The Cal Grant is a financial aid program administrated by the California Student Aid Program in California that provides aid to California undergraduates, students at vocational schools and those in teacher certification programs. Cal Grants are the largest source of California state aid. It provides funds to students who meet grade point average and parent income requirements. Qualifying for the Cal Grant requires families to file the FAFSA to determine eligibility for the grant.
To refresh your memory, grants are the best - they are gifts or scholarships that do not have to be repaid. Do you fully appreciate that? They DO NOT have to be repaid. It is FREE money.
The Cal Grant was established for California students attending California colleges. There are three components in determining Cal Grant eligibility: parent income, assets and the academic achievement of the student.
In order to qualify for the Cal Grant A, which is the maximum award, the family's income must not exceed the ceiling. The income ceiling varies with the size of the family. The income calculation is based on the parents' adjusted gross income (AGI) plus any untaxed income such as 401-k contributions or child support (minus several credits for a limited number of families). In FAFSA form terms, this equates to AGI plus "Worksheet A" plus "Worksheet B" minus "Worksheet C."
The new asset ceiling is set at $59,100. The asset calculation does not include the home equity of your primary residence, retirement accounts or annuities. It does include cash, checking, savings, CDs, money market funds, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, investment real estate, 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.
These are the same accounts that are counted in the Federal financial aid process, and very close to those of the CSS/PROFILE, used by the private colleges.
The student must have a 3.0 GPA according to the California Student Aid Commission's (CSAC) GPA Verification Form. Some high schools automatically transmit electronically every senior's GPA Verification Form to the CSAC, so it is important to understand the high school's method. Most often the student must personally request the signed form from the guidance department and then mail it no later than March 2.
The FAFSA form is also due at California schools March 2.
The Cal Grant program is one of the most generous state grants in the nation. For private schools, the Cal Grant A is just under $10,000 annually. For UC schools, the award is just under $7,000 and for CSU, just under $3,000.