Receiving Cal grant after a gap year?

Last year in a last-minute decision I decided to take a gap year, at that point I already applied to two colleges and I was awarded a cal grant award. However, since I decided to take a gap year I didn’t confirm a school on the site and didn’t use the award at all so it’s just sitting in my account as “Award pending” for the years 2021-2022. Now that I’m actually going to college this fall do I just wait for the cal grant award to renew? I’m not sure if that’s possible because there is no school that could renew the award for me. Is there a way to cancel last year’s award and have it as if I’m an incoming freshman for the year of 2022-2023? Any help is appreciated

You need to contact the Cal Grant office because you are making assumptions about your Cal Grant status. The funding comes from the State of California. Every year the budget changes from the State and you cannot assume that everything will remain the same.
Did you advise the Cal Grant office that you would be taking a leave before you took your gap year?
Did you file the FAFSA and submit your parents’ tax records by March 2, 2022 to qualify for funding for this year?
You need to contact their offices. They are very good about explaining things and orienting you about the funding requirements.

From the Cal Grant FACT sheet:

"To successfully manage your Cal Grant, you MUST:

  • Log on to and create your online WebGrants for Students (WGS) account to
    •  Understand and manage your Cal Grant award.
    •  Update your address or school of attendance. The California Student Aid Commission communicateswith students using their e‐mail address on file so it is critical that you keep this information updated.
    •  Post a leave of absence.
    •  Allow a third party (such as a parent or guardian) access to your Cal Grant information.
    •  Satisfy outstanding requirements."
  1. Contact Information

If you have any questions about the Cal Grant, please contact the California Student Aid Commission.

 Visit our homepage:  View Frequently Asked Questions
 By e‐mail:
 By phone: (888) 224‐7268

 By mail:
California Student Aid Commission Cal Grant Program
PO Box 419028
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741‐9028"

I didn’t think I needed a leave of absence because I wasn’t going to be attending any institution that needed my leave of absence, is that something I should’ve done?

I also did apply for the FAFSA. My award status for this year just says that it needs to be renewed, although it really wouldn’t be renewing in my situation since I didn’t go to a college last year

The application is a renewal because it is not the first time that you’ve filled it out.

You do realize that they don’t “hold” previously awarded funds for you, right? You start a new year fund.
The amounts can change yearly because the State of California’s budget changes yearly.

So in conclusion, if I didn’t claim last year’s award I just have to wait for renewal this year? The award won’t be the same though because each year it changes right?

If you didn’t claim it, you need to contact the CalGrant office.
You have to be proactive and call because they have no idea what you plan to do. They have hundreds of thousands of California students, in their data base, at all levels of education. Why would you wait?
Did I mention that the priority funding goes to those students who filed by the March 2nd date. They do run out of funds because they try to fund as many students as possible. If you don’t contact them, they can assume that you are not interested and will not reserve funds for you.
Their awards are based on the type of Cal Grant, your GPA, and what the university charges in tuition and fees.
It’s easier if you call and speak to someone; they are very nice and helpful. I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to contact them-it’s a grant that you don’t have to pay back. Free money. If you don’t contact them, then you really don’t want or need the funding.

Thanks so much! I will be contacting them! Do you know if it’s better through email or phone?

Phone is sometimes better because it shows them that you are being proactive to pick up the phone and call. They may have you email them, but they’re really good about explaining things over the phone and they usually are super patient and kind and answer your questions, or they give you internet references to where you can find the information.
Good luck!

Does Cal know that you were taking a gap year with the intention of attending a college the following year?

The California system is different in many ways, but for most schools if you want to take a gap year, you need to accept admission then apply for a gap year. If you don’t accept admission (“claim a school”) they don’t hold your spot until the following year.

I am not familiar enough with the California schools to know, but do they really hold your spot indefinitely if you don’t communicate with them?

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