Grants are one of the smartest ways to cover costs because they don't have to be repaid like a loan. They're simply cash awards you receive to pay for college — as long as you meet eligibility requirements. A large number of UC students are awarded grants through a variety of programs:
Federal Pell Grant
These are need-based grants for low-income undergraduates.
Funded by the State of California and administered by the California Student Aid Commission, Cal Grants provide cash for college.
Available to UC undergraduates who are legal U.S. residents and demonstrate financial need by applying for aid on time.
Like most colleges and universities throughout the country, we use a federal formula to award grants. The calculation is based on financial information you and your parents supply on the FAFSA.
Our goal is to provide enough grant money so you have to work only part-time while you're in school and you can keep loans within reasonable limits.
The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan
The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers UC systemwide fees if you're a California resident, your family's total income is less than $80,000 a year and you qualify for financial aid — and that's just for starters.
Many students qualify for additional grant aid to help pay for books, housing and transportation.
What grants cover
Grants cover a
lot, but not everything.
The cost of attending UC includes fees, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, transportation and personal expenses. This total minus the amount of any need-based grants you get equals something called the net cost -- that's the portion you and your parents have to pay. Some families use a combination of current earnings and savings to cover their share. For many families, though, the combination of savings and earnings isn't enough to cover all their net costs. In these cases, families can explore student and parent educational loans.
The chart below illustrates how four California-resident students with different financial resources met their expenses.
Estimated net cost, 2012-13
|Annual parent income||$20,000||$40,000||$60,000||$80,000|
|Total estimated costs, living on campus||31,700||31,700||31,700||31,700|
|Grant aid (does not have to be repaid)||22,300||21,100||17,000||12,200|
|NET COST TO FAMILY||$9,400||$10,600||$14,700||$19,500|
Meeting the net cost
|Student loan (low interest)||5,000||5,000||5,000||5,000|
From part-time job during school year
From full-time work during summer
|Parents' earnings, savings or loans||0||1,200||5,300||10,100|