The state of California also provides financial assistance to California high school graduates and GED recipients in the form of a Cal Grant. The Cal Grant is free money that you will not have to pay back. It is different from a loan. In order to receive a Cal Grant, you must file both the FAFSA and Cal Grant Grade Point Average Verification Form by March 2nd. In the fall semester, ask your school counselor how the Cal Grant GPA Verification Form will be completed at your school. A new law, AB 2160 requires that high schools do it for you. You must also (1) be enrolled at least half time, (2) have financial need, (3) be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or qualify under the CA DREAM Act (see note below) AND (4) be a California resident when you graduate from high school or earn your GED. For more information, please log on to www.calgrants.org.
NOTE: In October 2011, the Governor signed the California DREAM Act! This means that undocumented youth are now eligible to receive both private and state-funded financial aid for college. Generally, to be eligible, you must (1) have entered the United States before age 16, (2) have attended a California high school for at least three full academic years, AND (3) have graduated or will graduate from a California high school, received your GED, or passed the CHSPE. Contact your college’s financial aid office or check out http://www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp to get additional information!