Grants & scholarships

When most people think about financial aid, what comes to mind may be grants and scholarships, also known as “gift aid.”

Most of the gift aid awarded by UC, the federal government, and the state of California is awarded on the basis of need. Need is determined by the information you provide when you apply for aid, including your expected costs while attending college and your family’s financial resources.

A much smaller portion of gift aid is awarded based on merit – like having a special talent or excelling academically in high school. 

Grants and scholarships are awarded through a variety of programs, including the federal Pell Grant program, the Cal Grant program, the Middle Class Scholarship program and the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan.

Fortunately, you don’t need to file a separate application for every program. To be considered for all UC, state, and federal grants and scholarships, apply for financial aid.

Gift aid is just one part of the financial aid equation. Although gift aid can help cover a portion of your costs, you may need to cover the rest through student loans and earnings from part-time jobs.

What's the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan?

For California students whose annual family income is under $80,000, systemwide tuition and fees will be fully covered by gift aid (grants and scholarships) during your first four years at UC (or two years if you are a transfer student).

Learn more about the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan »

Private scholarships

You may also want to apply for private scholarships. Consult with your high school career center or counselors for help finding scholarship opportunities, or do some research online.

For undocumented students, the Educators for Fair Consideration website is a great resource for finding scholarships.

Did you know?

Last year, over 120,000 UC undergraduates received about $2 billion in gift aid – an average of about $16,000 per student – to help cover tuition and other expenses.

Scholarships by campus

Each campus sets specific selection criteria and requirements. Be sure to review what they are.