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Cal Grant Programs

A Cal Grant is money for college you don’t have to pay back. To qualify, you must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the deadline and 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 or CADAA 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. 

Cal Grant A

This program helps low and middle-income students pay tuition and fees at California State University and University of California campuses, independent colleges, and some private occupational career schools in California. Cal Grant A recipients who choose to attend a community college may be eligible for a Community College Reserve Grant (CC Reserve). CC Reserve recipients may hold their awards in reserve for up to two years until they transfer to a four-year school. 

Cal Grant B

This program is for high-potential students from disadvantaged or low-income families who otherwise would not be able to pursue post-secondary education. Awards are for students who have completed no more than one semester of full-time study, or no more than 16 units of part-time study. At a community college, the award is limited to a subsistence grant for non-tuition costs. The maximum subsistence grant is $1,648. At an eligible four-year California school, the award would also include tuition and fees the same as Cal Grant A.

Cal Grant C

This program helps vocationally oriented students acquire marketable job skills within a short time period. A Cal Grant C may not be used to pursue a four-year degree program, graduate study, course prerequisites, or general education.

The student applies for the Cal Grant Program by completing the FAFSA or Dream Act application prior to March 2nd, preceding the next academic year they will enroll.

What are the Cal Grant Award Amounts? 

At a CCC (CA Community College)

Cal Grant A – $0:  The Cal Grant A does not cover your tuition and fees while attending a community college*, however your award eligibility will be held in reserve for up to two years until you transfer to a four-year college.

Cal Grant B – $1,648*: You can use your $1,648 access award as a living allowance to help pay for books and other community college costs.

Cal Grant C – $1,094: A student must be enrolled in an occupational or technical program to qualify for the Cal Grant C. (e.g. automotive technician, court reporter, etc).  The amount offered can be used for books, tools, equipment, and other community college costs. 

*If you are attending a baccalaureate program at a community college, you may receive Cal Grant B funds to help pay for your tuition and fees.  Please contact your Financial Aid Office at the college for more details.

Cal Grant Students with Dependent Children (SWD)

This program increases the Cal Grant award for students attending a University of CA (UC), California State University (CSU), or California Community College (CCC) who have dependent children that are under 18 years of age, and for whom they provide more than half of their financial support for during the academic year.  Community College students are now eligible to receive an access award of up to $6,000 for Cal B and up to $4000 for Cal C. For more information on SWD Cal Grant A, B or C, award amounts and details please visit

Cal Grant Entitlement Awarding Process

Cal Grant eligible students are advised to satisfy specific requirements on their WebGrants for Students (WGS) account to claim their award.

  • Confirmation of School of Attendance:  Students have the capability to select the “Confirmation of School of Attendance” link in WGS to confirm the school they will attend during the academic year.
  • High School Graduation Confirmation:  Beginning the first day of the month of the student’s graduation, students will have the capability to select the “Submit High School Graduation Confirmation” link in WGS to confirm they have graduated from high school. Students who are required to fulfill these requirements will see a red stop sign. Once satisfied, the red stop sign and links will disappear.

For more information on the Cal Grant Awarding Process, click here: Cal Grant Awarding Process Information 

What deadlines should I mark on my calendar?

March 2: The most important deadline for Cal Grants is March 2. Be sure you submit your FAFSA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the March 2 Cal Grant application deadline.

September 2: If you’ll be attending a California Community College in the fall and missed the March 2 deadline, you have a second deadline of September 2. There are only a limited number of awards available for those who apply in the fall, so try to meet the March 2 deadline.

October 1: The FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application open for the following school year.  Be sure to submit your application and GPA by the March 2 deadline.

Keep in mind that your college may have earlier deadlines for its financial aid programs, so be sure to check with each college you’re considering. Also, deadlines for private scholarships may be earlier in the year.

Once you submit your financial aid application, there might be additional actions required of you from CSAC.  Please be sure that your email is up to date so that you can complete the actions in a timely manner.

Check out the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website for more answers to your questions. 


It is important to create a webgrants account to follow up and check the status of your Cal Grant.   

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