Financial Aid (FAFSA)
FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study). Despite its name, the application is not for a single federal program, being rather the gateway of consideration for:
- the nine federal student-aid programs
- the 605 state aid programs
- most of the institutional aid available
You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible beginning October 1st . Click here to apply
By completing the FAFSA you are applying for Federal and State Grants, Federal Student Loans and Federal Work Study. The Board Of Governor's Waiver (BOGW/Fee Waiver) is also included in this application but for California Community Colleges only.
Do you know if you qualify for financial aid? If not, Visit the FASFA help site
Upon completion of your FAFSA you will be given an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. This index number is used to calculate your eligibility for financial aid. Typically, the lower the EFC the more financial aid you may qualify for.
CALCULATING THE TRUE COST OF COLLEGE
For a general estimate as to how much a particular college usually costs the average student, use this free online calculator provided by CNN Money to estimate college expenses at specific colleges.
FINANCIAL AID: NEW FOR 2017-18
Advice for students and parents on changes for the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CA Dream Act Application (CDAA):
- Apply in Fall - The 2017-18 FAFSA and the CDAA will open on October 1, 2016. This allows students to apply three months earlier than in the past.
- Applying is Easier - Completing forms for both the FAFSA and the CDAA is easier because applicants will provide income and tax information filed for tax year 2015 (they don't have to estimate). Many students and parents will find completing the FAFSA easier since they will be able to provide income-tax information directly from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) that is linked to the FAFSA.*
*Please note the CDAA does not support the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Unchanged: The priority filing deadline is still March 2 for both applications. Students may receive information regarding Cal Grant eligibility in the fall, but will still receive their UC financial aid offer(s) after notification of admission in the spring.
What students and parents can begin doing beforeOctober 1:
- Secure a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID here for FAFSA applicants or here for a CA Dream Act ID for CDAA applicants.
- To attend a FREE Cash for College workshop for hands-on application assistance click here.
After submitting a FAFSA or CDAA students should open an account to check the status of their Cal Grant eligibility here.
Click here for more information on FAFSA Changes for 2017-18.
CALIFORNIA CHAFEE GRANT FOR FOSTER YOUTH
Are you a foster youth?
If you are or were in foster care and have not yet reached your 22nd birthday you may be eligible to receive the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth. You will need to complete the FAFSA and the California Chafee Grant application. Access the California Chafee Grant application.
CALIFORNIA DREAM ACT
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and the California Department of Education (CDE) understand that, in light of recent events, there could be confusion regarding the California Dream Act program, which allows certain undocumented and out-of-state students (“Dreamers”) to receive state financial aid while attending colleges in California. The California Dream Act is a state law, separate and distinct from the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Regardless of what happens at the federal level, state financial aid for Dreamers remains legal in California. A Dreamer student does not need to be DACA-certified to be eligible for a public education or state financial aid. Losing DACA status will not affect most state financial aid.
Do you know a student who is undocumented and wants to go to college? Have you heard of the term AB540? Am I AB540? California Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) passed in 2001 permits qualified immigrant students to pay in-state tuition.
What is AB540:
- Attended a CA high school for 3 or more years;
- Graduated from a CA high school or attained the equivalent
- File an affidavit with your college or university stating that you have or intend to file an application to legalize your immigration status, if applicable.
- Are AB540 students eligible for FAFSA?
- No AB540 students can NOT apply to FAFSA
What types of aid are available for AB540?
- California Dream Act: You can apply online here: California Dream Act application
- Private Loans Additional AB540 information available at the MALDEF website (information available in English and Spanish): MALDEF website
Become your own advocate:
- AB540 students need to become advocates of their own education in order to gain access to networks, resources, services and opportunities. How can AB540 students become involved?
- Join your campus AB540 support group
- Learn about political issues that affect your status and get involved
- Write your Legislators, Congressmen/woman asking them to support the Federal DREAM ACT
- Attend AB540 Conferences/Summits in order to build your AB540 Network
- Volunteer in the community
- Organize Fundraisers for AB540 Scholarships
- Research AB540 Friendly Scholarships and share with other AB540 Students.
- Coordinate Informational Parent/Student/Community Workshops in order to make others aware of AB540.
GET PREPARED WITH FAFSA ASSISTANT
The first step in determining your eligibility for college financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Just answer a few questions in this interactive tool, and we’ll help get you ready to complete the FAFSA application with tips and guidance based on your personal situation.
What is a Cal Grant?
A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back. To qualify, you must meet the eligibility and financial requirements as well as any minimum GPA requirements. Cal Grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California.
There are three kinds of Cal Grants — A, B and C — but you don’t have to figure out which one to apply for. Your eligibility will be based on your FAFSA responses, your verified Cal Grant GPA, the type of California colleges you list on your FAFSA and whether you’re a recent high school graduate. To learn more about the qualifications, go toCalgrants.org.
Cal Grant A
- will help pay for tuition and fees at four-year colleges
- award amounts vary by type of college — for 2014-2015, Cal Grants are up to $12,240 at a University of California campus, up to $5,472 at a California State University campus, and up to $9,084 at independent colleges
- has a GPA requirement. If you’re applying using your high school GPA, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA; if applying using your college GPA, you must have at least a 2.4 GPA
- requires that your course of study leads directly to an associate or bachelor’s degree, or qualifies you for transfer from a community college to a bachelor’s degree program
Cal Grant B
- provides a living allowance of up to $1,656, in addition to tuition and fee assistance after the first year, at a two- or four-year college
- pays most first-year students a living allowance only, which may be used to pay living expenses, books, supplies and transportation, as well as tuition and fees
- when renewed or awarded beyond your first year, you’ll receive the living allowance as well as a tuition and fee award (up to $12,240 at a UC campus, up to $5,472 at a CSU campus and up to $9,084 at independent colleges for 2014-2015)
- requires at least a 2.0 GPA
Interested in a technical, vocational or career education?
Cal Grant C
- assists with the costs of a technical or career education
- provides up to $547 for books, tools and equipment—and up to $2,462 more for tuition and fees if you’ll be attending a school other than a California Community College (community colleges don’t charge tuition and your fees will be waived as a Cal Grant recipient)
- is available for up to two years
Step1: The Application
- If you are a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen, you should file the FAFSA. For the definition of eligible non-citizen see the description of "Citizenship Status" in the application instructions.
- If you are not a citizen, but attended a California high school for at least three years or graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of at least three years of credits and attended three years of elementary and secondary school, graduated from a California high school or the equivalent, and are or will be attending an accredited California college or university, you should file the California Dream Act Application.
- You can also download a PDF version of the FAFSA or PDF version of the California Dream Act Application in English or Spanish which you will need to mail for processing. If you will be mailing in a paper application, be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing ($1.30 in addition to postage) from the Post Office so you can verify the date you mailed your forms.
- If you or your parents are in a Registered Domestic Partnership at the time you submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application, you’ll need to complete the G-37: Cal Grant Registered Domestic Partner Reporting Form to be considered for a Cal Grant.
- *Missed the March 2 deadline? There is a second deadline, only for California Community College students, September 2. Submit the required forms before the September 2 deadline to be considered for this specific Cal Grant. There is a limited number of September Cal Grants available.
Step2: Certified GPA:
File a certified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission by no later than March 2*.
Cal Grant/GPA Verification: La Quinta High School will electronically send your GPA to the California Student Aid Commission if we have your social security number on file. Check with your counselor to make sure we have your social security number.
Tips for Filing:
To avoid issues later, complete your application early.
- Need help completing the FAFSA, California Dream Act Application, or other forms? See your high school counselor or college financial aid administrator, or attend a free California Cash for College workshop.
- If you or your parents won’t file taxes before the March 2nd deadline, don’t wait to file your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. You can still submit the application based on estimated financial information, then come back later after you have filed taxes and update your application. The Student Aid Commission cannot accept late FAFSAs or California Dream Act Applications for Cal Grant consideration.
- The FAFSA is the application for federal student aid like Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH Grant, and federal student loans as well as state financial aid like Cal Grants. Most institutions also use the FAFSA for institutional need-based financial aid.
- The California Dream Act Application is the application non-citizens will use to apply for High School Entitlement Cal Grant A and B awards, Community College Transfer Entitlement A and B awards, and Cal Grant C. The Dream Application is also used for institutional Dream Act financial aid and California Community Colleges Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG fee waiver).
- Find more information about money for college in the Fund Your Future brochure, Fund Your Future Magazine and the More Ways to Pay Fact Sheet.
- Out-of-State Students - In most cases, Cal Grants are only for California residents —those who are or will be a California resident for at least one year by the application deadline. If you’re under 18 years of age, your residency is determined by your parent's state of legal residence. However, if your college or university determines you are AB 540-eligible, then you may be eligible for Cal Grants, institutional grants, or BOG fee waivers.