California Scholarships, Grants and Student Loans
Check out California financial aid programs to help pay for your education.
California Financial Aid
California is a haven for film students looking to make it big in Hollywood, but there are so many more types of degree programs in California that a student from every background and interest can find a school to suit their needs. In fact, with 700 schools spread across the long state, California has the most colleges and universities than any other state. Many of the students attending California colleges need some sort of financial assistance in order to help pay for their postsecondary education. California has numerous scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid in to provide assistance to students in need.
California Scholarships and Grants
The California Student Aid Commission administers the state government aid to residents of the state. California has a unique financial aid program called Cal Grants that provide California students with up to $9,700 per year. This is essentially free money, as grants need not be repaid. The competitive award differs from the other Cal Grants because it is not guaranteed, rather it is judged based off certain criteria.
- Cal Grant A Entitlement Award: For students who need assistants with tuition and fees at public and private colleges. This may also be used for some trade schools and career colleges.
- Cal Grant A Competitive Award: The recipients of this grant are decided based on a composite score of the student’s family income, parent’s education level, GPA and the amount of time they have been out of high school.
- Cal Grant B Entitlement Award: Low-income students who need assistance with a living allowance may receive up to $1,551 for books and living expenses. After the student completes freshman year, their grant may also be applied toward tuition and fees in the same amount as a Cal Grant A.
- Cal Grant B Competitive Award: Students from disadvantaged and low-income families who have a 2.0 GPA or higher may apply. Like the Cal Grant A Competitive Award, this award is not guaranteed to all who apply.
- Cal Grant C: Awards $576 for books, tools and equipment and $2,952 for tuition for students enrolled in a career college or technical school that is not a community college. The program must be four years in length, and may only be received for up to two years.
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship: Grants $1,000 scholarships to between 700 and 800 California undergraduate students each year.
- Child Development Grant Program: This grant is designed for students enrolled in a degree program that will lead to a Child Development Permit as a teacher, master teacher, site supervisor or program director.
- State Nursing Assumption Program of Loans for Education for Nursing Faculty (SNAPLE NF): With this loan program, the state forgives up to $25,000 over three academic years if the nursing student commits to working as a full-time faculty member of a California college or university.
- State Nursing Assumption Program of Loans for Education for Nurses in State Facilities (SNAPLE NSF): Designed for nurses who seek employment in a state-operated 24-hour facility with a registered nurse vacancy rate of greater than 10%. This program forgives up to $20,000 of the student loans if the student obtains full-time employment in one of the described facilities.
- California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth: Students under the age of 22 who are or were in foster care between the ages of 16 and 19 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 to use toward career and technical training or college tuition.
- Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE): This loan program forgives student loans from those seeking an education degree who obtain full-time employment in an area where there is a critical teacher shortage.
Scholarships from California Colleges and Universities
Visit your school’s website to determine what scholarships are offered. Larger California colleges and universities tend to offer more scholarships because they have a greater amount of donors. For example, the Leah Bettleman Scholarship is for first year students who have between a 3.5 and 3.9 GPA and demonstrate a strong financial need are eligible for this renewable UCLA scholarship. Another example is the Cal Bears Scholarship, which is a combination merit and need-based award that thousands of UC Berkeley students qualify for each year. Smaller schools also have a scholarship fund, such as the Business Institute of Los Angeles, in which students are automatically applied to this scholarship.
Students in California have many options regarding where they attend college. Some cities in California have more colleges than others, and the cities with a greater number of colleges tend to have more scholarship opportunities for their students. The five most popular cities to attend college or university in California are Los Angeles Colleges, San Diego Colleges, San Francisco Colleges, Sacramento Colleges, and Anaheim Colleges.
Other Scholarships for California
Students who do not qualify for a Cal Grant, or who need additional assistance after receiving other scholarship and grant funds should turn to their community. California community foundations are a great source of scholarship funds and may be determined based off of the student’s interests, financial need, merit, ethnicity, special talent, a combination or more.
- Ruth G. White Scholarship: Females residing in California who are majoring in medicine may apply. The award amounts vary annually.
- Ethel O. Gardner P.E.O. Scholarship: California women who have attended at least two years of college at an accredited college or university and who demonstrate a combination of financial need and outstanding character qualify for this scholarship. The award amounts vary annually.
- Clair A. Hill Scholarship: Offered by the Association of California Water Agencies, students who are in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year at a California postsecondary institution are considered for this $5,000 award.
- Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation: Students seeking a degree in restaurants and hospitality qualify for this scholarship that ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. The amount of money that each student receives depends on financial need, GPA, application and experience.
- The Tang Scholarship: One lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (l/g/b/t) Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) who is pursuing a postsecondary degree will receive an annual $15,000 scholarships that is renewable for up to three years.
- HSF/Citigroup Fellows Program: A two-year scholarship that awards $10,000 to the student’s last two years of college.
- Horticulture Research Institute Scholarships: Three scholarships are offered to members and nonmembers who are interested in pursuing a career in horticulture.
California Student Loans
The Student Loan Network has a list of schools in California and the student loans that are offered at each college in the state.
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