California Scholarships and Grants

California grants and scholarships can help make the cost of going to school in California more affordable. Many state-sponsored scholarships and grants provide California financial aid to state residents. Some programs, however, actually provide money to out-of-state students who are attending California colleges and universities for their degrees. Here are just a few of the California scholarships and grants that may be available for you:

  • Cal Grants

There are several different types of Cal Grants available, and the one a student applies for will depend on several factors, including the student’s income level and GPA. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available from Cal Grants:

Cal Grant A: This is an award for tuition and fees at both public and private universities and some private career colleges in California. Students must be working toward a two or four year degree in order to qualify for this grant. At private schools, it pays up to $9,708 toward tuition and fees. At California State University, the grant pays $4,884, and at University of California schools, it pays $11,124.

Cal Grant B: This award is for lower income students and helps to provide them with assistance for a living allowance as well as assistance with tuition and fees. Students in their first year usually receive around $1,500 for books and living expenses. After that year, this grant also helps pay for tuition and fees in the same amounts as the Cal Grant A. To qualify, students must be enrolled in coursework that takes at least a year.

Cal Grant C: This award pays for tuition and costs at occupational or technical schools in California. Students can get up to $576 for tools, equipment, and books and up to $2,592 for tuition at schools that aren’t in the California Community College network. Students must be enrolled in a vocational program at least four months long at a community college, private college, or career technical school. This grant can be renewed for up to two years.

Cal Grant A and B Competitive Awards: These awards are based on merit for students who aren’t eligible for the above grants, which are all based on need. To qualify for the A Competitive Award, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and come from a low or middle income family. Students applying for a Cal Grant B Award must maintain a 2.0 GPA. In the first year of college, Cal Grant B funding can be used for things like supplies, expenses, transportation, and books. After that, it may only be used to pay tuition fees. The award amounts for Cal Grant A and B awards vary, but these can be great California grants for qualifying students.

For more information on these grants, visit

  • California Alumni Association Scholarships

This California scholarship has two different components. One is a Leadership Award for students who are freshman or transfer students and who show leadership aptitude. The award offers up to $2,500 per academic year. The Achievement Awards through this association are for students who are financially needy and who have overcome many challenges. Students who have overcome more are more likely to get this scholarship of up to $5,700 per academic year.

  • Cal Opportunity Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to students who are disadvantaged but still show enough academic excellence to get into the nation’s top schools. Students in San Francisco, West Contra Costa, Oakland Unified, and Ravenswood school districts can apply for this award. This award can pay for up to the entire cost of tuition at UC Berkeley. To apply, students just need to be admitted to UC Berkeley and to fill out the FAFSA to show their financial need. Students will go through an interview process, as well, to determine their eligibility for the award.

For more information on this scholarship, go to

  • California Child Development Grant Program

This program is meant for those majoring in child development or elementary education. It can also be used for part-time study and child development classes. To be eligible for this award, students must be nominated by their employer or postsecondary institution. They must also demonstrate financial need as well as academic achievement, and they must provide recommendation letters from faculty.

Those who are attending two-year colleges will receive up to $1,000 a year for two years, and those who are attending four-year colleges will receive up to $2,000 a year for up to two years. Sometimes applicants can reapply after the two years is up, but they may only receive a total of $6,000 from the program.

  • CSU Future Scholars Program

The CSU Future Scholars Program offers thirty awards of $1,000 each every year. Students who are the first in their family to attend college or whose family members haven’t been educated beyond secondary school are eligible for this award. Students in impoverished areas, migrant students, and students whose high schools ranked low on standardized tests are also eligible for this program.

In order to apply, students must pick up an application in the fall. The application requires transcripts from a California high school, as well as recommendations from faculty members or other adults. Students must enroll full-time at CSU in order to gain the grant, and they must show academic promise in order to renew it. This grant is made available so that students from disadvantaged backgrounds can enjoy a college education at CSU.

An application and more information on this program can be found here:

  • HEEF Future Leaders of America Scholarship

This is a California scholarship specifically for students who graduate from Orange County high schools. In order to be eligible, students must have committed at least thirty hours at a community non-profit organization. This relatively small award is available to high school seniors, who can apply through their guidance counselors’ offices each year for the award.

  • California Assumption Program of Loans for Education

This program isn’t technically among the California scholarships and grants category, but it can mean free money for education majors. Basically, students who gain a degree and certification in education and go on to teach at certain California schools can have some of their loans paid off by the California government. Students may get up to $2,000 worth of loans assumed for the first year and up to $3,000 a year for the second, third, and fourth years of teaching.

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