Financial Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. When it comes to the topic of financial aid, many of my peers believe that they won′t receive any financial aid because their family income is higher than what most families make. However, FAFSA doesn′t just consider your family income, they also consider the number of family members in college as well as your medical expenses.

Types of Cal Grants

Cal Grant A:
It requires a minimum of a 3.0 GPA from high school students and a minimum of a 2.4 GPA from college students.
If you are attending a CSU (California State University) you may be able to receive up to $5,427.
If you are attending a UC (University of California), you may be able to receive up to $12,240.
If you are attending a private university, you are able to receive up to $9084.
Cal Grant B:
For lower income students with a minimum GPA of 2.0
First year students in college will only receive $1,670 for tuition, living expenses, transportation, and books
After you have completed your first year in college, you may be able to receive the same amount of awards as Cal Grant A on top of $1,670
Cal Grant C:
Assists students who are attending college for a technical or career education
Only available to a student for 2 years
You may receive up to $547 for books, tools, and equipments and $2,462 for tuition


Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Unsubsidized)
Available to undergraduate and graduate students (don′t have to demonstrate financial need)
School determines amount you may borrow
You are responsible for paying interest during all periods
If you choose not to pay interest, your interest will accumulate and will be added to the principal amount of your loan.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized)
Must be enrolled half-time
Available for undergraduate students with financial need
The U.S. Department of Education pays for your interest
School determines the amount you borrow
Grace period is during the first 6 months after you leave school
Perkins Loan
Your school is the one that lends the loan to you
Not all colleges participate in the Perkins Loan so it is better to check with your school′s office
It has a low interest rate of 5%
It is available to undergraduate, graduate, or professional students
Grace period is 9 months if you are enrolled in your school at least half-time; however, if you attend your school less than the half-time period, your school will determine your grace period
Grace Period: A period of time after borrowers graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment where they are not required to make payments on certain federal student loans. Some federal student loans will accrue interest during the grace period, and if the interest is unpaid, it will be added to the principal balance of the loan when the repayment period begins.
Interest: A loan expense charged for the use of borrowed money. Interest is paid by a borrower to a lender. The expense is calculated as a percentage of the unpaid principal amount of the loan.

Dorm vs Commute (FAFSA)

When it comes to college, one of the first things that may come to mind is the dorm room experience. Although the idea of spending time away from your parents and having no curfews may be glamorous, most people don′t really consider both the pros and the cons together.
While it is fun to have no curfews and spend time away from you parents, some people tend to forget the difficult aspect of living on campus. Especially in public universities, open dorms can be hard to come by because there are so many students. Even if you are able to get your hands on a dorm, you may not be able to have your ideal dorm. Often times, larger schools try to squeeze students into the dorms by fitting 3-4 people in one room. Even though dorming can be a hassle sometimes, it gives you an open opportunity to develop social skills and it is more convenient to go to class as well. Personally, I think that if you live within 30 minutes of your school, you should commute instead; however, if you do want that dorm room experience most college students recommend trying it out for one year.
Commuting means that you will not be living on campus and instead you are driving to your school. When commuting, the pros include: being able to save more money on college expenses (especially if you are living at home) and go out more (if you have your own car). If you are considering commuting to school or bringing a car with you, make sure to research your school′s parking fees. If you are attending a public university, parking spots can be hard to find and the fees are much more. A possible solution to this issue may be parking in a nearby neighborhood.
When you are deciding on dorming, make sure to consider the distance from you home to the college, the number of roommates you′re able to handle, air conditioning, and cost of living on campus v.s. living at home. When you are considering commuting, be sure to think of parking fees and your convenience.

Helpful Websites

Website for applying for Fafsa: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Website for applying for Cal Grant: https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/LogonHtml.asp

More information on how Cal Grant Works: http://www.csac.ca.gov/pubs/forms/grnt_frm/Understanding_My_Cal_Grant.pdf

Why you may have not received Cal grant: http://www.csac.ca.gov/pubs/forms/grnt_frm/g-20_disqualificationfactsheet.pdf

Work Study: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/work-study

College Search/Information: