Managing Your College Tuition: How the Cal Grant Can Help

If you’re a student living in California, the Cal Grant could help you pay for your college tuition — so long as you qualify.

Paying for college tuition can be one of the greatest obstacles between you and the art school education that you’ve always wanted. However, seeking financial aid can help ease some of the burden.

The Cal Grant is just one of many financial aid resources available to college students. Unlike the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Cal Grant is a state grant, not a federal grant, and only applies to students living in California. But like the FAFSA, the Cal Grant gives qualified students money for college that they don’t have to pay back.

Regardless of where you live, you should definitely complete the FAFSA, as many financial aid institutions require your FAFSA to determine your eligibility.

Non-California residents can skip ahead to the last section of this post for additional financial aid tips. California residents, don’t go anywhere!

Different Types of Cal Grants

First, you should know that the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) awards the Cal Grant based on financial need. Students—and their families, if applicable—must meet certain income and assets requirements.

Second, there are three types of Cal Grants: Cal Grant A, Cal Grant B, and Cal Grant C. Each Cal Grant offers you a different amount of money for a different amount of time, based on what kind of college or program you’re enrolled in. The money provided can only be used for specific expenses as well. Whether you qualify for one type of Cal Grant or the other depends, again, on your financial need and whether you meet certain requirements.

If you’re going to a technical or vocational school, you’re a candidate for Cal Grant C. If you’re not going to a technical or vocational school, take the quiz below to figure out whether you’d fit into Cal Grant A or B!

You can learn more about Cal Grants here.

Meeting the Cal Grant Requirements

If you haven’t completed your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CDAA) yet, here’s more incentive:

You don’t need a separate application for the Cal Grant if you’ve already turned in your FAFSA or CDAA. Completing one of the two automatically submits you for consideration for the Cal Grant.

Don’t forget that you also have to send an official transcript of your grade point average (GPA) to the FAFSA or CDAA committee!

To make sure you meet the Cal Grant’s other requirements, use this nifty check list.

Other Resources to Help With Paying College Tuition

As we mentioned above, the Cal Grant isn’t the only financial aid resource that can help you manage your college tuition. For example, have you heard of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)? If not, check out our overview of federal, state, and school-funded financial aid.

On the other hand, if you find yourself constantly looking up different financial aid terms, this list of ten important terms can make your life easier.

And there’s more where that came from at Academy of Art University. Visit our frequently asked questions about financial aid page, or browse our grants and scholarships page.


If you’re interested in attending the Academy, please submit your application to start creating your financial aid plan with our Financial Aid Office!

Of course, we understand that such a big commitment can be hard to make. Request detailed information about our programs today to learn what we can offer you.