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Quick Guide to Paying for College

Are there resources to help us pay for college?

You can find financial aid information for specific colleges on the websites of colleges your student is interested in. The following are also resources that can help.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
To apply for financial aid, your student has to fill out the FAFSA or other required forms prior to deadline dates. Colleges determine what type of financial aid your student is entitled to as well as your family’s contribution based on the FAFSA. The FAFSA can be filled out online. An online estimator has been developed to assist families in financial planning for federal student aid.

California Student Aid Commission
The Cal Grant and Cash for College programs provide resources to both help students and their families understand the college application process in California, and pay for college.

I Can Afford College
Learn about financial aid opportunities that can help you attend a California Community College.

ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan
ScholarShare is the state-administered savings program for families to save for future higher education expenses at eligible colleges and universities; vocational, technical and trade schools; and graduate studies. ScholarShare accounts can be opened with as little as $25 and any earnings are tax-free when used for qualified higher education expenses. Family members and friends can make gift contributions to accounts as well. An online College Savings Planning calculator and online webinars are available to help families create a plan for saving for college.

U.S. Department of Education Student Aid on the Web
There are three basic types of federal student aid: grants, loans, and work-study. Grants do not have to be repaid. Sometimes they are referred to as gift aid. Generally, grants are for undergraduate students, and the grant amount is based on the student's financial need, as determined by the information reported on the FAFSA, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.