Check Cal grants funded by the State of California with a small portion of funding from the Federal Government through the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP). You must apply by March 2 to maximize your opportunity to receive an award. If you miss the March 2 Cal Grant deadline and you plan to attend a community college in the fall, you have until September 2 to apply.

Today, only the wealthiest can easily set the bills for a college education and their numbers are significantly fewer in comparison. That is where college grants come in. The purpose is to make educational funds however minimal, available to financially needy students to help defray the cost of a college education.

With a Cal grant, a student can get up to $11,124 a year to pay for college expenses at qualifying California college, university or career or technical school in California. The money can be used for tuition, room and board, even books and pencils. And the excellent part is that it’s yours free, meaning you don’t have to pay it back.

What is the difference between a Pell Grant from a Cal Grant?

Pell grants are federal grants while a Cal grant is a state grant. Both are for students with financial need. Pell grants do not have a minimum GPA requirement while the Cal grant requires a minimum GPA. You can qualify to both Pell and Cal grant.

Here’s how to check Cal grants qualifications. You must:

  • Submit the FAFSA and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be a California resident when you graduated from high school
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Attend a qualifying California college
  • Have financial need based on your college costs


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