Cal Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a prior bachelor’s degree. In 2019-20, new Cal Grant awards paid $9,084 per year toward tuition for up to four years.
The deadline for applying for a Cal Grant for 2020-21 is March 2, 2020.
How to Apply for a Cal Grant
California residents attending the California campus 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.
All California residents attending Thomas Aquinas College's California campus are required to apply for this grant. If you fail to apply and are found to have been eligible, you may be held responsible for the amount of the lost Cal Grant.
Cal Grants can only be used by California residents attending the California campus. It would be prudent, however, for California residents attending the New England campus to apply for a Cal Grant in case their plans change in the future. They will not be able to use the Cal Grant in New England, but if they are found eligible for a Cal Grant, they can request a leave of absence from the Cal Grant program for up to two years, thereby preserving their Cal Grant for that length of time.
The steps for applying for a Cal Grant are laid out in detail in the GPA Verification Form published by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
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 2, 2021. The 2021-22 FAFSA became available October 1, 2020. We recommend you submit your FAFSA early so that any necessary corrections can be made prior to the March 2, 2021 Cal Grant deadline.
A GPA Verification Form must be submitted to CSAC no later than March 2, 2021. This form can be filed as soon as it becomes available in the preceding fall.
Incoming Freshmen and returning Sophomores in 2021-22: Since you have fewer than 24 college credits from Thomas Aquinas College as of March 2021, 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 2021-22: Since you have more than 24 college credits as of March 2021, Thomas Aquinas College will submit your college GPA electronically on your behalf by March 2, 2021.
File early, make photocopies of all submissions and request a “Certificate of Mailing” ($1.50) 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 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 2.
CSAC specifies that Cal Grant applicants who do not have a grade point average from a high school must provide an ACT, SAT, GED, or HiSet test score in lieu of a GPA. CSAC does not accept the Classical Learning Test (CLT) in lieu of a GPA. Since the College requires financial aid applicants who are California residents to apply for the Cal Grant as part of a complete financial aid application, you may need to take an additional test besides the CLT.
CSAC defines “high school” as a secondary school accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) or another regional accrediting association if the secondary school is not in the WSCUC region, or a school that has a University of California approved course list. Home-schooled students must submit an ACT, SAT, GED or HiSet 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? You can go online and check the status of your Cal Grant application by logging on to https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov and creating an account.
If you have any questions regarding the Cal Grant program, call the California Student Aid Commission at (888) 224-7268.