College can cost less than you think! Financing a college education is a partnership between colleges, the government, parents, and students. The cost of attending college can often be offset or paid entirely with financial aid packages.
Financial aid consists of gifts that you do not have to repay (grants and scholarships) and self-help aid (loans and employment).
Here are some resources to get you started on the financial aid process.
University of California - The University provides information about paying for UC
Blue + Gold Opportunity Program - UC’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will cover educational and student services fees if a student is a California resident whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and qualifies for financial aid. Blue + Gold students with sufficient financial need can also qualify for even more grant aid to help reduce the cost of attending.
Cal Grant - Cal Grants are awards that the recipient does not repay. To receive a Cal Grant, submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a verified Grade Point Average with the California Student Aid Commission by no later than March 2nd.
California Dream Act – The CA Dream Act Application is used to determine the California state financial eligibility of students who meet the qualifications of Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540), AB 130, and AB 131. The California State Aid Commission (CSAC) will process this application. Any aid received can only be used as eligible California institutions. The CA Dream Act Application is used to apply for state financial aid like the University of California Grants, State University Grants and Community College Board of Governor’s fee waivers. Also, the CA Dream Act Application is used to apply for Cal Grants at California public and private colleges and universities.
FAFSA - The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the federal application for financial aid. It may also be used to apply for aid from other sources, such as your state or school. The deadlines for your state or schools may be different from the federal deadlines and you may be required to complete additional forms. Filling out and submitting the FAFSA is ALWAYS free of charge.
Federal Student ID - An FSA ID gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems and can serve as your legal signature. You (both parents & student) will need this to sign off on your FAFSA.
Only create an FSA ID using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. You are not authorized to create an FSA ID on behalf of someone else, including a family member. Misrepresentation of your identity to the federal government could result in criminal or civil penalties.
Federal Student Aid - This link presents an overview of Federal student aid programs.
FinAid - This site provides detailed information about scholarships, loans, savings plans, financial aid applications, and more.
Fastweb - This site presents information about over 1 million scholarships, in addition to internships and part-time employment near your home or school.
ScholarShare - The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is California’s 529 college savings plan, a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged investment vehicle designed to help and encourage families to save for future qualified higher education expenses.
CSS/Profile - By filling out one form, you can apply online for nonfederal financial aid from almost 400 colleges, universities, professional schools, and scholarship programs.