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Cal Grant: How To Access Sponsored Scholarships in California

By IntFormalities
Published on June 1, 2024
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Cal Grant is a state-funded economic relief program that aims to make college affordable for students from low and middle-income families. The Cal Grant allowance covers essential payments like tuition, books, and living expenses for up to four years. 

But how can you access the state education assistance program? Our guide provides everything you need to know about the Cal Grant program to aid your Cal Grant application process. Keep reading!

A person filling out a Cal Grant application form on a computer, surrounded by paperwork and a calculator.
368 schools offer Cal Grant to students in colleges, universities, and career technical schools.

What Is Cal Grant?

Cal Grant is a financial program the California State government sponsored through the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The program provides financial support to students from low and middle-income families who may be unable to afford their fees and other educational expenses. 

As of the 2023-2024 academic session, 368 schools support the program. These include students pursuing undergraduate degrees, vocational training, and those enrolled in teacher certification programs in California. 

How Does Cal Grant Work?

If you are a qualified student at any of the Cal Grant-supported schools, you can enjoy Cal Grant benefits to make college more affordable. The state-administered educational funding covers expenses like your college tuition, living expenses, books, transportation, and other fees; you don’t have to pay it back. 

Upon meeting your school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards, you can get a Cal Grant every year for up to 8 semesters or a maximum of four years. The renewal process is also automatic, provided you maintain the program’s eligibility requirements. 

Different Types of Cal Grant 

There are three Cal Grant categories. Each has unique requirements, including GPA, supported expenses, and supported schools. However, the eligible amounts depend on your school and the academic session of the Cal Grant application. We highlight the different Cal Grants below. 

CCCUCCSUPrivate Non-ProfitWASC-Accredited Private For Profit Non-WASC Private for Profit
Cal Grant AN/A$13,752$5,742$9,358$8,056$4,000
Cal Grant B$1,648$1,648$1,648$1,648$1,648$1,648
Cal Grant C$1,094 B/SN/AN/A$2,462 T/F + $547 B/S $2,462 T/F + $547 B/S $2,462 T/F + $547 B/S 
Source: Cal Grant Award Amounts Page

Cal Grant A 

This is open to students with 4-year programs at only colleges. As of the 2023-2024 session, a college undergraduate at the University of California (UC) can get a Cal Grant A up to $13,752, a California State University (CSU) student can receive up to $5,742, students at private non-profit schools can get up to $9358, and students in WASC-accredited independent for-profit schools can receive up to $8,056

To qualify, you must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 or a college GPA of 2.4

Cal Grant B

In addition to tuition and fee assistance after their first year, Cal Grant B provides students at a two- or four-year college with a living allowance of up to $1,648. Most students in their first year receive only an allowance to cover tuition, living expenses, books, and other essentials. However, a renewal after the first year increases the allowance to $13,752 at UC or the maximum amount at different campuses. 

You need a minimum GPA of 2.0 to be eligible

Cal Grant C

This is for technical or career education students and is available for 2 years. It provides recipients up to $1,094 for books and stationery and up to $2,462 for tuition and fees. 

Who Is Eligible for Cal Grant?

Cal Grant is only available to undergraduates or students pursuing vocational and career training. The eligibility requirements include:

Note that your school is responsible for determining your eligibility and final grant amount. So, if you don’t qualify for a Cal Grant this year, you should try again next year.

How To Apply for Cal Grant 

Though there are three kinds of Cal Grants, you can’t choose which one to apply for. All you have to do is submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the California Dream Act Application (CADAA), and your Cal Grant GPA verification form by the application deadline. 

To apply for the program, you must do the following:

  • Complete the FAFSA or CADAA form alongside your GPA verification form
  • Submit your official high school transcripts or evidence of GED test completion 
  • Attach other required documents like proof of nationality, income, and residence 

The program renews automatically every year, but you may use your Cal Grant login credentials to check your status every year. A renewal application must meet the program’s financial eligibility criteria, including the stipulated Income and Asset Ceiling for the academic year, to be successful.

The Cal Grant application deadline 2024-2025 is May 2, 2024, while the secondary Cal Grant deadline for CCC students is September 3, 2024. 

Other Financial Aid Programs for CA Students 

If you are ineligible for Cal Grants, you can apply for other CA financial aid programs to support your education expenses. The California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth and the Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS) programs are popular Cal Grant alternatives for students. 

The Chafee Grant offers eligible foster youths at colleges or career/technical schools up to $5,000 annually. It lasts for 5 years, while Cal Grants last for a maximum of 4 years. Students from other states can apply for Chafee Grants, unlike Cal Grants, which are limited to California students. 

Funding for the Chafee Grant is limited and is disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Get Financial Aid for Your Education

Cal Grant is a non-refundable funding for California students who need financial support for tuition, fees, and other educational expenses for up to 4 years. If you need more information or assistance with Cal Grants, visit the FAQ page or contact the student support phone number at (888) CA GRANT (888-224-7268)


What is Cal Grant’s GPA?

The standard GPA for Cal Grants depends on the program type for which you qualify. However, you need a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 or a college GPA of 2.4 to be eligible. 

Is Cal Grant the same as FAFSA?

CalGrant is a state-sponsored financial aid program for California students, while FAFSA is a federal-funded student aid program. However, you must complete and submit a Cal Grant application form and apply through FAFSA to get the state grant.

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