Forms to apply for a Cal Grant are available in the Financial Aid office in the SSC. (Joseph Espiritu)
Beginning in February, the state of California placed a 30-day delay on Cal Grant requests to cope with the current economic recession. Cal Grants, directed by the California Student Aid Commission, are awards given in the form of monetary grants to students who meet the requirements for financial aid.
According to their Web site, “Cal Grants are one of the smartest ways to get cash for college. For starters, it’s money you don’t have to pay back. And secondly, it’s guaranteed. If you’re a graduating high school senior or recent graduate, meet academic, financial and eligibility requirements and submit two forms by March 2, you are guaranteed a Cal Grant.”
The state is issuing a delay on fronting money for Cal Grants to colleges due to lack of funding, but according to Saddleback College’s Senior Financial Aid Specialist, Ruth Higgins, the state has been able to meet Saddleback’s Cal Grant requests for February.
“The state was able to send us money knowing that this [delay] was going to happen,” Higgins said. “Any subsequent requests, however, will be subjected to the 30-day delay.”
Students who are seeking to apply for Cal Grants must first file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to determine their eligibility. Students are also required to be U.S. citizens or show proof of being an eligible non-citizen in their FAFSA application.
According to Mary Hall, Saddleback College’s Financial Aid Director, the college is not in a panic at this point, as it has been able to disperse the Cal Grant funds to eligible students who have submitted the required forms.
The students who are going to be affected by this delay are those who have either not submitted their files or are new applicants.
“This delay will probably hurt new students who have not completed their files and that the college has not ordered the money for,” said Hall. “So it’s the new Cal Grant winners that are going to probably have a delay to their funding.”
Cal Grants applicants must meet a certain grade-point average among other requirements to be eligible for an award. The state also requires all Cal Grant candidates to show proof of graduating high school, and according to Financial Aid Specialist, Daniel Stachelski, only 11 of the 180 Saddleback College applicants have not submitted proof of eligibility.
“Saddleback College, however, will try and front the money to students who have been approved for Cal Grants should there be a delay from state funding,” said Hall.
Further information about Cal Grants is available from at http://www.csac.ca.gov/.