The Cal Grant is a financial aid program, which is administered by the California Student Aid Program, and made available to students attending a community college, vocational/trade school. public college, or private university. Students that are pursuing their first undergraduate degree or receiving vocational training are eligible to receive a Cal Grant up to $9,700 per school year.
Cal Grants are funded by the State of California with a small percentage of funding from the Federal Government through LEAP (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program). The Cal Grant program originated in 1955 as a state sponsored scholarship program to help academically qualified low- and middle-income California student residents pay for the costs of in-state private universities.
The Cal Grant was expanded in 1989-90 for both private and public low and middle-income students mainly due to the drastic increase in public college costs. This expansion increased the number of eligible Cal Grant recipients from 11% to 25%.
In September of 2000, the state of California expanded the Cal Grant into an entitlement program. Any student meeting basic academic and financial guidelines would receive a college grant at any public or private four-year college or university. The main goal of the Cal Grant was to make college affordable for all California high school students that wanted to attend college.
The Cal Grant entitlement program contained a number of fundamental program changes. The original Cal Grant A was meant for middle-income students, while the Cal Grant B was to serve low-income students. The new entitlement nature of the program, however, shields it from budgetary fluctuations and means that every income-eligible student meeting the minimum academic requirements is guaranteed an award. The program set the minimum GPA for Cal Grant A at 3.0 and the minimum GPA at 2.0 for Cal Grant B. Cal Grant C, which is available for students attending a vocational school, was not part of the new entitlement program and does not require a minimum GPA in order to receive an award amount.
There are 3 types of Cal Grant awards available for California resident students:
Cal Grant A provides grants to middle-income students going on to post-secondary college institutions of at least two years. The Cal Grant A assists with tuition and fees at public and private colleges. The award covers up to the full tuition and fee amount at any UC and CSU.
There are two Cal Grant A awards: Entitlement and Competitive. There is also a Cal Grant A award for students transferring from a California Community College to a four-year college.
Cal Grant B provides students with lower incomes entering programs of one year or more. Students that are eligible for a Cal Grant B will receive a living stipend of $1,500 in the first year and both stipend and tuition in renewal years.
There are two types of Cal Grant B awards: Entitlement and Competitive. There is also a Cal Grant B award for students transferring from a California Community College to a four-year college.
Cal Grant C awards assist with tuition and training costs for occupational, technical, and vocational programs. The award includes up to $576 for books, tools and equipment - and up to $2,592 more for tuition and fees if the student attends a school other than a California Community College. Funding is available for up to two years, depending on the length of the program.
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