CA colleges for CA resident and Grant Aid

Someone mentioned Grant Aid for CA schools for CA residents. They said it covered their student’s tuition at a UC or CA state school. Can someone let me know how this works? My son is a Junior in HS right now, so we are not ready to file FAFSA yet.

Yes, the Cal grant.

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Thank you for that. Looks like there are income limitations that we exceed :frowning:

That’s a shame :frowning: It is some combination of need and merit (in the sense that there is a GPA requirement, too). It doesn’t totally cover tuition in many cases, however, and the amounts are different depending on whether you ultimately go to a UC, a CSU, or a private.

Beyond the Cal Grants for California residents, there is the Blue and Gold Opportunity and the Middle Class Scholarship along with Federal aid and Federal student loans.

The best way to determine if any college including the California UC’s and Cal states will be affordable is to run the Net Price Calculators for each school. This will give you an estimate of your costs.

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Go ahead and file the paperwork for the web grants via the California Student Aid Commission. From what I understand, they are increasing the numbers of people who will qualify and the State of California is trying to fund as many students as possible from the middle classes. But, if the Cal Grant doesn’t happen, then your information may be used for the Middle Class Scholarship or the Blue & Gold Scholarships.

Plus, your son may qualify for a State University Grant from the individual UC/CSU or private. They’ll look at any incoming information from CSAC.

Give it a shot.

Please submit your “paperwork” to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by the deadline of March 2nd. If you haven’t filed your taxes by then, please use an estimate. They just want an average estimate. Later, they will have your student confirm the estimate or change what needs to be changed.

The reason for the March 2nd deadline is that the California schools are compiling their financial aid budget applicants, and they estimate how many of the state’s applicants will be using state funding. CSAC needs those applications to have a good estimate of the numbers of applicants seeking state funding.

LATER, after your child is admitted, please be patient with the California funding. Depending on the California state budget (confirmed in the summer), and the individual university, most students wont “sign off” on their state funding “checks” until after they have registered and have been in classes. The universities wont “charge” the student and will wait (hold) to confirm the status of incoming funds from CSAC.

If you have questions, the CSAC people are very accessible and explain the process. My former students were always hesitant to contact them, so that was the hard part. Once they speak to someone, they realize that the staff is very helpful.

Do I wait for his Senior year to start to start this process? He is class of 2024 to that would be this coming fall?

Do I wait for his Senior year to start to start this process? He is class of 2024 to that would be this coming fall? I am thinking being at the end of his Junior year it might be too early?

Yes, he can’t apply for CA state funding until Senior year, March 2024. His electronic GPA certification will be sent to Cal Grant offices in Spring of 2024 by his high school. From their website:


A GPA is required to be considered for a new Cal Grant award.

Most public California high schools, community colleges, and universities submit a Cal Grant GPA to us electronically. Confirm that your school has submitted your GPA to us.

In addition to your GPA, you must complete a:

Forms must be emailed or postmarked by the date below to be considered on time.


March 2ndIf you were not able to submit your GPA on time for this deadline, you can still submit a GPA using the GPA Verification Form and explaining the reason why in the Late Submission Appeals section no later than May 16th 2023. For Cal Grant C and Competitive Students, Late Submission Appeals must be submitted by March 22nd 2023.

  • Recent High School Graduate
  • Community College Transfer Student
  • Cal Grant C
  • Competitive Student

September 2nd

  • Community College Student
  • Foster Youth (Community College)

Renewal Cal Grant Student – no GPA submission required

For additional information on the above Cal Grant programs, visit How to Apply.

Not sure if your GPA was submitted? Check your 2023-24 Cal Grant tab in WebGrants 4 Students.

GPA Verification Form should only be used by students whose school has not submitted a GPA on their behalf.

Cal Grant GPA Calculations Instructions

As @aunt_bea noted, you start the Cal grant process in 2024 but when researching college costs, you can use the Net price calculators earlier and these are updated usually yearly.

I forgot to add:

Start a financial aid file in your home office and your computer to begin to collect information for FAFSA and CSAC. (W-2’s, tax info, etc.) The paper info can go in the file, and the email traffic will be in your file, on your computer.