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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.

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Eligibility Requirements

Cal Grants are for students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree or vocational or career training and do not have to be repaid. In addition to meeting the financial criteria and Cal Grant requirements, you must:

  • Submit the FAFSA or CADAA application and your verified Cal Grant GPA by the deadline
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
  • Be a California resident for 1 year
  • Attend a qualifying California college
  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree
  • Have financial needs at the college of your choice
  • Have family income and assets below the minimum levels
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
  • Be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time
  • Have registered with the U.S. Selective Service, if required to do so
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal grant or be in default on a student loan
  • Not be incarcerated
  • Maintain the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards as established by the school. Recipients who do not meet the standards are ineligible for Cal Grant payment and will not use eligibility during the terms they are ineligible for payment.
Cal Grant Types

Cal Grant A

  • Provides grant funds to help pay tuition and fees at qualifying institutions offering degree programs of at least two years in length.
  • Does not pay at a California Community College (CCC). The awards are held in CCC Reserve status and are renewed for up to two consecutive years while attending a CCC. Your Cal Grant funds may become available to you when you transfer to a Cal Grant eligible 4- year college if you meet all the renewal requirements at the time of transfer.

Cal Grant B 

  • Provides grant funds to help pay for your tuition, student fees, and other educational costs in a for-credit instructional program of not less than one academic year in length.
  • Provides funds for access costs each year such as living expenses, transportation, supplies, and books.
  • Pays tuition and fees for students attending a Cal Grant eligible 4-year college, beginning in their second year.
  • Pays access costs at a CCC until you transfer to a tuition/fee-charging school and become eligible for both tuition/fees and access costs.

Cal Grant C 

  • Provides grant funds to help pay for books, tools, and equipment for students pursuing a vocational, technical, or career education not less than four months in length.
  • Provides tuition and fees at a private college.
Contact Information

If you have any questions about the Cal Grant, please contact the California Student Aid Commission.

California Student Aid Commission
Cal Grant Program
PO Box 419028
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9028

For technical assistance, please call: (888) 294-0148

For more information on Cal Grant qualifications, how to apply, GPA verifications and more, please visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/cal-grants