Financial Aid & Scholarships
Grants are financial aid that you don’t need to pay back. Grants usually come from your state, the federal government, and colleges. Many of these grants are based on need, which means that they are based on your (and your family’s) financial circumstances.
To apply for federal and state grants (Cal Grants), complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by March 2.
To apply for federal and state grants as an undocumented student, complete the California Dream Act application by March 2.
A Cal Grant is money for college from the state of California that you don’t have to pay back. To qualify, you must meet the eligibility and financial requirements as well as any minimum GPA requirements. Cal Grants can be used at any University of California, California State University or California Community College, as well as qualifying independent and career colleges or technical schools in California.
There are three kinds of Cal Grants — A, B, and C — but you don’t have to figure out which one to apply for. Your eligibility will be based on your FAFSA responses, your verified Cal Grant GPA*, the type of California colleges you list on your FAFSA and whether you’re a recent high school graduate.
*ESUHSD uploads all verified Cal Grant GPA's. No action is needed by individual students.
FEDERAL PELL GRANTS
A Federal Pell Grant is money for college from the federal government that you don't have to pay back. It is usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. Amounts can change yearly. For the 2020-21 award year (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021), the maximum award is $6,345. You can receive the Federal Pell grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent (roughly 6 years).
Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need , allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study. Money earned in the Federal Work-Study program is not used to determine financial need when applying for financial aid, therefore, making it a better option than a part-time job elsewhere.
The federal and state governments, colleges and private organizations all provide college loans to students and parents.
Federal Perkins Loans may be awarded by colleges to students with the highest need.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are interest-free while you're in college and have a borrowing limit that increases for each year of school you complete.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans charge interest but allow you to add the interest fees to the amount you borrow until after graduation. However, doing this means you’ll actually end up owing more.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans allow parents (or graduate students) to borrow the total cost of college, minus any financial aid received.
In general, private loans are not subsidized or need-based. They also often require a cosigner — someone who promises to repay the money if the student fails to do so. The interest rates of private loans vary.
Find many different types of financial aid available year round at California Community Colleges that directly connect you with events in your area where you can get free professional assistance completing financial aid forms. I Can Afford College
Like grants, scholarships are financial aid you don’t pay back. Scholarships can come from many places including your state government, private organizations like churches or local clubs, and colleges. Sometimes scholarships are based on academic or athletic talent. Other times scholarships may be based on your interest in a specific subject or career. It’s important to remember that scholarships include a separate application process outside both the regular application process to college and the financial aid application process.
Things to be aware of with scholarships
You should never have to pay to apply for a reputable scholarship, nor should you have to pay for a scholarship search.
Since scholarship searches are very popular, there are many websites and services that try to scam students. It’s important to be aware of these scams. Please visit FindAid for more information.
Be sure to ask your college’s financial aid office about its scholarship process. This is crucial since some colleges and universities will reduce other financial aid they’ve given you if you are awarded an outside scholarship. You must always report any outside scholarships to your college.
Remember, some scholarships are taxable, and if you are awarded a scholarship, it is up to you to read all the fine print!
Many scholarships are not renewable. For scholarships that are renewable for multiple years, you’ll often have to meet certain requirements like keeping good grades. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of any scholarship offer before you sign on the dotted line.
Scholarship Lists & Search Engines
Start creating your scholarship list by using a scholarship search engine. Scholarship search engines help you find scholarships you may qualify for by having you enter your demographic information. The search engine takes that information and sifts through thousands of scholarships and only shows you the ones you might be qualified to receive. Some search engines will even send you emails when a new scholarship match is found.
Popular Scholarship Search Websites
GoingMerry - The "Common App" of scholarships, you can search and apply to dozens of scholarships at once using one common application. Includes national, local, and school-specific scholarships.
College Greenlight - A totally free resource geared towards traditionally underrepresented students. They have an easily searchable database filled with thousands of scholarships, grants, and merit-aid opportunities. Students receive a customized list of the awards best suited to their academic, social, and community accomplishments.
Fastweb - After you create a simple profile, Fastweb offers a curated list of scholarship matches, as well as the ability to sort scholarships into Interested, Applied, I’ve Won!, and Not Interested categories.
Scholarships Dot Com - In order to access the scholarship search tool, you must make an account. Scholarships.com also includes a scholarship directory available to casual browsers.
JLV Counseling Scholarship Lists - This simple hidden gem of a site is a fan favorite. While it doesn’t offer a searchable database, it does offer a myriad of scholarship lists based on identities like military status, athlete, gender, and more. You can also take a bird’s eye view of all the scholarships listed on the site sorted by deadline.
Cappex - In addition to offering scholarship matches, it also helps students find the right college for them. While Cappex offers a little teaser of potential scholarships without an account, you absolutely need one in order to view scholarship details and to start applying. Once you create an account, your scholarship matches are neatly laid out in a table that tells you the scholarship name, amount, how much effort the scholarship will take, and how much competition you’re up against.
Other Scholarship Lists & Search Engines
Geneseo Migrant Center (for students who have had to move often due to agricultural work)
Raise.me (earn micro-scholarships for things you do in high school)
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Scholarship (open to all genders)
Carolyn Balsa Hancock Memorial Scholarship (for students in special education)
Lilian Gong-Guy Memorial Scholarship (for students of Chinese descent)
K. Hunter Goff Elder Law Scholarship (do not have to go into law)