Financial Aid/Scholarships for High School Students

General Financial Aid Information

Federal, State, and UC Financial Aid Resources

Student Loans

Information for AB 540/DREAM Students

Scholarship Resources


General Financial Aid Information

There are endless resources online to help you find money for college. Just beware of places that ask you to pay for information and/or ask for your Social Security number up front. The California Student Aid Commission has some resources on how to avoid scholarship scams: Is it a free scholarship? Or a scam? You should also try your local library; many online resources are published in book form (and staying offline when you first get started might be a good idea until you learn how to spot a scam). For libraries on the Dewey Decimal System, look for call number 378 for financial aid books.

For an overview of tax credits and college savings plans, see Tax Benefits from Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of misconceptions about how much colleges charge for tuition. Public colleges (like the UCs) are not necessarily cheaper than private colleges. As of 2011, every college that participates in federal student aid programs must post a “net price calculator” on its website to provide estimated out-of-pocket tuition cost. Search “net price calculator” on the college website to find out how much you are expected to pay to help you decide whether the college is affordable.

Back to Top


Federal, State, and UC Financial Aid Resources

Back to Top


FAFSA4caster

Federal Student Aid (the people who brought you the ever confusing FAFSA form) has launched FAFSA4caster to help students and parents get an early start on the financial aid process by providing an estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid.

Return to Financial Aid Resources Menu / Back to Top


FAFSA Workshops

Need help with filling out FAFSA? Sign up for one of the FREE California Cash for College workshops near you to get assistance on filling out your FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form. Workshops are available from January to the March 2 priority deadline.

Return to Financial Aid Resources Menu / Back to Top


Paying for UC

For comprehensive financial aid information directly from the UCs, including different types of financial aid available and ways to control cost, visit Paying for UC.

Return to Financial Aid Resources Menu / Back to Top


UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan

Under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, freshman students whose family income is below $80,000 will receive enough scholarships and grants to fully cover their UC fees for the first 4 years of college. But keep in mind that the expensive part of an UC education is not the fees but the housing and everything else. See the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan for more information.

Return to Financial Aid Resources Menu / Back to Top


State and Federal Financial Aid Publications

Below are financial aid publications from the state of California and the federal government that will walk you through the basics:

Return to Financial Aid Resources Menu / Back to Top


Student Loans

Carefully consider your financial situation and take the time to apply for scholarships before taking out student loans. Be wary of the assumption that using loans to pay for college is the norm and that everything will work out. The government and colleges are not taking the time to educate you on how to manage your money or explain how crushing student loan debt could ruin your life. Student loans are too easy to come by and the interests add up too quickly (especially for unsubsidized or private loans). Student loans will follow you for life and not to be taken lightly (you will carry the debt until you die because the loans typically cannot be discharged through bankruptcy).

There are resources out there to help though, you just have to look (and beware of scams). One such resource is the Jewish Free Loan Association’s Student Loans Program, which offers interest-free loans to students of all faiths in the Greater Los Angeles area enrolled in technical, vocational, and trade school, and undergraduate or graduate education.

Back to Top


Information for AB 540/DREAM Students

California has passed legislation to provide state and UC financial aid to AB 540/DREAM students. For more information, see California Dream Act on the UC website. Additionally, qualifying AB 540/DREAM students may borrow money through the California DREAM Loan Program to cover any financial aid gap.

ScholarshipsA-Z maintains a pretty comprehensive list of scholarships for AB 540 students. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard of California Congressional District 34 puts out a Student Resource Guide that includes several AB 540 scholarships. MALDEF publishes Scholarship Resources that include a Scholarship Resource Guide with AB 540 scholarships. The Chicano Organizing & Research in Education (CORE) offers a Resources page that also includes some scholarships. Latino College Dollars maintains a database of scholarships that are available to Latino college students that includes scholarships without citizenship/residency requirements. Educators For Fair Consideration (E4FC) puts out a list of scholarships available for immigrant students that don’t have U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residency. AffordableColleges.com maintains a short list of scholarships and resources for undocumented students.

Dr. Rebecca Joseph of Get Me To College regularly updates her list of AB540/Dreamer Friendly Colleges. It’s a great place to start if you are considering private or out-of-state colleges.

Back to Top


Scholarship Resources

The search sites below have been vetted by high school and/or independent counselors I know. Keep in mind that no matter how legitimate the search sites are, they cannot keep out fraudsters 100% of the time. Take caution when you apply for scholarships and look around online to verify the legitimacy of the organizations before you submit your personal information. For tips on avoiding scams, see the General Financial Aid Information above.

Back to Top