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February 27, 2008 > Cash for college

Cash for college

Submitted By Cynthia Smith

The California Student Aid Commission and California Cash for College, announced on Wednesday, Feb. 20, that the Sunday, March 2, deadline is fast approaching for high school seniors to apply for a Cal Grant - state-funded grants to help pay for college or career/technical school expenses that do not have to be paid back. Cal Grants are guaranteed for all qualified students who meet eligibility requirements and apply by the March 2 application deadline. With a Cal Grant, students can be awarded up to $9,700 a year to pay for college or career/technical school expenses.

"Cal Grants offer California students the financial assistance to continue their education beyond high school, giving them the opportunity for a better future," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. "We want to encourage all eligible students to apply for a Cal Grant by the March 2 deadline, so that cost is no longer a barrier to pursuing a post-secondary education in the state of California."

Students, recent graduates and families can get help applying for a Cal Grant and other financial aid at free local Cash for College workshops offered throughout the state through March 2. At the workshops, applicants will receive step-by-step assistance to complete the required financial aid forms. A $1,000 scholarship is offered at each workshop as an incentive for students to apply for a Cal Grant before the March 2 deadline. The scholarship is made possible through the generosity of the College Access Foundation.

To apply for a Cal Grant, students must fill out and submit two forms - a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Cal Grant GPA Verification form - by the March 2 deadline. Because this year's deadline falls on a Sunday, forms postmarked by Monday, March 3 will be accepted. Other financial and academic eligibility requirements apply.

For help completing the FAFSA, students and families can visit www.calgrants.org to locate a Cash for College workshop in their area, or call (888) 224-7268. In addition, the Commission's telephone staff will be available for extended hours through Friday, Feb. 29, from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. to answer questions and help callers through the Cal Grant application process.

"It's our mission to make education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians," said Diana Fuentes-Michel, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission. "These next two weeks will be critical in spreading the word about Cal Grants, to ensure that all eligible students are aware of - and apply for - a Cal Grant by the March 2 deadline."

With more than 370,000 California high school students projected to graduate in 2008, the California Student Aid Commission is urging all students, especially those from low- and moderate-income families, to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for a Cal Grant. Last year, the Commission offered approximately $800 million in Cal Grants to more than 299,000 eligible students throughout the state. Cal Grants can be used to attend all California public community colleges and universities, and most private, independent colleges and universities and career and technical schools.

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