Cal Grant Basics

Sharing buttons:

okay so let's take a couple of minutes and we're going to talk about Cal Grant

basics so the Cal Grant basic requirements have not changed very much

you know this is a list of kind of what they look like and you can see these are

the basic requirements now naturally an AB 540 students so someone who's

potentially eligible to fill out the DREAM Act application doesn't meet all

these requirements right because they don't have to be a US citizen

they don't have to have a social and they don't necessarily have to be a

California resident but in general these are the requirements to be given

consideration for a Cal Grant award now the award process starts very simply

with two things a student in order to be considered for

a Cal grant so the initial consideration they have to have two things if they

don't have these two things they won't even be given consideration so

especially for I would say high school students you know who are graduating

this year or high school students who graduated last year what's really

critical is that they get this application done on time and that they

have a matching GPA so if you're a public high school or charter you know

by law you have to upload a GPA so how does this work so you will complete and

upload GPAs right if you're a public high school or charter you have to do it

if you're a private school you should be uploading these electronically although

you still don't have to that's going to change I think in the very near future

so everyone should be uploading these GPAs electronically both for their

current seniors and their previous year graduates I'm going to talk about that

in a minute and then the student is going to do an application

so either the FAFSA or the DREAM Act application now once those two things

are in the system hopefully that application is going to

match with that corresponding GPA and then we will start getting these two

things and we'll connect them and that will allow for these students to process

right they'll go through this process until they are

so hopefully you see this crazy good animation as we speak but that's kind of

how it works so what you need to remember is

application GPA right that's what we need first school should be uploading

GPAs by October first students should be filling out their applications beginning

October first and hopefully in October in November but no later than March 2nd

don't let them wait that long you want everyone to do everything early that

makes life much easier so what happens when they fill out an application and

they match to a GPA is the following the system will say ok we've got a GPA

we've got an application what are we going to look at next and these are the

qualifying factors that we're going to look at next

right we're going to look at the income and assets the GPA the financial need

which has a lot to do based on where this student is attending and the

program type so in other words are they are they taking something at school that

allows them to get a Cal Grant so that's what we look at next and that's the next

part of the process so I told you previously we were going to talk about

Cal Grant Awards A and B as it pertains to entitlement and competitive so you

don't need to remember all of this here's what you need to remember

entitlements good entitlements better we want students to be eligible for

entitlement competitive is better than nothing but it's still limited because

there's so many people who get processed for consideration and so few of that

number who actually get it so the window for an entitlement award and let me just

say you're saying well I still don't get it what's entitlement so entitlement

means that the award is guaranteed for students who meet the basic requirements

so if you meet the requirements you get the award entitlement means that the

state doesn't say yeah we only have this many awards or hmm we only have this

much money if you're entitled to the award based on your financial need right

and your GPA and all those other things we considered you automatically get the

Cal Grant so you can see that it's really

important that hopefully high school seniors are graduating and they have a

Cal Grant because frankly they're never going to have an easier time getting a

Cal Grant the other thing is for students who graduate from high school

they have a two year window of opportunity so the year they graduate

and the following year right the other window for entitlement is a student who

transfers from a community college to a four-year then there are some other

restrictions like a 2.4 GPA there's an age requirement so you have to be under

the age of 28 by the end of the award year etc etc etc so there are some

requirements but if you meet that eligibility you automatically get it so

now we know what an entitlement is what is competitive competitive is everybody

else everybody else so if you didn't get the entitlement award for whatever

reason you you are put into this competitive mix where you're going to be

scored and it's going to be difficult because there are a lot of students

applying and even though it's gone up to 41,000 a lot of students are not going

to get that award so certainly you don't want to tell you oh now well maybe

you'll get the competitive I mean it's always possible and certainly great for

those students who get it but again what 300,000

plus people applying and 41,000 Awards so do the math you can

say hmm it's better than nothing but the odds aren't great alright and the big

takeaway is that DREAM Act applicants are now eligible for the very first time

so that's great and any other student who doesn't meet the entitlement

qualifications they're eligible so they'll get thrown into the mix

they'll be scored and then they'll get notified and that's basically the

difference between entitlement and competitive all right so here's just

kind of a recap of what I just talked about so I'm not going to go over this

point by point I am just going to leave this up here for a couple seconds so you

can look at it

all right so basically what I said here's the entitlement periods here's

the competitive periods here's who's eligible okay another important part of

getting a Cal Grant is ensuring that you go to a Cal Grant eligible school so a

Cal Grant eligible school by the way is the vast majority of schools in the

state of California and includes obviously all California Community

Colleges all CSUs all UCs they're always going to be a Cal Grant eligible

and many many of the private or private for-profit schools are also eligible but

having said that not all schools are eligible right so when little Johnny

says hmm I'm going to this muffler repair school and I think I can get a

Cal Grant you may want to say "Ehh let's check that" not on a 100 percent sure that

muffler repair school offers a Cal Grant maybe they do I don't know but you want

to check right because obviously if you can go to a Cal Grant eligible school

it's going to increase significantly the chance that you're going to get

financial aid so that's what we want students to do so you can find this on

our website if you navigate to the CSAC website and you can see the address up

there we have a link at the very bottom it says Cal Grant eligible schools when

you click that link it'll give you the entire list of Cal Grant eligible

schools and remember this information gets updated so virtually every month if

for any reason to school drops off or school gets added right and and they're

completely ready for to be Cal Grant eligible or they've lost Cal Grant

eligibility whatever the case may be these reports this list gets updated so

you could be fairly confident that what's on there is accurate you can also

look at the ineligible Cal Grant schools which is a much shorter list but when

you go to the website you have the opportunity to check on that as well

all right let's talk about Cal Grants the different Cal Grants so you remember

we had A B and C right now there are some differences between them here's the

one thing you need to remember you don't as a high school counselor or a student

advocate or you know whatever it is you're doing to us as students you don't

play a huge role in what Cal Grant a student's going to get you don't why is

that well because you don't control the income and assets of the family let's

start with that and number two the system is going to make the

determination what Cal grants the student is eligible for based on all

those other factors that we talked about previously so don't feel like you have

to memorize this you know you're never going to tell a student hang over the

Cal Grant B it's the best ehh students going to get with the student gets based

on the criteria of the program they're attending and all those factors that we

considered so including GPA and the financial information so they're going

to get what they get but let me briefly explain the differences so Cal Grant A

you'll notice that the GP minimum is 3.0 so let's remember that because we're

going to talk about that some more Cal Grant A basically will pay for years of

tuition and fee at a four-year school if a student is going to a community

college and they don't have dependent children it will automatically go on

reserve for up to two years and then they can apply for the third so Cal

Grant a and a community college again dependent children's can can change this

but if you don't have dependent children if you have a Cal Grant a to Community

College you don't get paid anything it goes on reserve because Cal Grant A only

pays at a four-year school and it only pays the tuition fee portion now at the

bottom you notice hey wait a minute there's something new we talked about

this previously if you have a Cal Grant A and you have dependent children

regardless of the school that you're going to so you're going to any state

school community college CSU UC you can be eligible for up to six thousand

dollars so that's significantly different than

it was before before if you had a Cal Grant A regardless of your

circumstances or whether or not you had kids it automatically went on reserve

at the Community College that now that's not always the case so keep that in mind

all right Cal Grant B you notice that the GPA is

2.0 Cal Grant B is a little bit quirky in that the first year Cal Grant B only

pays $1,672 in access award money so what does that mean that means if you have a

Cal Grant B and you're going to a UC or CSU or a community college or a private

college the most you're going to get is $1,672 and

you're probably thinking hmm well that's okay for a community college but that is

certainly not so hot for a UC or for an expensive private school and we get it

so what what happens with Cal Grant B so the first year most of the time but not

always students who have a zero EFC for example and we'll talk about that I

think a little bit later but basically if you have a Cal Grant B most of the

time you have sufficient financial need that the first year at a UC or CSU

you're going to get institutional aid to cover the tuition fee portion now that's

not always true it can vary based on the students financial need but generally

speaking if you have a Cal Grant B you have significant financial need and that

means that at a four-year it's likely that you're going to get institutional

aid to cover the tuition fees now at a private school that may not be the case

so we're going to talk about Cal Grant A and B and what you can do in that

scenario so a couple things that you should know there's a lot of programs a

lot of legislation a lot of things happening whose aim is to incentivize

students to finish college as quickly as possible to put them in a position where

they can be full-time students and if they can

to reward them accordingly so this is one of those programs that's

specifically for a community college if you're at a community college and you

are taking and passing twelve to fourteen units this Student Success

completion grant will pay you up to $1,298 for

the year if you're taking 15 units or more per term you can get up to $4,000

a year right so you see kind of the checklist of what you have

to to do to maintain this but essentially if you're a student and

you're at a community college and you have a Cal Grant B or a Cal Grant C

Award and you're maintaining a 2.0 GPA or higher and you have financial need

obviously so if though all those things are true right and you maintain that

full-time attendance get a significant amount of financial aid just based on

being a full-time student so this is one of the ways that the state is trying to

incentivize students to be full-time students and go to Community College and

then hopefully get out of Dodge in two years before transferring to a four-year

program so this is just one example of that I think we're going to see more

examples like this okay so a lot of you have heard of the the bog fee waiver

it's no longer in existence although a lot of us still call it the bog it's a

hard hard thing to change so the the bog fee waiver is now morphed into the

California College promise grant and the California promise grant is it does

essentially the same thing is that in in the sense that it will waive fees if for

eligible students now listed below is different ways that students can be

eligible even if there's actually more ways than that but if if a student gets

to a Community College and you know they're in 12 or more units and they

meet you know these standards they can have their fees waived so it just

depends it's if they're full-time I mean this can be this can be worth up to two

thousand dollars a year right so but you have to have a B or C you have to have a

2.0 you have to have unmet need you know you

have to be meeting satisfactory academic progress but this is something that

students should know about because they're definitely going to want to take

advantage of this if they're able at a community college all right so this

comes up a lot a lot of people are very much in the habit of telling students if

you go to a community college you should put your Cal Grant award on hold in

other words don't use your Cal Grant Awards save it for the four-year school

so my question to you is is that good advice mmm

sometimes but usually not so let me preface this by saying every student and

every student circumstances are different right every student and every

student circumstances are different so what that means is that you you can't

across the board give students advice about this but let me tell you why

you should maybe not tell students to automatically put their Cal Grant on

hold for the first two years at a community college what can happen so

here's a couple things let's think about this if you go to a community college

and you put your Cal Grant on hold and then you go to a four-year university

well you still have four years left of eligibility yeah that's possible but

there's a couple things that can impact that let's think about these number one

if you go full-time to a community college for two years or two years plus

and then you transfer to a four-year it's unlikely that you're going to need

an additional four years to finish that four-year college to get your bachelor's

degree it's unlikely so that would mean just by default you're leaving some

money on the table all right if you're at a community college for two years or

two plus years and you've been a full-time student and you get your

associate's degree then when you go to the four-year it's just not likely it's

going to take you four full years now that's not always the case but I'm just

saying generally speaking it's unlikely what's the other thing that can happen

so sometimes students get selected for some kind of verification or the

school will do we'll look at your education level your e/l and that for

your school it might make the determination

okay we've determined you're a junior you have two years left at Cal Grant but

wait a minute I didn't use those first two years it doesn't matter if we

consider you a junior and el3 because we're doing you've been selected for

some kind of verification or we're doing our own verification you're only going

to have two years left and that means that you have two years that you didn't

get a penny of Cal Grant and now you only have two years left at the

four-year so in a perfect world probably you could use your Cal Grant two years at

the Community College and then two year at the for two years at the four-year

but here's kind of one suggestion or one way you could look at this you may want

to tell students hey take your Cal Grant B access award the first year take it

the first year and then after that you can kind of ascertain where you're at

you can put your Cal got on hold for you know the next three years but if you

take it the first year you know one if you're a Cal Grant beat recipient you

probably need the money so let's be honest about that and we don't want you

not taking money or trying to to squirrel this money away when in fact

you need it to pay for books or supplies our parking or lab fees or all those

costs that come with going to a community college right so always tell

the student if you need the money take the money that's not a question

if you can't go to school full-time you're working for jobs you

know to be able to be a part-time student Community College and the

difference is that you're not taking the money take the money and then take it

the first year for sure and then at that point if you want to put it on hold for

the next three years great or next year great at that point you can kind of

determine what you want to do so that's just something to think about

alright Cal Grant C so Cal Grant C is for vocational technical occupational

programs between four months and two years and

students are eligible typically for books and supplies you could see down

there in the chart the maximum Award so we have the CCC which is California

Community College and then we have you know independent vocational or

trade schools as we sometimes call them that's the maximum amount

you can get but wait let's let's not forget for students with dependent

children right we keep coming back to this that kind of goes out the window so

for students with dependent children at a community college not at a vocational

or independent school but at a community college if they have independent

children they can get up to four thousand dollars a year and that's

obviously based on all the other criteria that we talked about previously

so Cal Grant C most high school students coming out of high school don't opt for

Cal Grant C because frankly a lot of them still don't know what they want to

do Cal Grant C is used maybe more often for people who've been out of school for

a while and then go back because they want to pick up the skills that they

need to compete for a different kind of job so that's Cal Grant C in a nutshell

now these are the occupations that are in the most demand and so if you are

actually doing one of these occupations Cal Grant C technical technically is a

program that's considered competitive in other words we score and we score based

on all this criteria including the kind of program you're going to be going into

so if you do one of these programs you get more points because these are the

programs that are in the highest demand and so that would make you eligible for

our additional points all right which Cal Grant is the best here's all

you need to know Cal grants are free money from the state of California to go

to college so that means whatever Cal Grant you get is the best Cal Grant when

you're filling out your FAFSA or your DREAM Act application that is typically

one-stop shopping for most financial aid so that's why it's important to do

whichever application is applicable to you but all Cal grants are good Cal

grants like I said the system is going to award you the most beneficial Cal

grant based on all those factors we talked about previously so they're all

good all right so we talked a little bit about the income and asset ceiling so

let's look at the income ceilings you can see that it's based on the type of

Cal Grant and the family size and that determines the the income ceiling for

the different programs you'll notice that the income ceiling for B is

significantly lower than the income ceiling for A or C so why is that

important you remember that there's also a GPA component we talked about this

previously so do you remember that for a Cal Grant A what do you have to have a

minimum of a 3.0 Cal Grant B what do you have to have a minimum of a 2.0 so

significantly different now students who meet one criteria or not the other let's

go on this is something this is a thing right sometimes they'll meet one

requirement but they won't meet the other and that's what this looks like so

they'll have a good GPA but it doesn't jive with the income based on the the

maximums or sometimes the incomes fine but they don't have the corresponding

GPA what it we we call these kids we say that in in those cases they're in the no

Cal Grant zone which is just something we call it so if you're in the no Cal

Grant zone it means you're good here ain't not so good over here so let's

take a look at some examples and then you can determine now you may need that

chart that we just looked at previously but we'll kind of go through this and

you can we'll determine if these students are eligible for Cal Grant or

no all right so let's take a look all right example number one Cassie has a

2.8 and her family of 4 makes $60,000 does she qualify for a Cal Grant so if

we were looking at this chart we'd gonna go okay this is here and where she's at

and we would determine no Cassie is definitely in the no Cal Grant zone

why well because the GPA is great for Cal Grant B but it's too low for Cal

Grant A and she makes too much to qualify for Cal Grant B so she's really

stuck so this is a pretty good example right if she just had a 3.0 she'd get a

Cal Grant A another example here Jordan is a 3.9 2 GPA and his family of

five makes $99,000 does he qualify for a Cal Grant yes so

even though the income is over the ceiling for Cal Grant B the GPA and the

income will allow Cal grant A to be awarded so when we look on that chart we

go yeah well we know he has over a 3.0 that's number one and on the chart will

notice that family makes the correct amount to be eligible for Cal Grant A

alright let's look at another example Fatima has a 3.2 and GPA in her family

of three mix 41,500 does she qualify for a Cal Grant yes now in this case and we

see this with some frequency the lower income and the high GPA mean that fatima

is actually eligible for both Cal Grant A and B she she could qualify for either

one so what what happens then so it's going to be a little bit contingent on

what kind of school fatima decides to go to if she's going to a UC so typically

if she's going to a UC that will default to Cal Grant A CSU and Community College

will default to Cal Grant B so it just kind of really depends does she have the

opportunity to switch it from one to the other yeah that first year before she

gets paid if the school determines and if fatima determines you know what I'm

going to a private school I have Cal Grant B but B is not going to

give me enough the first year to pay tuition and fees so that private school

and Fatima may make the determination Cal Grant A is better and

they may switch it so that's very much a possibility

all right one more aracely has a four-point-oh all right

can't beat the GPA and their family of four makes 115 thousand dollars so they

did in 2017 kids were looking at prior prior years or in other words two years

back for income information does she qualify for a Cal Grant nope so even

with a great GPA the incomes over the ceiling for both Cal Grant A and B but

hold the phone Araceli's parents were divorced recently and she now live s with

her mother who makes about 60,000 does she now qualify for a Cal Grant well

that's a good question so what's the answer maybe possibly when

there's a significant change in circumstances students need to work with

their college financial aid office so in Araceli's case if she already

filled out the application right and include and it included both parents

income and then that was submitted once that submitted that's not going to

change but what you can do is go to the financial aid office and say hey I've

had a significant change in circumstances which is impacting our

family income and that financial aid office will work with you to make a

determination if they can reconsider or do what's called a professional judgment

based on your new set of circumstances now the other thing is if our asylees

parents were married in 2017 and they made that much money but prior to

filling out the application she knows that her circumstances have changed well

she's gonna put that information on the application right she's not gonna say

yeah 2017 she's going to put the dollar amount that's that's correct for today

on those on those incomes and that will allow her potentially to process through

for Cal Grant consideration with that $60,000 amount