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 as well as the applicant not having already earned a bachelor’s degree.
In the prior school year (2023-24), new Cal Grant awards paid $9,358 per year toward tuition for up to four years.
The deadline for applying for a Cal Grant for 2024-25 is March 4, 2024.
If you currently have a Cal Grant, there is no need to submit a new GPA form to renew your Cal Grant; you must, however, file a FAFSA to document your continued need.
How to Apply for a Cal Grant
The steps for applying for a Cal Grant are laid out in detail on the website of the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).
In short, it takes two steps to apply for a Cal Grant:
Step 1: A FAFSA must be submitted to the federal processor by no later than April 2, 2024. The 2024-25 FAFSA will become available by December 31, 2023. We recommend you submit your FAFSA early so that any necessary corrections can be made prior to the Cal Grant deadline.
Step 2: Submit your GPA (or in some cases a test score report) to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by March 4, 2024.
Incoming Freshmen and returning Sophomores at Thomas Aquinas College in 2024-25: Since you have fewer than 24 college credits from Thomas Aquinas College as of March 2024, you must submit a high school GPA or a qualifying GPA from a prior college. Some schools will do this for you electronically. Please check with your high school counselor to see how the school handles the submission of GPAs.
CSAC defines a “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, using a GPA Verification Form, 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, submits the GPA to CSAC.
Students attending an unaccredited high school, students who attend high school outside of the U.S. and are unable to convert those grades to a 4.0 scale, and students who have been out of school for more than five years must submit an ACT, SAT, GED or HiSet test score in lieu of a GPA, using a GPA Verification Form.
If you are transferring from another college and have a college GPA based on a minimum of 24 semester units or its equivalent, that college or university must submit your college GPA to CSAC by March 4th.
Juniors and Seniors at Thomas Aquinas College in 2024-25: Since you have more than 24 college credits as of March 2024, Thomas Aquinas College will submit your college GPA electronically on your behalf by March 4, 2024.
Cal Grant funds are sent to Thomas Aquinas College by the California Student Aid Commission. Each semester, half of these funds are applied to the Cal Grant recipient’s account.
California Residents are Required to Apply
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.
Important Additional Information
As explained above, 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, if you have taken the CLT as part of your admission application, you may need to take an additional test to qualify for a Cal Grant.
Are you wondering if your 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.