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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!

Scholarships & Grants

What is the Cal Grant A & B Entitlement Award?

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

In order to be eligible for the Cal Grant Entitlement 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 or you can file a paper FAFSA. Paper FAFSA's are available at your campus financial aid office and must be completed and postmarked no later than March 2nd. The GPA verification form must be completed by your college or high school and must be submitted with a postmark no later than March 2nd. At the schools option, it can be transmitted, directly by your school, no later than March 2nd.

Here is a little description about the Cal Grants A & B programs:


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. The maximum new award amounts for 2003-2004 are: $9,708 at independent schools and colleges, $3,429 at the University of California (UC) and $1,428 at the California State University (CSU). The Cal Grant A award amounts may differ depending on the annual budget process. You will receive notification of the official award amounts once the budget is signed.


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 2003-2004 academic year range between $700 to $1,551. 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. Cal Grant B award amounts for the 2003-2004 award year will be determined through the annual budget process. (The maximum tuition and fee amounts for 2002-2003 were the same as those awarded under the Cal Grant A program.) 

What's the difference between a Loan and a Grant?

One major difference between a loan and a grant is:


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. You may wish to go to EDFUND to see more about the loans they guarantee. They may be contacted by going to


The Cal Grant is different in that you do not have to pay back the grant. Both the grant and loan are used for the purpose of assisting students, who demonstrate financial need, with tuition costs to attend a college, university or private post secondary institution.

Each student should look into the grant programs both federal and state first and if you demonstrate further financial need, then you can explore subsidizing your educational costs with student loans.

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. Check out these websites..

This is a free scholarship search site. You fill out an online profile and they look for scholarships that fit your profile. They give you a "mailbox" and as time goes by they'll put scholarship applications (or letters about them) in your mailbox.

- The most popular calculators are the College Cost Projector, Savings Plan Designer , Financial Aid Estimation Calculator and Loan Payment Calculator.

- This explains the volunteer programs of service to America, like VISTA and The National Civilian Community Corps. Americorps workers also work for Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross and Boys and Girls Clubs. It is a great program for those who are really interested in doing something for the country as a civilian