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The California College Guide : A primer on making choices--and making arrangements--for a college education. : Guide to Financial Aid

May 19, 1991

You don't have to be from a low-income family to qualify for student aid, but for most forms of aid you must have "financial need." The "need" is the difference between the cost of attending a particular college and what you and your family are expected to contribute.

For the most current information on applying for aid, talk to the financial aid officer at the school you are thinking of attending. Your high school counselor is another good source.

The "Financial Aid For Students Workbook" is available free from school counselors, public libraries and college campuses each October. It is updated every year by the California Student Aid Commission and provides information on how to apply for the many sources of financial aid that exist on the federal and state levels.

Listed below are some major sources of financial aid:


Federal: Federal government programs include Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Parent Loans to Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS), as well as college work-study programs. Money available to individuals can vary from $200 to $4,000 per year, depending on the program.

California: California offers several aid programs through the Student Aid Commission in Sacramento. These include several kinds of Cal Grants for undergraduate students, the state work-study program, special aid programs for students pursuing teaching careers and other scholarship and student loan programs.

The Cal Grants are the largest group of state-funded grants. They cover different costs, such as: tuition and fees, a living allowance and the cost of some tuition and fees, and tuition and training costs for vocational or trade school students. A Student Aid Application for California (called the SAAC) may be obtained in November from a school counselor or library. It should be filed between Jan. 1 and March 2. Results are announced in May or June.

Individual grants vary from $300 to $5,250 per year, plus up to $1,400 for housing. The total pool of Cal Grant money available for the 1990-91 school year was $160 million. It was awarded to 77,000 students.

Campus-based: Schools provide aid in the form of scholarships, grants, employment and loans.

Community-based or private: Scholarships are primarily offered through community organizations, foundations and business and service organizations, such as the local Rotary club or sometimes a parent's place of employment.

Outside aid: These programs include military aid, veterans benefits, vocational rehabilitation assistance and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).


Federal Student Financial Aid Information Center: (800) 333-4636

Information provided includes where to find federal financial aid as well as loans and scholarships geared for specific professions. Also available free by mail is the center's pamphlet, "The Student Guide."

Federal Student Aid Processing Center: (301) 722-9200

This Maryland agency will do a free status check on a federal Pell Grant application. Processing an application takes from 4 to 6 weeks.

Student Aid Commission Central Inquiry Unit (California Financial Aid): (916) 445-0880

The center answers questions about Cal Grants, student loans and other state financial aid. "Financial Aid for Students Workbook" is available free by mail.


The College Cost Book 1991. The College Board, $13.95

Barron's Dollars for Scholars. Marguerite J. Dennis, Barron's, $12.95

Winning Money for College: The High School Student's Guide to Scholarship Contests. By Alan Deutschman, Peterson's Guides, $8.95 in paperback.

Financial Aids for Higher Education: A Catalog for Undergraduates. William C. Brown, $45.

Peterson's College Money Handbook 1991. Peterson's Guides, $19.95 in paperback.

Directory of Financial Aids for Minorities. Gail Ann Schlacter and Sandra E. Goldstein, Reference Service Press, $45.

Directory of Financial Aids for Women. Gail Ann Schlacter and Sandra E. Goldstein, Reference Service Press, $45.

Annual Register of Grant Support: A Directory of Funding Sources. Wilmette, Ill., National Register Publishing 1990, $130.

SOURCE: California Student Aid Commission, Sacramento

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