Financial Aid and Student Loans in California

There’s good news in bad news when comparing college costs in California to the rest of the country. The bad? It’s the 8th most expensive state in the country to go to school, averaging $35,543 per year at four year undergraduate universities. 

The good? California offers tons of opportunities  to make college education more affordable through scholarship opportunities, grants and student loans. 

The less student loans you have upon graduation, the easier it is to settle into your new life in the workforce. At Funding U, we recommend students follow this ultimate checklist for paying for school to help keep their student loan debt in check. 

As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, here’s a rundown of the scholarships, grants, and student loans California has to offer.

What Scholarship Programs Does California Have?

California has many generous scholarship opportunities for those who achieve academically, make a significant impact on their local community, and have other forms of success. There are dozens upon dozens of scholarships available, and prospective students should feel encouraged to seek as many opportunities as possible. The following are four notable California specific scholarships:

College Fee Waiver Program For Veteran Dependents

The College Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependents benefit waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. This program does not cover the expense of books, parking or room and board. There are four plans under which dependents of Veterans may be eligible.

CCNMA Scholarship Fund

The California Chicano News Media Association has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to Latin-x Californians aspiring to be journalists. The scholarships are based on several criteria, including: commitment to the field of journalism, scholastic achievement, community awareness and financial need. Students must be enrolled full time for the entire academic year in which they apply. They must also be a California resident or attend an accredited college or university in California. 

California Dream Act

The California Dream Act awards a scholarship to children of immigrant parents who are in need of financial assistance. To qualify, the applicant must attend a California high school and receive a high school diploma or receive a GED in the state of California. The amount the scholarship provides varies for each applicant, ranging from $500 to full tuition per each semester. This scholarship ensures those who were born inside the United States but have parents who may not have federal legal status inside the country are properly protected and more capable financially to pursue their dreams. 

Golden State Minority Foundation Scholarship

The Golden State Minority Foundation Scholarship is for prospective college or university students that are an ethnic minority, such as Black, Latino or Native American. Eligibility requirements include the applicant must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater and not be employed beyond 28 hours per week. Applicants must also be a current resident of the state of California. The amount provided to those who are accepted varies, and the average amount falls around $2,000 per semester. This scholarship ensures minorities who achieve exceptional educational accomplishments are properly rewarded for their efforts and able to attend the college or university of their choice in an affordable manner. 

What Grant Programs Does California Have?

California offers a very generous grant program for financially disadvantaged prospective students. The Cal Grant Program is broken down into sections, which include the Cal Grant High School Entitlement Award, Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award, Cal Grant Competitive Awards and Cal Grant C Awards.

Cal Grant High School Entitlement Award

The Cal Grant High School Entitlement Award is a way for high school students in the state of California who are in low-income families to receive financial assistance and make college more affordable. There is also a Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement Award for students who have completed a community college program and desire to transfer to a four-year university. 

There are two different types of grants an applicant may qualify for, Grant Type A and Type B. Cal Grant A is for low to middle income students who maintain a 3.0 GPA and are eligible to attend a college or university in California.  Cal Grant B is for low-income students who have between a 2.0 and 3.0 GPA. The amount the grant is worth per semester varies per applicant and depending on whether the applicant is Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B. 

Cal Grant Competitive Award

The Cal Grant Competitive Award is designed for students who are not eligible for a Cal Grant Entitlement Award, but meet all other eligibility requirements and complete a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application (CADAA). There are three different grant types, which depend upon the applicant’s FAFSA information, GPA and education level of his or her parents. 

In general, Grant A is for low to mid-income students who have a 3.0 GPA or greater. Grant B is for applicants who have a 2.0 GPA or greater and are considered low income. Grant C is for low-income applicants who attend an associate’s degree program for a high-demand career. The amount the grant provides ranges from around $1,500 to full tuition, depending on the grant type and cost of tuition for the desired college or university. 

Cal Grant C Award

The Cal Grant C Award is for applicants who plan to pursue an occupational or technical program of at least four months in length. It is specifically for those who may require financial assistance and provides as much as $2,500 per semester. There is no GPA requirement, and there may be an additional amount provided by the state of California to help with the purchase of necessary textbooks, class supplies, etc. 

California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth

The California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth is for prospective college or university students who currently are or once were in the foster care system in the state of California. In fact, individuals who spent even a day in the foster care system and meet all other requirements are eligible for this grant. The grant covers up to $5,000 annually for tuition costs, and the grant can even be used on expenses outside of tuition if desired. Applicants must be under the age of 22, fill out a FAFSA form and complete the Chafee Grant Application process. 

What Student Loan Program Does California Have?

There are no student loan programs for the state of California and therefore prospective college students should instead go through FAFSA (federal student loans) or a private student loan institution. FAFSA provides financial assistance in the form of grants and low cost loans for college for those who meet the requirements. Those who do not qualify or prefer non-government aid should choose a private financial loan provider. 

What Type of Student Loan Should You Get as a California Student?

California Student Loan Programs

There are not any state-specific student loan programs in the state of California. College students must rely on federal loans through FAFSA, receiving financial assistance through a private loan institution or paying out of pocket. In addition to this, prospective students should take advantage of all federal and state scholarships and grant opportunities. 

Federal student loans

Prospective California students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). 

Private co-signed student loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in California

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans in our how it works section.

NOTE: Funding U loan amount availability to residents of the state of California may vary from other states and is subject to change per the requirements of the company’s California lending license #60DBO 98217.  

What schools does Funding U lend to in California?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, check out our FAQ.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in California that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6-year graduation rate. 

Don’t see the school you want to apply to on the list? Begin the application process, and we’ll check if it’s eligible. Find out more about how to determine eligibility on our Who Can Borrow page. 

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
America Evangelical UniversityNoNoNoNo3350
American Jewish UniversityNoNoYesYes6050
Antioch University-Los AngelesNoNoNoNo
Antioch University-Santa BarbaraNoNoNoNo
Art Center College of DesignNoYesYesYes7280
Azusa Pacific UniversityNoNoYesYes6383
Azusa Pacific University CollegeNoNoNoNo2575
Bethesda UniversityNoNoNoNo1838
Biola UniversityNoYesYesYes7387
California Baptist UniversityNoNoYesYes5578
California College of the ArtsNoNoYesYes6084
California Institute of TechnologyYesYesYesYes9298
California Institute of the ArtsNoNoYesYes5690
California Lutheran UniversityNoYesYesYes7685
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis ObispoNoYesYesYes8295
California State Polytechnic University-PomonaNoYesYesYes7186
California State University Maritime AcademyNoNoYesYes6275
California State University-BakersfieldNoNoNoNo4276
California State University-Channel IslandsNoNoYesYes5579
California State University-ChicoNoNoYesYes6684
California State University-Dominguez HillsNoNoNoNo4577
California State University-East BayNoNoNoNo4875
California State University-FresnoNoNoYesYes5481
California State University-FullertonNoNoYesYes6887
California State University-Long BeachNoNoYesYes6988
California State University-Los AngelesNoNoNoNo4879
California State University-Monterey BayNoNoYesYes6079
California State University-NorthridgeNoNoYesYes5480
California State University-SacramentoNoNoYesYes5183
California State University-San BernardinoNoNoYesYes5785
California State University-San MarcosNoNoYesYes5579
California State University-StanislausNoNoYesYes5880
California University of Management and SciencesNoNoNoNo25
Chapman UniversityNoYesYesYes7991
Claremont McKenna CollegeYesYesYesYes9397
Coleman UniversityNoNoYesYes5050
Columbia College HollywoodNoNoYesYes5086
Concordia University-IrvineNoNoYesYes6375
Dominican University of CaliforniaNoYesYesYes7286
Fresno Pacific UniversityNoNoYesYes6679
Harvey Mudd CollegeYesYesYesYes9298
Holy Names UniversityNoNoNoNo4882
Hope International UniversityNoNoNoNo4472
Humboldt State UniversityNoNoYesYes5268
John Paul the Great Catholic UniversityNoNoYesYes6481
La Sierra UniversityNoNoNoNo4575
Laguna College of Art and DesignNoNoYesYes6185
Life Pacific CollegeNoNoNoNo4161
Lincoln UniversityNoYesYesYes7475
Loma Linda UniversityNoNoNoNo
Loyola Marymount UniversityNoYesYesYes8491
Marymount California UniversityNoNoNoNo3363
Menlo CollegeNoNoYesYes5976
Mills CollegeNoYesYesYes7477
Mount Saint Mary's UniversityNoNoYesYes6476
National UniversityNoNoNoNo3657
Notre Dame de Namur UniversityNoNoNoNo4968
Occidental CollegeNoYesYesYes8591
Otis College of Art and DesignNoNoYesYes5780
Pacific Union CollegeNoNoYesYes5568
Pepperdine UniversityNoYesYesYes8390
Pitzer CollegeNoYesYesYes8495
Point Loma Nazarene UniversityNoYesYesYes7789
Pomona CollegeYesYesYesYes9498
Providence Christian CollegeNoNoNoNo3361
Saint Mary's College of CaliforniaNoYesYesYes7786
Samuel Merritt UniversityNoNoNoNo
San Diego Christian CollegeNoNoNoNo4477
San Diego State UniversityNoYesYesYes7489
San Francisco Art InstituteNoNoNoNo4351
San Francisco Conservatory of MusicNoNoYesYes5876
San Francisco State UniversityNoNoYesYes5581
San Jose State UniversityNoNoYesYes6587
Santa Clara UniversityYesYesYesYes9194
Scripps CollegeNoYesYesYes8891
Shepherd UniversityNoNoNoNo
Simpson UniversityNoNoYesYes6068
Soka University of AmericaYesYesYesYes9094
Sonoma State UniversityNoNoYesYes6379
Southern California Institute of ArchitectureNoYesYesYes8586
Stanford UniversityYesYesYesYes9498
SUM Bible College and Theological SeminaryNoNoNoNo3685
The Colburn Conservatory of MusicNoNoNoNo092
The Master's University and SeminaryNoNoYesYes6085
Thomas Aquinas CollegeNoYesYesYes8692
Touro University WorldwideNoNoYesYes5078
University of California-BerkeleyYesYesYesYes9197
University of California-DavisNoYesYesYes8693
University of California-IrvineNoYesYesYes8394
University of California-Los AngelesYesYesYesYes9197
University of California-MercedNoNoYesYes6681
University of California-RiversideNoYesYesYes7589
University of California-San DiegoNoYesYesYes8694
University of California-Santa BarbaraNoYesYesYes8293
University of California-Santa CruzNoYesYesYes7491
University of La VerneNoNoYesYes6979
University of RedlandsNoYesYesYes7482
University of San DiegoNoYesYesYes8090
University of San FranciscoNoYesYesYes7585
University of Southern CaliforniaYesYesYesYes9296
University of the PacificNoYesYesYes7385
University of the WestNoNoNoNo4855
Vanguard University of Southern CaliforniaNoNoYesYes6473
Westmont CollegeNoYesYesYes7583
Whittier CollegeNoNoYesYes6678
William Jessup UniversityNoNoYesYes5973
Woodbury UniversityNoNoYesYes5273
Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad West Coast Talmudical SeminaryNoNoNoNo3876

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