Financial Aid (FAFSA)
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid (including the Pell Grant, Federal student loans and Federal Work-Study). Despite its name, the application is not for a single federal program, being rather the gateway of consideration for:
- the nine federal student-aid programs
- the 605 state aid programs
- most of the institutional aid available
You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible beginning October 1st .
By completing the FAFSA you are applying for Federal and State Grants, Federal Student Loans and Federal Work Study. The Board Of Governor's Waiver (BOGW/Fee Waiver) is also included in this application but for California Community Colleges only.
Do you know if you qualify for financial aid? If not, Visit the FASFA help site
Upon completion of your FAFSA you will be given an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. This index number is used to calculate your eligibility for financial aid. Typically, the lower the EFC the more financial aid you may qualify for.
- Financial Aid
- Are You a Foster Youth?
- California Dream Act
- Get Prepared with FAFSA Assistant
- CAL Grant
Advice for students and parents on changes for the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CA Dream Act Application (CDAA):
- Apply in Fall - The FAFSA and the CDAA will open on October 1. This allows students to apply three months earlier than in the past.
- Applying is Easier - Completing forms for both the FAFSA and the CDAA is easier because applicants will provide income and tax information filed for the tax year (they don't have to estimate). Many students and parents will find completing the FAFSA easier since they will be able to provide income-tax information directly from the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) that is linked to the FAFSA.*
*Please note the CDAA does not support the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Unchanged: The priority filing deadline is still March 2 for both applications. Students may receive information regarding Cal Grant eligibility in the fall, but will still receive their UC financial aid offer(s) after notification of admission in the spring.
What students and parents can begin doing before October 1:
- Secure a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID for FAFSA applicants or for a CA Dream Act ID for CDAA applicants.
Federal Student Aid Login (FAFSA)
CA Dream Act (CDAA)
- To attend a FREE Cash for College workshop for hands-on application assistance.
After submitting a FAFSA or CDAA students should open an account to check the status of their Cal Grant eligibility
If you are or were in foster care and have not yet reached your 22nd birthday you may be eligible to receive the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth. You will need to complete the FAFSA and the California Chafee Grant application.
California Chafee Grant
The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and the California Department of Education (CDE) understand that, in light of recent events, there could be confusion regarding the California Dream Act program, which allows certain undocumented and out-of-state students (“Dreamers”) to receive state financial aid while attending colleges in California. The California Dream Act is a state law, separate and distinct from the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Regardless of what happens at the federal level, state financial aid for Dreamers remains legal in California. A Dreamer student does not need to be DACA-certified to be eligible for a public education or state financial aid. Losing DACA status will not affect most state financial aid.
Do you know a student who is undocumented and wants to go to college? Have you heard of the term AB540? Am I AB540? California Assembly Bill 540 (AB540) passed in 2001 permits qualified immigrant students to pay in-state tuition.
What is AB540:
- Attended a CA high school for 3 or more years;
- Graduated from a CA high school or attained the equivalent
- File an affidavit with your college or university stating that you have or intend to file an application to legalize your immigration status, if applicable.
- Are AB540 students eligible for FAFSA?
- No AB540 students can NOT apply to FAFSA
What types of aid are available for AB540?
- California Dream Act
California Dream Act
Become your own advocate:
- AB540 students need to become advocates of their own education in order to gain access to networks, resources, services and opportunities. How can AB540 students become involved?
- Join your campus AB540 support group
- Learn about political issues that affect your status and get involved
- Write your Legislators, Congressmen/woman asking them to support the Federal DREAM ACT
- Attend AB540 Conferences/Summits in order to build your AB540 Network
- Volunteer in the community
- Organize Fundraisers for AB540 Scholarships
- Research AB540 Friendly Scholarships and share with other AB540 Students.
- Coordinate Informational Parent/Student/Community Workshops in order to make others aware of AB540.
The first step in determining your eligibility for college financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Just answer a few questions in this interactive tool, and we’ll help get you ready to complete the FAFSA application with tips and guidance based on your personal situation.
What is a Cal Grant?
A Cal Grant is money for college 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. To learn more about the qualifications,
Cal Grant A
- will help pay for tuition and fees at four-year colleges
- award amounts vary by type of college — for 2019-20152020, Cal Grants are up to $12,240 at a University of California campus, up to $5,472 at a California State University campus, and up to $9,084 at independent colleges
- has a GPA requirement. If you’re applying using your high school GPA, you must have at least a 3.0 GPA; if applying using your college GPA, you must have at least a 2.4 GPA
- requires that your course of study leads directly to an associate or bachelor’s degree, or qualifies you for transfer from a community college to a bachelor’s degree program
Cal Grant B
- provides a living allowance of up to $1,656, in addition to tuition and fee assistance after the first year, at a two- or four-year college
- pays most first-year students a living allowance only, which may be used to pay living expenses, books, supplies and transportation, as well as tuition and fees
- when renewed or awarded beyond your first year, you’ll receive the living allowance as well as a tuition and fee award (up to $12,240 at a UC campus, up to $5,472 at a CSU campus and up to $9,084 at independent colleges for 2019-2020)
- requires at least a 2.0 GPA
Interested in a technical, vocational or career education?
Cal Grant C
- assists with the costs of a technical or career education
- provides up to $547 for books, tools and equipment—and up to $2,462 more for tuition and fees if you’ll be attending a school other than a California Community College (community colleges don’t charge tuition and your fees will be waived as a Cal Grant recipient)
- is available for up to two years
Step1: The Application
Complete and submit the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application by March 2 of each year.
- If you are a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen, you should file the FAFSA. For the definition of eligible non-citizen see the description of "Citizenship Status"
- If you are not a citizen, but attended a California high school for at least three years or graduated early from a California high school with the equivalent of at least three years of credits and attended three years of elementary and secondary school, graduated from a California high school or the equivalent, and are or will be attending an accredited California college or university, you should file the California Dream Act Application.
- You can also download a PDF version of the FAFSA or PDF version of the California Dream Act Application in English or Spanish which you will need to mail for processing. If you will be mailing in a paper application, be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing ($1.30 in addition to postage) from the Post Office so you can verify the date you mailed your forms.
- If you or your parents are in a Registered Domestic Partnership at the time you submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application, you’ll need to complete the G-37: Cal Grant Registered Domestic Partner Reporting Form to be considered for a Cal Grant.
- Missed the March 2 deadline? There is a second deadline, only for California Community College students, September 2. Submit the required forms before the September 2 deadline to be considered for this specific Cal Grant. There is a limited number of September Cal Grants available.
Step2: Certified GPA:
File a certified grade point average (GPA) with the California Student Aid Commission by no later than March 2.
Cal Grant/GPA Verification: Upland High School will electronically send your GPA to the California Student Aid Commission if we have your social security number on file. Check with your counselor to make sure we have your social security number.
Tips for Filing:
To avoid issues later, complete your application early.
- Need help completing the FAFSA, California Dream Act Application, or other forms? See your high school counselor or college financial aid administrator.
- If you or your parents won’t file taxes before the March 2nd deadline, don’t wait to file your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. You can still submit the application based on estimated financial information, then come back later after you have filed taxes and update your application. The Student Aid Commission cannot accept late FAFSAs or California Dream Act Applications for Cal Grant consideration.
- The FAFSA is the application for federal student aid like Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH Grant, and federal student loans as well as state financial aid like Cal Grants. Most institutions also use the FAFSA for institutional need-based financial aid.
- The California Dream Act Application is the application non-citizens will use to apply for High School Entitlement Cal Grant A and B awards, Community College Transfer Entitlement A and B awards, and Cal Grant C. The Dream Application is also used for institutional Dream Act financial aid and California Community Colleges Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG fee waiver).
- Out-of-State Students - In most cases, Cal Grants are only for California residents —those who are or will be a California resident for at least one year by the application deadline. If you’re under 18 years of age, your residency is determined by your parent's state of legal residence. However, if your college or university determines you are AB 540-eligible, then you may be eligible for Cal Grants, institutional grants, or BOG fee waivers.
Our Visionary Scholarship is now a bi-annual award. There are five (5) awards given with each bi-annual deadline - with a total of ten (10) college scholarships awarded for each school year. Awards range from $1,000 to $2,500 each and may be used at any institution of higher education in the US.
All high school students are eligible to apply – classes of 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026. Financial need is NOT considered. The application process is free, quick, and easy.
2023 - 2024 Award Year Fall Deadline: November 1, 2022
A scholarship is a payment made to support a student's education, awarded on the basis of academic or other achievement. Scholarships are only one source of funds to help pay for a students continuing education after high school (others include: work study, loans, financial aid, and grants). At Upland High School we encourage the use of Going Merry to search for scholarships and to complete the Free Application For Financial Aide (FAFSA). To create your free account just click on the symbol:
If it feels too good to be true, it probably is! Here are some “offers” or “opportunities” that may entice you to apply. If you see the following red flags, stop the application process and walk away.
GuaranteesIf you receive some type of guarantee that you will win scholarship money, it is a scam. Nobody representing a legitimate award opportunity will be able to guarantee that you’ll win. In the end, this scam artist likely wants personal information from you.
Unsolicited Scholarship OffersIf you have a cell phone or an email address, you have very likely experienced spam content. As a student, you may get offers via phone, mail, or email, offering you a scholarship. If you did not request information from that provider, be very careful. Keep in mind that scholarships are awarded through an application process. They are not just given out randomly to students.
FeesApplying for legitimate scholarship opportunities is always FREE. The application may cost you time and effort, but it should never cost you money. Even if you find an application that states it is just $5 to apply, do not submit an application. In this scenario, it is very likely that the scammer is trying to get bank account or credit card information from you.
Limited Time OffersLegitimate scholarships have deadlines and can be found within the application guidelines. If you hear from a “provider” that their scholarship offer is only available for a limited time, it’s a scam.
Real scholarship providers do not need to pressure students to apply for their awards. They also want to ensure that applicants have ample time to complete their applications and essays. If you are feeling pressured to apply for an opportunity because you’ve been told it’s a “limited time offer,” do not apply.
Gathering Very Personal InformationDuring the application process, scholarship providers should not be asking for private information, like your bank account, credit card info, or social security number. Applications will very likely ask for your contact info, like your email address or phone number. They may also ask for your street address as well as the school you plan to attend. If you do win a scholarship, it’s likely they will ask for further information from you, specifically as it relates to
EligibilityEvery scholarship opportunity will have eligibility requirements. The scholarship may be open to certain grade levels, or you must be a student currently or about to enroll in an accredited institution. If the eligibility requirements seem open-ended, and literally anyone is able to apply regardless of their student status, it should raise a red flag. It may be helpful, as well, to see if their website or award opportunity lists any previous winners. If the “testimonials” seem unnatural and contrived, it’s definitely a scam.
Don't Call Us, We'll Call YouScholarship providers will always provide contact information in the event that you have questions or concerns. Conversely, scammers will create fake websites claiming to be legitimate scholarships; however, their site will be void of any contact info. If you do come across a scholarship that is questionable, check their site for an address or phone number. Do a quick Google search to see if the address checks out, and call the number to see who – if anyone – answers.
Is It Too Good to Be True?The best rule of thumb to follow? Again, if it seems too good to be true, it likely is! There are millions of award opportunities to apply to; don’t get hung up on thinking a scholarship scam was “the one.” There are also several additional reputable online resources that list scholarship scam guidelines and information. Utilize them to familiarize yourself with the warning signs so that you don’t fall prey to student scams.
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