College Grants are very much different from both scholarships and student loans because they are free gift money—so unlike student loans that must be repaid—and basically need-based, compared to traditionally merit-based scholarships.

Here are the general Cal grants eligibility requirements:

  • Be California residents
  • Be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens
  • Meet U.S. Selective Service requirements
  • Attend an eligible California qualifying post secondary institution
  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined at school of attendance
  • Have family income and assets below the established ceilings
  • Not be in default on any student loan
  • Not owe any federal or state grant refund

Here’s how to apply for Cal grants:

  • Complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the FAFSA form.
  • You can also download a PDF version of the FAFSA which you will need to mail for processing.
  • File a verified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission.

Here are some quick information on Pell grants. Pell grant just like a Cal grant does not have to be repaid. The maximum Pell grant for the 2010-11 award year is $5,500. The amount depends on your financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student.

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a form used to determine if students are eligible for various types of college grants.


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