The Cal Grant is money for college that does not have to be repaid. To be considered, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) by the deadline (March 2nd) and meet all financial criteria and eligibility requirements discussed below, which includes a minimum GPA requirement. 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.
Your eligibility will be determined by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) based on your FAFSA or CADAA responses, type(s) of qualifying California college(s) listed, verified Cal Grant GPA, and whether you are a recent California high school graduate. For the complete listing of all eligibility requirements, please visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/cal-grants.
Basic Eligibility Requirements for All Cal Grant Programs
- Submit the FAFSA or CADAA application and your verified Cal Grant GPA by March 2.
- 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 need at the college of your choice.
- Have family income and assets below the minimum levels (see table below).
- 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.
Types of Cal Grants
Cal Grant A and B Entitlement Awards
Entitlement awards are available to graduating seniors, prior year graduates, and students who transfer directly from a California community college to a 4-year university and are under age 28 by December 31 of the award year. Entitlement awards are guaranteed for students who meet financial and merit requirements:
- Graduating high school seniors and prior year high school graduates must have a verified high school GPA minimum of 3.0 for Cal Grant A
- Graduating high school seniors and prior year high school graduates must have a verified high school GPA minimum of 2.0 for Cal Grant B
- Students who transfer directly from a California community college to a 4-year university and are under age 28 by December 31 of the award year must have a verified community college GPA minimum of 2.4 for Cal Grant A or B
- For any student to receive a Cal Grant A or B, total family income or family assets must not exceed the ceilings outlined below:
Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards
Students who are not eligible for Cal Grant Entitlement awards can be considered for Cal Grant Competitive awards. This is a competitive award and limited to 41,000 awards each academic year. To be considered for a Competitive Award, students must:
- Meet all basic Cal Grant eligibility requirements.
- Meet GPA verification minimum requirements.
- Be under the income and asset ceilings.