Cal Grant FAQs
All California residents who apply for financial aid are expected to apply for a Cal Grant.
Most of your questions can be answered by reviewing the California Student Aid Commission's Cal Grant Frequently Asked Questions. Additional information is listed below.
See the Cal Grant Program Comparison Chart for more information.
See the Cal Grant Disqualification Fact Sheet for more information.
See Understanding My Cal Grant for more information.
More About Eligibility
1. What is the minimum financial need required to be eligible for a New or Renewal Cal Grant and how is it calculated?
Financial need for Cal Grant eligibility is the difference between your Student Budget and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
The minimum financial need for a Cal Grant A is $14,130.
The minimum financial need for renewing a Cal Grant B award is $700.
2. What are the enrollment requirements for Cal Grant A and B?
To receive the full grant amount, you must be enrolled full-time. Your enrollment is verified at the end of the fifth week of classes. Cal Grant awards are limited to the equivalent of four years of full-time study, with some exceptions. If you are enrolled less than full-time, your Cal Grant will be reduced based on the following schedule and you may need to repay these funds. If you stay enrolled full-time, not only will you keep your full Cal Grant, you will make timely progress toward completing your degree.
|Number of Enrolled Units||Cal Grant Amount to Be Repaid|
|9 to 11 units||25%|
|6 to 8 units||50%|
|less than half-time||100%|
Depending on availability, we may award a combination of institutional gift aid, loans, and work-study to offset this Cal Grant reduction.
3. I know I am eligible, but I don't see a Cal Grant award in my package.
If you are a new or renewal Cal Grant recipient and your financial need is less than the Cal Grant Program minimum, you won't see your Cal Grant in your package. We encourage you to review the following forms and use them to let us know about any changed information that may increase your financial need: Cost of Attendance Adjustment Request, Student Contribution Appeal, or a Parent Contribution Appeal.
If you are a continuing student with a Cal Grant Renewal and have remaining eligibility of less than 50% for a full semester, Berkeley will determine your eligibility and post a partial Cal Grant award into CalCentral.
4. I just received a Cal Grant, but my other grants were reduced. Why?
Berkeley works carefully with its limited grant dollars in order to support as many students as possible. We do this in part by setting a maximum institutional gift aid eligibility for each student that may be met by a combination of institutional, federal, and state grant resources. Your eligibility for institutional grants will change if you receive the Cal Grant.
5. Is there anyone who shouldn't apply?
Not really. If you don't apply and we determine you would have been eligible, replacement grant funds may not be available.
Unless you are absolutely certain that your citizenship status, state residency status, financial status, or prior bachelor's degree make you ineligible for the Cal Grant and there is little chance of any of this information changing during the academic year, we encourage you to apply.
6. I applied for a Cal Grant last year but I was denied by CSAC. Why should I bother again this year?
You should apply every year in order to maximize your grant opportunities.
CSAC's income criteria and cut-offs change from year to year. Students who were ineligible one year may be eligible the next year.
Family circumstances can change suddenly for reasons such as loss of employment or illness. Even if you are financially ineligible now, it may be possible to award you a Cal Grant if something unfortunate occurs that changes your eligibility during the year.
Students who apply properly but are denied receive priority consideration for replacement institutional grant if they have financial need.
Students who are not eligible for Cal Grant fee awards may still be eligible for the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan. One of the requirements for being awarded the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan is that a student must have applied for a Cal Grant.
More About the GPA Verification Process
The GPA Verification Form is a critical piece of your application for the Cal Grant and is required if you have not received a Cal Grant.
The form is available online and at local high schools and colleges. The Registrar of your certifying school needs to complete and send it to CSAC by March 2.
1. Which is my certifying school?
Current high school seniors and college (including UC Berkeley) freshman:
Your certifying school is your high school, so you'll need to submit the GPA Verification Form or the Cal Grant GPA Information Release Form to your high school. Even if you are a freshman in college attending Berkeley, verification of your high school GPA is required.
UC Berkeley Sophomores and Juniors:
Berkeley is your certifying school and will send verification of your High School GPA electronically.
All other students:
Your most recent school of attendance is your certifying school, so you'll need to ask them to complete the school section of the GPA Verification Form, unless your school is already sending your GPA electronically. It is advisable to submit the GPA form to the Registrar of your certifying school by mid-February.
Use the charts below to help you identify your certifying school.
|Entering UC Undergraduate, California Resident||Certifying School|
|New Freshman||Your High School|
|New Transfer||Your Current College|
|Current UC Undergraduate, California Resident, Without a Paid Cal Grant||Certifying School|
|Freshman||Your High School|
|Transfer Enrolled Fall & Spring||Berkeley|
|Transfer Enrolled Spring-Only||Your Former College|
REMEMBER!...you are responsible for making sure your financial aid application and GPA Verification are submitted to CSAC by March 2.
2. How can I confirm that Berkeley sent my GPA automatically?
Contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office in mid-February. A staff member will confirm whether or not you are on the list that was sent to CSAC.
3. I have a Cal Grant, do I need to submit a GPA Verification Form?
You don't have to file a GPA Verification Form if you have a paid Cal Grant in 2019-20.
UC Berkeley applies your Cal Grant A and Cal Grant B Tuition/Fee awards directly to Tuition/Fee charges on your student billing account in CalCentral.
NOTE: Cal Grant B Access Grant 2020-2021 Recipients
Your Access Grant (formerly called Cal Grant B Stipend) will be automatically applied to your student account balance. You have the option to have your award refunded to you and not applied to your account balance; to request this, download the Cal Grant B Payment Authorization Form and submit it to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office by the following deadlines:
Fall-Only Students: July 6
Academic Year Students: July 6
Spring-Only Students: November 2
Please Note, if we do not receive the Cal Grant B Access Payment Authorization form in our office by the due date(s) noted above, your request cannot be processed.
You can monitor the Cal Grant payment status by logging into CalCentral.
The Financial Aid Communications sections on the My Finances page of your CalCentral account will tell you about any issues that may be delaying the payment of your Cal Grant. Be sure to review these pages on a regular basis. If you have any questions about what you find there, be sure to let us know!
You can also monitor the payment of your grant by reviewing your CalCentral, My Finances page. Once the semester starts, you'll want to concentrate on your studies, so it's a good idea to make sure that you have taken care of as much of your financial aid business before then as possible.
1. What if my Cal Grant hasn't paid by the second week of the semester?
First, check your Financial Aid Communications sections on the My Finances page of your CalCentral account and take care of any outstanding issues you find there.
Second, confirm that you have completed all CSAC requirements by checking your Cal Grant status at webgrants4students.org. Take care of any outstanding issues you find.
Review the list below for more information about why your Cal Grant may not have paid. If you confirm that everything is taken care of and your grant still has not paid, please let us know.
There is a Cal Grant program mismatch between CSAC and Berkeley records (for example, CSAC awarded a Cal Grant B based on your initial FAFSA or Dream Application, but according to your latest FAFSA or Dream Application updates or corrections, Berkeley has determined you are eligible for Cal Grant A). Berkeley will determine final eligibility and notify CSAC to correct their records. When CSAC and Berkeley records match, your Cal Grant will pay, as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.
If you are an entering transfer student from a community college, your Cal Grant award may be on hold because CSAC determined you are ineligible as the result of processing your G-6 (Transfer Entitlement Verification Form). Berkeley will soon replace your Cal Grant up to your maximum Gift Aid Eligibility (depending on availability) and any remaining difference will be awarded as Self-Help.
We have been asked by the California Student Aid Commission to verify your California state residency status at the time you graduated from high school (AB 840 Verification). The Berkeley Cal Grant Administrator will send you a letter and email with instructions on completing CSAC’s AB 840 verification review.
Your Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) Form has yet to be reviewed or processed and thus your California state residency status is still pending.
If you know that you are not a California resident and you are not eligible for an AB 540 Waiver, and you have a Cal Grant award in your package after the second week of September for the fall semester, or after the second week of February for the spring semester, please contact us so that we can repackage you with other forms of financial aid.
If you are not on the Cal Grant roster but you see a Cal Grant award on Cal Central and you received notice from CSAC that you are a Cal Grant recipient, log in to webgrants4students.org and request a School Change.
2. Why is my Cal Grant no longer showing up on CalCentral?
Generally, Berkeley is able to determine your eligibility for the Cal Grant before CSAC records are updated. There are many reasons you may be determined ineligible for a previously estimated or awarded Cal Grant and some of these reasons are listed below. In all cases, Berkeley has replaced the Cal Grant with a combination of institutional grant award (up to your maximum grant eligibility) and self-help (loans and/or work-study).
You are a new transfer student and your name is not currently on the UC Berkeley Cal Grant roster or your Cal Grant renewal is not confirmed. If your name appears on the Cal Grant roster or your Cal Grant renewal is confirmed, Berkeley will revise your financial aid package by adding the Cal Grant award and reducing any previously awarded replacement Gift Aid by the same amount.
You no longer meet the Cal Grant eligibility criteria because of changes on your FAFSA or Dream Application made either by your family or by Berkeley. This can include corrections to income and/or assets, family size, or the number of family members attending college.
The Berkeley Residency Office classified you as a non-California resident based on information in your Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) Form.
You are a continuing student who is a CSAC-selected student under the Transfer Entitlement track, but you are not eligible because you do not meet the new Transfer Entitlement Program requirements.
California Dream Act
The California Dream Act of 2011 consists of two bills, Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130) and Assembly Bill 131 (AB 131). These bills make certain education funding available for specially qualified students who are not eligible for TIV federal student aid.
The first part of the California Dream Act, Assembly Bill 130 (AB 130), allows students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540 and who are ineligible for federal aid to receive scholarships from private sources.
The second part of the California Dream Act, Assembly Bill 131 (AB 131), allows students exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540 and who are ineligible for federal aid to receive grants and scholarships from state and University sources.
1. Am I eligible to apply for a Cal Grant under AB 131?
To be eligible for a Cal Grant under AB 131, you must qualify for an AB 540 nonresident tuition exemption and complete the AB 540 application and affidavit.
2. When and how should I apply for a Cal Grant?
Please read the sections above for information on how to apply for a Cal Grant.
3. Is there more information for eligible AB 131 students that qualify for AB540?
The California Student Aid Commission provides information about applying for a Cal Grant under AB 131 at dream.csac.ca.gov. Review the California Student Aid Commission AB 540 Guide for students. Another great resource for eligible AB131 students that qualify for AB540 is the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program.
Cal Grant Access Awards for Students with Dependent Children
Per the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), Cal Grant recipients with dependent children attending a University of California, California State University, or California Community College campus may be eligible for an access award of up to $6,024.
Students must meet all eligibility requirements to receive the Cal Grant Access Grant. Dependent children, for example, must be under 18 years of age and receive more than 50 percent of their support from the student. Eligible students are also required to complete a self-certification process in WebGrants.
The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office is required to make the final eligibility determination and resolve conflicting information prior to disbursing funds.
Access Grants will appear in WebGrants for eligible students as follows:
Eligible Cal Grant A recipients will see an Access Grant amount of up to $6,000
Eligible Cal Grant B recipients will see an increased Access Grant amount of up to $6,024
Similar to Cal Grants for tuition, Access Grants disburse based on enrollment, and full-time enrollment is required to receive the full amount of the award. We verify enrollment at the end of the fifth week of classes, and prorate awards based on actual enrollment if enrolled less than full-time (less than 12 units).
Questions & Answers:
Q: What will the self-certification process require students to do?
A: To complete the self-certification requirement, please follow these simple steps:
• Log into your WG4S account or create an account if you do not have one at the CSAC WEBSITE.
• Go to the Cal Grant Main Menu and select "Confirmation of Eligibility"
• Answer the question on the WG4S screen regarding your dependent children, check the appropriate box for the Student Certification and submit.
• Your college will make the final eligibility determination for the Cal Grant.
Q: What is the maximum access grant amount for Cal Grant A recipients?
A: The maximum access grant amount is $6,000.
Q: What is the maximum access grant amount for Cal Grant B recipients?
A: The maximum access grant amount is $6,024.
Q: Will all students receive the maximum access grant amount?
A: Not necessarily. Award amounts will vary based on enrollment status (Full Time, Three-Quarter Time or Half Time) as well as financial need.
Q: Will this new award be prorated based on enrollment?
A: Yes. Award amounts will be prorated, similar to the way Cal Grants for tuition are prorated at the end of the 5th week of enrollment each semester.
$6,024 Annual total access/2 semesters = $3,012 per term Full time
$3,012 X 75% = $2,259 for Three-Quarter time enrollment
$3,012 X 50% = $1,506 for Half-time enrollment
Q: Will there be replacement grant awarded for students who enroll less than full time?
A: No. Unlike the Cal Grant for tuition, we will not award replacement grant awarded to account for any award adjustments made at the end of the 5th week of classes. We will offer students loan and work-study, or funds permitting, increased parent grant up to the maximum, to account for award reductions as appropriate.
Q: When should we expect to see this new award in our financial aid packages?
A: Awards for 2019-20 have been made. Please review your aid package for updates.
Q: How will students be notified of potential eligibility?
A: CSAC has sent the following communication to students: CLICK HERE TO READ.
Note that not all students notified will be eligible upon review by the Financial Aid and Scholarships office.
Q: How will this award impact my other financial aid awards, like my Parent Grant?
A: The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will make adjustments to your financial aid to increase or add the Cal Grant Access Grant. We may adjust multiple awards in your current aid package, including your Student Parent Grant, to make room for this additional resource.
Remember that adjustments to previously paid awards and disbursements of new awards will create account activity which you can monitor on the My Finances tab in CalCentral. We encourage you to review your account balance for fall and spring semesters early and often.
Q: If my current grants or scholarships are reduced, can I regain the aid I’ve lost?
A: The total of your financial aid awards cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance, or student budget. We may be able to increase your budget—and your financial aid eligibility—if you incur expenses during the academic year that are higher than your current financial aid budget. This is called a Cost of Attendance (COA) Adjustment (COAAR). We encourage you to submit a COAAR if you have incurred additional educational expenses. We will evaluate your eligibility for additional funding, including for awards that were adjusted during the Cal Grant Access Grant awarding process.
Please note: UC Berkeley reserves the right to adjust awards to correct any awarding errors. Changes to qualifying information or revisions of federal, state, or institutional policy may result in updates to aid eligibility and adjustments of financial aid awards. Information is subject to change.