also file an affidavit with the college stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.
Upon completion of the financial aid file, the SCC FAO will add the Cal Grant award to the student's award as long as the student meets the income and asset ceiling as outlined by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). A revised Financial Aid Office Notification will be emailed at that time. If the student no longer meets the income and assets ceiling requirements, the SCC FAO will inform CSAC to have the Cal Grant award withdrawn.
Following is the Income & Asset Ceilings:
Cal Grant Disbursement Policy & Census Date: The Santiago Canyon College Financial Aid Office (SCC FAO) only disburses Cal Grant B Access Funds and Cal Grant C Book & Supplies awards to eligible students. The SCC FAO does not disburse any Cal Grant funds for tuition. Generally, the SCC FAO only disburses Cal Grant one time during the semester. The SCC FAO will not disburse Cal Grant prior to the Admissions & Records Add/Drop Census Date at the beginning of each semester (see A&R's instructional calendar for these dates on their website: Admissions & Records). This policy of disbursing after the A&R Census Date is to prevent the student from having to pay back Cal Grant funds that would have been received as an overpayment for classes that were cancelled. The SCC FAO will disburse funds for all units that student is actively attending a the time of disbursement, in order to assist Cal Grant eligible students to be able to retain their Cal Grant lifetime remaining eligibility percentage if they drop a class with a "W." Within the semester, the SCC FAO may increase a Cal Grant disbursement only when the student adds units for second 8 week classes. Disbursements for second 8 week classes will take place after the A & R Census Date in order to reflect the maximum eligibility of earned units during the semester. The SCC FAO only disburses Cal Grant for the Fall and Spring semesters.
Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG): Full-Time California Community College students who are eligible for Cal Grant B & C and are attending full-time (12+ units) may also be eligible to receive an SSCG of up to $4,000 per academic year, sponsored by the California Community College Chancellor's Office (CCCCO). The Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG) follows the same policy guidelines as Cal Grant. SSCG Funds are limited; therefore, disbursement is not guaranteed.
For disbursement dates, refer to the disbursement schedule. All Cal Grant fund will funded through the Rancho Santiago Community College District's 3rd Party Service BankMobile. Students must make a refund selection via WebAdvisor by clicking on “Choose your disbursement option (BankMobile)"
Additional Considerations / Requirements When Accepting Cal Grant Award Funds:
- New Cal Grant Entitlement – Before Cal Grant funds can be disbursed, students must submit their High School Verification to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). Besides confirming the High School Verification, students must confirm which school they will be attending beginning the month of February. Students must go online to submit their high school graduation status and confirm their school of attendance at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp
- All Cal Grant Renewals – Students must complete the FAFSA Application or California Dream Act Application annually in order for CSAC to determine their renewal eligibility. Students must meet the annual income & asset ceilings as set by CSAC. It is a student's responsibility to track their own remaining Cal Grant eligibility, and renewal is not guaranteed even if a student places their Cal Grant on a Leave of Absence (LOA). A student can do this online at https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp. Cal Grant B pays part or all of your tuition (depending on if the institution is public or non-public) at a four-year California institution. Students who transfer to a four-year institution with less than 200% of their eligibility can significantly reduce the amount of Cal Grant funds that they will receive once they transfer. Cal Grant B students with 200% or less remaining eligibility should consider taking a Leave of Absence if they are not able to transfer to a university. Leave of Absences are a maximum of two years.
Additional Cal Grant Information:
Grade Level Certification: Santiago Canyon College will certify grade levels for students who are awarded Cal Grant for the first time. They are as follows:
- Grade Level 1 (Freshman) Completed <30 units beginning the academic year
- Grade Level 2 (Sophomore) Completed 30+ units beginning the academic year
Assembly Bill-2248 Notification: Cal Grant award is limited to four academic years, except for students enrolled in an institutionally required five-year undergraduate program or for student with baccalaureate degrees admitted to and enrolled in a program of professional teach preparation. A student needs to take 15 units per semester or quarter, or 30 semester units or the equivalent quarter units per academic year, in order to graduate within four years.
Confidentiality: “The California Student Aid Commission has strict security and confidentiality policies and procedures to protect the integrity and confidentiality of student records."
Questions & Contacts:
SCC Financial Aid office (714) 628-4876
California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) (888) 224-7268
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