Attending a college, university, career or technical school can be expensive. However, there are many financial aid resources available to help you achieve your goals. They are…
- Federal and California grants
- Scholarships through businesses, religious groups, private foundations, unions, community groups, private individuals, and various organizations. They can be based on such things as academic merit, SAT/ACT scores, competitive essay, field of study, special talent (ex: music) ethnicity, leadership ability, community service activities or athletics. It’s up to you to find the terms and conditions!
- Work study programs
- Tuition reimbursement programs from employers
It is never too early for you to explore the opportunities for financial aid while in high school. Getting these financial resources requires some research. Talk to your high school and college/career counselors for assistance.
Keep in mind that most financial aid is based on your need, not your academic performance. With that said, colleges offer different financial aid packages. Compare the offers from various schools. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with a college of your choice for a better offer.
Federal Grants and Loans -Unlike grants, loans must be repaid!
To qualify you must:
- Be a high school graduate
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a social security number
- Be an enrolled student seeking a degree or certificate
- Be registered with the U.S. Selective Service if you are a male between ages of 18 and 25
- Federal Pell Grants– For undergraduates, based on financial need and cost of attendance. Amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $5,775 for the 2015–16 award year, through June 30, 2016.
Federal student loans offer borrowers many benefits not typically found in private loans. These include low fixed interest rates, income-based repayment plans, cancellations for certain employment, and deferment (postponement) options, including deferment of loan payments when a student returns to school. Also, private loans usually require a credit check. For these reasons, students and parents should always exhaust federal student loan options before considering a private loan.
- Federal Stafford Loans–If you qualify for a subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest on the loan while you are in school. If you qualify for an unsubsidized loan, the interest must be repaid along with the loan by you.
- Federal PLUS loans– are unsubsidized loans made to parents. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender. The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by the school) minus any other financial aid received. Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.9%. Can be very expensive.
Campus based programs- administered directly by the financial aid office at each participating school and is therefore called “campus-based” aid. Not all schools participate. Check with your school's financial aid office to find out if the school offers the following:
- Federal supplemental Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)–You can receive between $100 and $4,000 a year, depending on your financial need, when you apply, the amount of other aid you get, and the availability of funds at your school.
- Federal Work Study Program– allows students to earn money while going to school. Students may be employed by: the institution itself, a federal, state, or local public agency, a private nonprofit organization or a private non-profit organization.
- Perkins Loans–the school is the lender; you will make your payments to the school that made your loan or your school’s loan servicer. Funds depend on your financial need and the availability of funds at your college. Undergraduate students may be eligible to receive up to $5,500 a year. The total you can borrow as an undergraduate is $27,500. Interest rate is a fixed 5%.
To apply for the federal grants and loans:
- Complete a FAFSA by MARCH 2nd! The earlier you apply, the more opportunities you will have.
- Review you Students Aid report (SAR) which confirms the information received on your FAFSA and will indicate any expected family contribution, which must be made.
- Contact the school you are interested in attending. The financial aid department will review your SAR, and if you are eligible, prepare a letter outlining your financial aid package.
Our state also provides grants. Every high school senior who graduates, meets academic, financial and eligibility requirements, and applies on time is guaranteed a Cal Grant award to attend college. It costs nothing to apply and does not have to be repaid!
To qualify you must:
- Be a graduating senior
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a social security number
- Be a CA resident
- Attend a qualifying CA school
- Be enrolled at least half-time
- Have family income and assets below the established figures set for the year.
- File the FAFSA and GPA Verification Form by MARCH 2nd! GPA Verification Form can be obtained at the BHS college/career center.
Types of California Grants and Loans
With a Cal Grant you can get up to $12,192 a year to pay for college expenses at any qualifying California college, university or career or technical school in California. Depending on which Cal Grant you get, the money can be used for tuition, room and board, even books and pencils. The best part is, it's yours to keep and you don't have to pay it back.
- Cal Grant AEntitlement awards can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges as well as some private career colleges. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees up to $5,970 and $12,192 respectively. If you are attending a private college, it pays up to $9,223 toward tuition and fees. To get this Cal Grant, you need to be working toward a two-year or four-year degree.
- Cal Grant BEntitlement awards that provides low-income students with a living allowance and assistance with tuition and fees. Most first-year students receive an allowance of up to $1,473 for books and living expenses. After the freshman year, Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees in the same amount as a Cal Grant A. For a Cal Grant B, your coursework must be for at least one academic year.
- Cal Grant Cawards help pay for tuition and training costs at occupational or career technical schools. This $547 award is for books, tools and equipment. You may also receive up to an additional $2,462 for tuition at a school other than a California Community College. To qualify, you must enroll in a vocational program that is at least four months long at a California Community College, private college, or a career technical school. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of your program.
- CA Chafee Grants for Foster Youth– minimum $5,000 per year, not exceeding cost of attendance. It’s given to foster youth or former foster youth ages 16-21 to assist with job training or college tuition.
Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards are for students who aren't eligible for the Entitlement awards. The main difference is that these awards are not guaranteed.
- Cal Grant A Competitive Awardsare for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who are from low-and middle-income families. These awards help pay tuition and fees at qualifying schools with academic programs that are at least two years in length.
- Cal Grant B Competitive Awardsare for students with a minimum 2.0 GPA who are from disadvantaged and low-income families. These awards can be used for tuition, fees and access costs at qualifying schools whose programs are at least one year in length. If you get a Cal Grant B Competitive Award it can only be used for access costs in the first year. These costs include living expenses, transportation, supplies and books. Beginning with the second year, you can use your Cal Grant B Competitive Award to help pay tuition and fees at public or private four-year colleges or other qualifying schools.
Financial Planning? Browse the following websites for useful information, including scholarships
www.csac.ca.gov – the official California Web site outlining the Cal Grant Programs available free of charge to you.
www.fafsa.ed.gov – this website will help you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It gives directions, deadlines, and discusses federal student aid programs.
www.pin.ed.gov – PIN information and registration
www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov – This online calculator will assist families in financial planning for federal student aid.
www.finaid.com – this is the most comprehensive how to site for getting financial assistance, including an expected family contribution calculator.
www.financialaidletter.com – this site assists in making sense out of financial aid packages which colleges provide.
http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile - by filling out one form, you can apply online for nonfederal financial aid from almost 400 colleges and scholarship programs.
www.StudentAid.gov/scams - avoid scams! Find financial aid without being a victim of fraud or identity theft.
www.StudentAid.gov/needmoney - a quick glimpse outlining the federal student aid programs, eligibility criteria, and application tips.
www.Twitter.com/FAFSA - Federal Student Aid’s Twitter feed
www.YouTube.com/FederalStudentAid- Federal Student Aid’s YouTube site
www.Facebook.com/FederalStudentAid- Federal Student Aid’s Facebook page
www.fastweb.com – the largest source of free scholarship assistance. It is based on a questionnaire about the student.
http://moneytalks4teens.ucdavis.edu – this site, in English and Spanish, provides teens and teachers with videos, guides, games, and resource links.
www.californiarealitycheck.org – This site was designed so users can create a budget for living an ‘ideal’ adult lifestyle and then explore occupations which will provide the salary needed to cover these costs.