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Counseling Corner » Paying for College

Paying for College

Don't let finances get in the way of your college goals. Unfortunately, many first generation college applicants and students of color end up not going to college because they feel it's too expensive.

Don't let that be you! START PLANNING EARLY! There are numerous sources of funding, and in fact, you can start accumulating money now! From grants to loans to scholarships, there are many ways to pay for college. It's important for you to determine which one is the best for your situation.


What is the Cal Grant A & B Award?

If you are a current high school senior or a recent high school graduate, you may be eligible for the Cal Grant Award to assist you with your college costs. If this sounds like you, then you can receive a Cal Grant Award.

Here is a little description about the Cal Grant Programs:

In order to be eligible for the Cal Grant Award, you will need to:

  • be a recent High School graduate or high school senior ready to graduate
  • be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • be a California Resident
  • attend a qualifying California college
  • not have already earned a bachelor's or professional degree
  • have financial need at the college of your choice
  • have a family income and assets below the income ceilings
  • be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half-time
  • have registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required to do so
  • not owe a refund on any state or federal grant
  • not be in default on any student loan

You must also complete and file both the FAFSA and GPA Verification form by March 2nd. The FAFSA may be completed on line by going to The GPA verification form must be completed by your college or high school and must be submitted no later than March 2nd.


Cal Grant A awards assist low- and middle-income students with tuition/fee costs. Awards are based on financial need and academic achievement, as measured by the applicant's GPA or test scores.

The minimum length of the course of study in which a Cal Grant A recipient must be enrolled is two academic years. If you are a Cal Grant A recipient and attend a community college, no payment will be made. Your award will be placed on reserve for up to two years until you transfer to a four-year college, university, or trade school.

New Cal Grant A Recipient Annual Award Amounts:

CSU - $5,742
UC - $12,570
For-Profit (Non WASC) - $4,000
For Profit (WASC) - $8,056
Private Non-Profit - $9,084


Cal Grant B awards assist low-income or disadvantaged students with "access costs." Awards are based upon financial need and academic achievement and may take into consideration other family circumstances. The access award assists with living expenses, books, supplies, transportation and other non-tuition/fee costs in the first year.
The maximum access award proposed for the 2021-2022 academic year range between $700 to $1,656. Renewal recipients, California Community College transfer students, and 2 percent of first-year recipients will receive a Cal

Grant B award which will also include a tuition award. 



A Federal subsidized educational loan is money borrowed to help assist students with low interest rate loans to help defray the educational costs. The Federal subsidized loans can be borrowed from different lenders and can be guaranteed by several state agencies throughout the United states. You will need to check with your college or university for a list of lenders and guarantors.

The loans must be paid back after you graduate from college or drop below a half time status. Your loans can be deferred during some periods while you are in attendance in school and most loans have a grace period before you begin to repay. 

The two types of loans generally given to students are Subsidized Loans and Unsubsidized Loans. Check out the graphic below to see the difference. 

Subsidized Loans vs Unsubsidized Loans



Preparing for college means taking A-G classes, getting involved in extracurricular activities and getting prepared financially. 
You can prepare yourself financially by exploring scholarship opportunities. Scholarships range from $50 – thousands of dollars. Some scholarships are specifically for books, tuition and some are open to any college financial needs you may have. 
Don't Fall for Scholarship Scams: Applying for financial aid is free!! You will only need to fill out a FAFSA application. Be wary of companies offering to find scholarships for you for a fee. Go to to learn more about scholarship scams. You can actually search for free online or go to your local library for a list of scholarships. You can also create an account on the following websites: