Students who have been California residents may be eligible for a grant from the State of California, otherwise known as a Cal Grant. Eligibility is based upon several factors including demonstrated financial need and grade point average.
If a student is a California resident, the College will project his Cal Grant eligibility as part of his financial aid package. If the student fails to apply for a Cal Grant, or applies too late, he may be responsible for paying that portion of his tuition, room and board that would have been paid by the Cal Grant. As a consequence, it is extremely important that California residents submit the necessary paper work by March 3, 2014.
In short, it takes two forms to apply for a Cal Grant:
A FAFSA must be submitted to the federal processor by no later than March 3, 2014. The FAFSA should be filed as early as possible after January 1 so that necessary corrections can be made prior to March 3.
A GPA Verification Form must be submitted to CSAC by no later than March 3, 2014. This form can be filed as soon as it becomes available in the preceding fall:
Incoming Freshmen and returning Sophomores in 2014-15: Since you have fewer than 24 college credits from Thomas Aquinas College as of March 2014, you must submit a high school GPA or a qualifying GPA from a prior college. Some schools will do this electronically for you.
Juniors and Seniors in 2014-15: Since you have more than 24 college credits as of March 2014, Thomas Aquinas College will submit your college GPA electronically on your behalf by March 3, 2014.
File early, make photocopies of all submissions and request a “Certificate of Mailing” ($1.20) from the Post Office when mailing the FAFSA, GPA Verification Form, or any related item. If you transmit your FAFSA online, print a copy of it and print a copy of it and a copy of the Submission Confirmation Page.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of keeping a copy of both the FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form and obtaining evidence that both were transmitted or mailed by March 3. Each year one or more of our California students need to document for the state that they submitted the appropriate forms on time.
CSAC specifies that Cal Grant applicants who do not have a grade point average from a high school must provide an ACT, SAT, or GED test score in lieu of a GPA. CSAC defines “high school” as a secondary school accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) or another regional accrediting association if the secondary school is not in the WASC region, or a school that has a University of California approved course list. Home-schooled students must submit an ACT, SAT, or GED test score in lieu of a GPA unless the student has been part of an independent study program administered by a high school as defined above. In this latter case, the high school, not the parent, must complete the GPA Verification Form.
Are you wondering if your Cal Grant GPA has been received by the Commission? If you have filed a 2014-2015 FAFSA, you can go online and check the status of your Cal Grant application by logging on to www.webgrants4students.org and creating an account.
If you have any questions regarding the Cal Grant program, call the California Student Aid Commission at (888) 224-7268.
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Former Secretary, Congregation for Catholic Education