With graduation just a few months away for high school seniors, the reality of college costs may begin to set in. High school seniors and their parents can eliminate some stress and possibly lessen the financial burden of college by completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application and applying for state and federal grants, including a California grant. Cal Grants offer cash for college that doesn’t have to be repaid! In addition to grants, the FAFSA application may also provide an opportunity for low-interest loans. Current high school seniors, college students, and any adult 18 years of age or older interested in attending college should apply to be considered for grants and scholarships.
The Cal Grant program is the California Student Aid Commission’s merit- and need-based financial aid program. In order to be eligible, there are a few simple qualifications: high school students must be seniors or recent graduates, have at least a 2.0 GPA, meet other eligibility and financial requirements and submit two forms by the March 2 deadline – it’s that easy.
To help with the application process, the Central Coast Cal-SOAP offices at Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College are cosponsoring a series of free Cash for College Workshops to help students and parents fill out the forms. Spanish-speaking staff will be available at all locations. Attention high school seniors: Attending a workshop may also result in a bonus $1,000 scholarship! Dates and locations are:
||3-8 p.m.||Paso Robles High School Computer Lab/Library|
||3-7 p.m.||Pioneer Valley High School Library|
||5-8 p.m.||Cuesta College, SLO Campus, High Tech Center-bldg. 3400, Open Lab (upstairs)|
||4-8 p.m.||Arroyo Grande High School, Orchard Street, rooms 958 & 959|
||4-8 p.m.||Nipomo High School Library|
||4-8 p.m.||Santa Maria High School, room 235|
||4-8 p.m.||Righetti High School, Plato Labs (rooms 621 & 622)|
||4-8 p.m.||Santa Maria High School, Room 235|
If you want to get started with your free FAFSA application, find it at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Cal Grant GPA verification form is available at www.csac.ca.gov, but make sure to check with your high school counselor before you submit the form. Since counselors are required to complete part of this form, some high schools may submit the Cal Grant GPA verification for you.
Both forms must be sent to the California Student Aid Commission and postmarked by March 2, 2013.
Those planning to attend a Cash for College workshop must bring with them the following information:
- student’s Social Security number and driver’s license (if available)
- parent’s Social Security number ( If available)
- any records of untaxed income such as welfare benefits, Social Security benefits, or child support payments
- student’s W-2 forms or records of income earned during 2011 or 2012
- 2012 bank statements
- business records
- permanent residency card (if not a U.S. citizen)
- a list of preferred colleges
Also be aware that the California Dream Act is now available for students who meet the AB540 waiver eligibility requirement. For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the local workshops, call the Central Coast Cal-SOAP office at (805) 922-6966 [or toll free 1-866-DIAL AHC (342-5242)], ext. 3710.
For additional information on Cal Grants, log on to www.calgrants.org or call toll-free (888) CA-GRANT (224-7268).