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FAFSA & Financial Aid

Free application for federal student aid (fafsa)

Free application for federal student aid (fafsa)

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a federal form for financial aid that is accepted by most schools. The information you provide will be used to figure the amount your family can afford to contribute toward your education (also known as your EFC: estimated family contribution).
The FAFSA for college attendance beginning Fall of 2021 can be filed beginning on October 1, 2021, using your 2020 tax year information. If your financial or living situation has significantly changed since 2020, you will still be required to use your 2020 information, then follow up with a call to each of your colleges' financial aid offices to explain your situation. You will be asked for documentation.
Financial aid deadlines vary by college, but if you file your FAFSA by December you should be in no danger of missing a deadline. If you are unsure, check your college's website.
Fill out the FAFSA online at
Families wanting to get a preliminary EFC (Estimated Family Contribution) before they are eligible to fill out the FAFSA can use the FAFSA Estimator.


The California Dream Act Application allows students interested in attending eligible California Colleges, Universities and Career Education Programs to apply for state financial aid. This application is unrelated to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


The California College Promise Grant (CCPG) is a state program that waives enrollment fees for qualifying students at California Community Colleges. Financial need is determined by factors such as your parent’s income and household size for dependent students. For independent students, it is the student (and spouse’s) income and household size. Apply by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA) to be considered for the CCPG Fee Waiver and other financial aid. Sustain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and have a cumulative completion rate of more than 50 percent of the coursework you attempt. Drops, withdrawals and failing grades all affect your completion rate.


The Cal Grant is a California-specific financial aid allocation that does not need to be paid back. Cal Grant applicants must apply for the FAFSA or CADAA by the deadline and meet all eligibility, financial, and minimum GPA requirements of either program. Grants are for students attending University of California, California State University or California Community College, or 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 or CADAA 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. 


  • CSS Profile - a few colleges require this financial aid application, in addition to the FAFSA. (Your college will let you know.)