According to El Camino College Compton Center, the deadline to apply for a Cal Grant is Monday, March 2.

A Cal Grant is one of the best ways to get cash for college—it is a cash award that you don’t have to pay back. Depending on the type of grant a student receives, the money can be used for tuition, books or supplies.

Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid to get cash for college, even if they think they may not be eligible. Federal Pell Grants for eligible students can be worth up to a maximum of $5,775 each year.

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.

To be eligible for a Cal Grant, you must be a California graduating high school senior or recent graduate; be within one year of receiving your GED; or be a community college transfer student and be under age 28.

If you do not have a GPA, certain test scores can be used instead.

Additional requirements include:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (your parents don’t need to be citizens or eligible noncitizens) or meet (Assembly Bill) AB540 criteria in effect the past two years.

  • Be a California resident when you graduated from high school or meet AB540 criteria.

  • Have a Social Security number or meet AB540 criteria.

  • Attend a qualifying California college.

  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree (except for Cal Grant A and B extended awards for a teaching credential program).

  • Have financial need based on your college costs.

  • Have family income and assets below the established ceilings.

  • Meet any minimum GPA requirements.

  • If you have a GED, you must submit your GED score directly to the California Student Aid Commission.

If you were home-schooled or attended a charter school you must submit your ACT, SAT or GED score.

If you graduated from high school more than five years ago you may provide your SAT or ACT score, or use a re-established GPA from your grades at a California Community College.

  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate.

  • Be enrolled at least part time.

  • Have registered with U.S. Selective Service (most males).

  • Not owe a refund on a state or federal grant, or be in default on a student loan.

There are a number of grants available. They include: Cal Grant A Entitlement awards which 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 $5,472 and $12,192 respectively.

If you are attending any private nonprofit college or a for-profit college accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Cal Grant pays up to $9,084 toward tuition and fees. If you are attending most other career colleges, it pays up to $4,000.

Cal Grant A Competitive Awards are 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. If you’re a high school senior, have met all the requirements, have financial need, apply by March 2 and graduate from a California high school (or receive your GED), you’re guaranteed to receive a Cal Grant A or B award.

Cal Grant B Entitlement awards provide 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 B Competitive Awards are 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.

Cal Grant C awards 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.

Youngsters in the foster care system may also qualify for the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth. You may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training or college. You don’t have to pay this money back. You may also be able to use your grant to help pay for child care, transportation and rent while you’re in school. You can use your Chafee Grant at any eligible California college or university or career or technical school, as well as schools in other states.

To qualify, for a Chafee Grant, you must be a current or former foster youth and not have reached your 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year. The court must have established your dependency when you were between the ages of 16 and 18. (KinGap youth, adopted youth, guardian placement, and voluntary placement may not be eligible for the Chafee Grant, unless court dependence was established, at anytime, between the ages of 16 and 18). The California Department of Social Services will verify your foster youth eligibility status.

The Chafee Grant (ETV) is federal and state funded with a current minimum Chafee Grant amount of $5,000 per academic year, not to exceed cost of attendance. The final award amount will be determined based on the college of attendance and enrollment status.

To complete Chafee Grant application requirements, in addition to verification of qualifying foster youth status, the following forms must be submitted: Chafee Grant Application, the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), and Chafee Need Analysis Report (NAR)*.

The majority of the Chafee Grant (ETV) awards are initiated during the fall term and additional awards are offered year round based on available funding.

Student’s completed applications are sorted by application date.

Students interested in the child development field can also apply for the Child Development Grant Program, and the deadline for this grant is May 15.

This is a need-based grant designed to encourage students to enter the field of child care and development in a licensed children’s center. Students who plan to enroll at least half-time in coursework leading to a Child Development Permit as teacher, master teacher, site supervisor or program director, are eligible to apply through the institution they plan to attend. To receive funding, students must sign a Service Commitment Agreement stating they will provide one year of full-time service in a licensed children’s center for each year they receive the grant.

The Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant Program provides need-based educational grants to dependents and spouses of: California peace officers (Highway Patrol, marshals, sheriffs, police officers), Department of Corrections and California Youth Authority employees, and permanent/full-time firefighters employed by public entities who have been killed in the performance of duty or totally disabled as a result of an accident or injury caused by external violence or physical force incurred in the performance of duty.

The grant awards match the amount of a Cal Grant award and range from $100 to $12,192 for up to four years.

The California Student Aid Commission is partnering with the California Emergency Management Agency to administer the John R. Justice (JRJ) Program. This federal program was created to encourage attorneys to choose and continue careers as prosecutors and public defenders. Qualified applicants can submit a request for student loan repayment assistance. Recipients must commit to continued employment as public defenders and prosecutors for at least three (3) years. To learn more about the JRJ program and obtain an application, please click on the following link: http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=1423.

If you are an active member in the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia you may be eligible for a state-funded program designed to provide an educational incentive to improve your skills, competencies, and abilities.

To qualify, you must:

· Be an active member who has served two (2) years in the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia;

· Agree to remain an active member throughout the participation period in the program;

· Agree to use the award to obtain a certificate, degree, or diploma that you currently do not possess;

· Be enrolled in, registered at, or accepted to a qualifying institution;

· Agree to maintain enrollment of a minimum of three (3) academic units per semester, or the equivalent, at a qualifying institution as defined by California Education Code section 69432(l);

· Agree to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA); and

· Be a resident of California for at least one year.

Initial applicants must submit all three items for a complete application:

  1. EAAP application

  2. Free Application for Federal Student Aid

  3. Statement of Understanding

The priority deadline is April 30. After that date, applications will continue to be accepted on a “first come-first served” basis until all awards are exhausted or until January 14, whichever comes first. For more information, visit the web site https://nationalguard.csac.ca.gov.

The first step in gaining access to financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. One application is all that is needed to apply for both state and federal grants. It is important that students apply by the March 2 deadline in order to receive financial aid for the fall 2015 semester.

If you miss the March 2 Cal Grant deadline and you plan to attend a community college in the fall, you have until Sept. 2 to apply. However, the number of awards is limited.

For more information about financial aid, and to get assistance with the application process, contact the El Camino College Compton Center Financial Aid Office, Room E-17, at (310) 900-1600, Ext. 2935 or your nearby community college.

El Camino College Compton Center is located at 1111 E. Artesia Blvd., Compton.

For additional information about Cal Grants, contact the California Student Aid Commission at http://www.calgrants.org/