Cal Grant

Cal Grant is a tuition-specific, state entitlement award, funded by California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). You must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, financial need, and be a resident of California.

The following are Cal Grant award types PLNU participates in:

  • Cal Grant A Entitlement
  • Cal Grant A Transfer Entitlement
  • Cal Grant A Competitive
  • Cal Grant B Entitlement
  • Cal Grant B Transfer Entitlement
  • Cal Grant B Competitive

CSAC notifies new Cal Grant recipients whether they have been awarded an Entitlement or Competitive Cal Grant. Before a Cal Grant award can be added to a student's Financial Aid Award Letter at PLNU, the Student Financial Services Office must review the data provided by the student and parents on the FAFSA to make sure that the student is financially eligible.

Applying for the Cal Grant

A student applies for a Cal Grant by submitting both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a verified grade point average (GPA) on or before the statutory deadline. For most students, the deadline is March 2. Receipt of both the FAFSA record and the GPA, by CSAC, constitutes a complete Cal Grant application.

Read more about the FAFSA.

GPA Verification

At PLNU, a high school senior or a student with 24 or less units of college credit, the GPA verification needs to be requested of and submitted by the student’s high school. For an applicant who is a college student with more than 24 units (36 quarter hours) of college credit, the GPA verification needs to be requested of and submitted by their current college/university which may be PLNU or the college from which the student is transferring from.

Test scores can be submitted in lieu of a GPA in certain circumstances. This would most likely apply to students that have been homeschooled. The acceptable tests are the General Educational Development Test (GED), the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT I). CSAC does not accept the SAT II subject tests or the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE).

See how Verification works.

Renewal Cal Grants

Renewal Cal Grant recipients must requalify under the financial income ceilings each subsequent academic year. In addition, renewal Cal Grant recipients must maintain at least $1,500 of need (based on the FAFSA) for each subsequent academic year. Students may renew a Cal Grant award for up to four academic years (eight semesters). Submission of a verified GPA is not required to renew a Cal Grant. Students who received a Cal Grant at another institution and are transferring to PLNU will need to submit a school change with CSAC. This can be done at webgrants4students.org, completing a Form G-10 (Grant Record Change Form for Schools), or contacting CSAC at (888) 224-7268.

General Cal Grants Eligibility

To be eligible for and receive payment for any Cal Grant award, a student must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
  • Be a California resident
  • Attend a Cal Grant participating California college or university
  • Demonstrate financial need at his or her college
  •  Have family income and assets below the ceilings
  • Have met U.S. Selective Service requirements
  • Be in a program leading to an undergraduate degree, certificate or first professional degree
  • Not have a bachelor’s or professional degree before receiving a Cal Grant (except for extended Cal Grant A or B awards, teaching credential programs)
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Not owe a refund on any state or federal educational grant
  • Not be in default on any student loan
  • Not be incarcerated

Initial eligibility for a Cal Grant award is based on information from the student’s FAFSA.

California Residency for Cal Grant Eligibility

California residency for unmarried students who are not 18 years of age by the application deadline cycle for which they are applying, is based on the residency status of a parent or non-parent adult responsible for their direct care and control. To qualify as a non-parent adult, he or she must have had continuous direct care and control of the student for at least two years prior to the application cycle deadline for which they are applying. Unmarried students under 18 are legal California residents if:

  • a parent is a legal California resident at the application deadline for which the student is applying, or
  • the student has lived for two years with a responsible non-parent adult and that adult is a legal California resident at the application cycle deadline for which he/she is applying.

For example, students whose parents are living overseas are considered California residents if they are minors and have been living under the direct care and control of a California resident for at least two years as of the application cycle deadline for which they are applying or their parents have maintained their California residency during their absence from the state.

All married students, regardless of their age, and all unmarried students 18 or older must establish their own residency. If they will be 18 on or before the application cycle deadline for which they are applying, they must be a legal California resident at the application deadline for which they are applying. They also must be in the United States legally and be able to establish U.S. residency based on their status with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cal Grant A

Cal Grant A benefits provide for tuition and fees at PLNU. Award amounts are determined through the state budget process and may change annually. There are three Cal Grant A awards: Entitlement, Transfer Entitlement and Competitive.

Cal Grant A Entitlement Award

Every graduating high school senior who has at least a 3.0 high school GPA, meets all the Cal Grant requirements, is a California resident at the time of graduation, and applies by March 2 either the year that he/she graduates or the following year is guaranteed a Cal Grant A Entitlement award.

Cal Grant A California Community College Transfer Entitlement Award

High school seniors who graduate after June 30, 2000, attend a California Community College, and then transfer to a qualifying baccalaureate degree-granting institution may be eligible for a California Community College Transfer Entitlement Cal Grant A. Eligible students must have at least a 2.4 community college GPA (of at least 24 semester units, or the equivalent, of degree credit), meet the financial and eligibility requirements, be under age 24 at the time of transfer, and apply by March 2.

Cal Grant A Competitive Award

Other students who meet all the Cal Grant eligibility requirements and who have at least a 3.0 GPA may compete for a Cal Grant A Competitive award. Selection is based on a composite score that takes into consideration family income, parents’ educational level, GPA, time out of high school, high school performance standards and other factors, such as whether the student comes from a single-parent household or is a former foster youth.

Cal Grant B

Cal Grant B is for students with exceptionally high need (based on the FAFSA). The award for most first-year students covers living expenses, books, supplies and transportation, but not tuition and fees. When renewed or awarded beyond the freshman year, the grant covers tuition and fees. The tuition and fee award amounts are the same as those for Cal Grant A. Award amounts are determined through the state budget process and may change annually. A very limited number of new recipients may receive a Cal Grant B for tuition and fees, in addition to an access grant, for their first year. These students have exceptional financial need and have been determined to be among the most disadvantaged. Coursework must be for at least one academic year, and students must be enrolled at least half time. There are three Cal Grant B awards: Entitlement, Transfer Entitlement, and Competitive.

Cal Grant B Entitlement Award

Every graduating high school senior who has at least a 2.0 high school GPA, meets all Cal Grant requirements, is a California resident at the time of graduation, and applies by March 2 either the year that he/she graduates or the following year is guaranteed a Cal Grant B Entitlement award.

Cal Grant B California Community College Transfer Entitlement Award

High school seniors who graduate after June 30, 2000, attend a California Community College and then transfer to a qualifying baccalaureate-degree granting institution may be eligible for a California Community College Transfer Entitlement Cal Grant B. Eligible students must have at least a 2.4 community college GPA (of at least 24 semester units, or the equivalent, of degree credit), meet the financial and eligibility requirements, be under age 24 at the time of transfer and apply by March 2.

Cal Grant B Competitive Award

Other students who meet all the Cal Grant eligibility requirements and who have at least a 2.0 GPA may compete for a Cal Grant B Competitive award. Selection is based on a composite score that takes into consideration family income, parents’ educational level, GPA, time out of high school, high school performance standards and other factors, such as whether the student comes from a single-parent household or is a former foster youth.

California Dream Act

The California Dream Act of 2011 allows undocumented and documented students who meet the requirements to apply for and receive CA state financial aid.  

Who is Eligible?

  • Students who have attended a CA high school for a minimum of three years
  • Students who graduate from a CA high school or pass the CA High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) or get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
  • Students who are enrolled at an accredited and qualified CA college or university
  • Fill out an affidavit to legalize immigration status as soon as eligible

Students can apply online for a Cal Grant and other state aid using the CA Student Aid Commission's secure CA Dream Act Application at caldreamact.org. Apply for a Cal Grant by March 2.  

Your CA Dream Act application information is not shared with federal databases. Dream Act student and parent information is protected by the same privacy and information security laws and safeguards as all other Cal Grant Applicants.


Most of this information is extracted from the most current California Grant Manual (last published September 2004). For more information regarding California State aid and for income and asset ceilings, please visit the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website at csac.ca.gov or calgrants.org. CSAC administers the Cal Grant and other financial aid programs. Each program has specific eligibility requirements, award amounts, and selection requirements. 

Federal and State Grants

Federal Grants

Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant assists undergraduate students who have high financial need. Award amounts are based on the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and enrollment status.

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

SEOG is a “campus-based” award for undergraduate students receiving Pell Grant. Because funding is limited, not all eligible students will receive a SEOG award.

State Grants

Byrd Scholarship

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships recognize exceptional high school students who show promise of continued academic excellence in college. They are renewable for up to four years of postsecondary study at any accredited U.S. college. The scholarship award amount is $1,500. Byrd Scholarship awards are $1,500 for the academic year. This program is federally funded and subject to annual funding review by Congress.

The process indicated below is specific to California. If you are a resident of another state, please check with your state education agency.  

CSAC sends applications to public and private high schools each year in February.  Participating schools screen applications and may nominate up to two students. Deadlines may vary at each school, but all nominations must be postmarked to CSAC by May 4. CSAC reviews all nominations, ranks and selects participants and notifies the nominees of their status in June. This scholarship is merit-based so the FAFSA is not required.

Checks are disbursed by the Student Financial Services Office directly to the student. Like all other merit-based awards, the Byrd Scholarship is treated as need-based aid if the student’s financial aid package includes any form of federal need-based aid or a Cal Grant.

Chafee Grant

The California Chafee Grant Program gives money to current or former foster youth to use for career and technical training, or college courses. The grant may be used to help with living expenses.

To qualify, the student must:

  • Be a current or former foster youth and not have reached age 22 as of July 1 of the award year
  • The court must have established dependency of student when they were between the ages of 16 and 19. The California Department of Social
  • Services will verify your foster youth eligibility status. An assigned social worker should submit a Foster Care Eligibility Form, on behalf of the student.
  • Have financial need. The school for which the student plans to or is attending must submit a Needs Analysis Report, on behalf of the student.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible career or technical school or college
  • Be in a program that is at least one year long
  • Be enrolled at least half-time
  • Comply with PLNU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

To apply, the student must submit the following two forms either via online or paper application:

If the student prefers, they may print and submit a paper version of the Chafee Grant Application (paper version) and complete the paper FAFSA. The student can download the FAFSA at federalstudentaid.ed.gov or call toll free (800) 433-3243 to have one mailed to the student. If the student does not have a social security number or are an undocumented student, contact CSAC for assistance.

The Chafee Grant may be renewed through the student’s 23rd birthday. To renew the Chafee Grant, the student needs to complete the FAFSA but does not need to submit another Chafee Grant application.

The Chafee Grant is federally and state funded and is subject to the availability of funds each year.

Child Development Grant

Each year outstanding college students who are pursuing child development permits at the teacher, site supervisor or program director level receive these grants to help with their college costs. Students at two-year colleges may receive $1,000 per academic year for up to two years; those attending four-year colleges may receive $2,000 per academic year for up to two years. The maximum benefit is $6,000.

In return, participants must work full time at an eligible California children’s center for one year for each year they receive grant funds. To be eligible, students must attend a California Community College or public or independent four-year college at least half time and take courses leading to a child development permit.

To apply, students must file a FAFSA and complete a Child Development Teacher and Supervisor Program application. The application deadline is June 1. Colleges must recommend applicants and may nominate as many as they wish. CSAC selects participants based on financial need and academic achievement and notifies all applicants of their status in August. This program is federally funded and subject to the availability of federal resources each year.

The Child Development Grant Program is a need-based grant designed to encourage students to enter the field of child care and development, in a licensed children’s center. Students who plan to enroll at least half-time in coursework leading to a Child Development Permit as teacher, master teacher, site supervisor, or program director are eligible to apply through PLNU. To receive funding, students must sign a Service Commitment Agreement stating that they will provide one year of full-time service in a licensed children’s center for each year they receive the grant.

Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents’ Grant

Grants are available for dependents and spouses of California law enforcement officers who were killed or totally (100%) disabled in the line of duty. Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents (LEPD) Grants are need-based and may be used to attend any California postsecondary school accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Grants range from $100 to $11,259 a year, for up to four years. Students who receive an LEPD award may also receive a Cal Grant or any other grant or college fee waiver if they are eligible. Awards for students with Cal Grants will match the amount of their Cal Grant award.

Eligible law enforcement officers include peace officers (highway patrol, marshals, sheriffs, police officers), employees of the California Department of Corrections and the California Youth Authority, and permanent full-time firefighters employed by counties, cities, districts and other state political subdivisions.

To apply, students must file the FAFSA and an LEPD application (with applicable documents). Applications are available from CSAC or may be downloaded from CSAC's website. Applications are accepted throughout the school year.

National Guard Education Assistance Award Program

The California National Guard Education Assistance Award Program (CNG EAAP) is a state-funded program designed to provide an educational incentive to improve skills, competencies, and abilities for up to 1,000 service members who remain active in the National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia. Participants can receive up to the amount of the Cal Grant A award for attending the University of California or the California State University, up to the Cal Grant B award for attending a community college, up to the Cal Grant A amount for a recipient attending a non-public institution, or up to the Cal Grant A award plus $500 for books and supplies for graduate studies.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Is an active member of, and has served two (2) years in the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia;
  • Agrees to remain an active member in the California National Guard, the State Military Reserve, or the Naval Militia throughout the participation period in the CNG EAAP;
  • Agrees to use the award to obtain a certificate, degree, or diploma that is currently not held;
  • Has been accepted or registered at, or enrolled in, a qualifying institution;
  • Agrees to maintain enrollment in at least three (3) academic units per semester, or the equivalent, at a qualifying institution;
  • Agrees to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in a qualifying institution; and
  • Is a resident of California for at least one year immediately preceding the date of determination. 

How to Apply:
Applicants must submit an application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to the application deadline date of January 22, 2010. Applications will be processed, verified, and awardees selected.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) helps students to pay tuition and mandatory fees. In addition, Voc Rehab can sometimes be used to help pay for books. Award amounts are based on information provided by the student to the Student Financial Services (SFS) Office and must be verified by the issuing agency. If the student has filed a FAFSA, Voc Rehab is treated as need-based aid.  This means that if the student is receiving other federal, state or institutional need-based aid, Voc Rehab may cause other aid to be reduced or cancelled to avoid the student from being funded in excess of demonstrated financial need.

Institutional Grants

Point Loma Forward Grant 

The Point Loma Forward Grant (Need Grant) is awarded to students with financial need and who meet all eligibility requirements. To be considered, the student must file a FAFSA. The student must be packaged with all forms of need-based aid before being packaged with a Point Loma Forward Grant. Students may be eligible for a Point Loma Forward Grant up to $5,000. *Please Note: Student athletes receiving an athletic scholarship are not eligible to receive a Point Loma Forward Grant.

Point Loma Community Grant

The Point Loma Community Grant is awarded to students with financial need who do not qualify for an academic scholarship. To be considered, the student must file a FAFSA. The student must be packaged with all forms of need-based aid before being packaged with a Point Loma Community Grant.  Students may be eligible for a Point Loma Community Grant up to $5,000. *Please Note: Student athletes receiving an athletic scholarship are not eligible to receive a Point Loma Community Grant.

Church Scholarship, Nazarene Grant-in-Aid, and District Grants

The Nazarene Matching Grant program is for Nazarene students from the Southwest Educational Region of the Church of the Nazarene (#9), which is comprised of the following Districts:  Anaheim, Arizona, Central California, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Northern California, Sacramento, Southern California, SW Latin American, and Western Latin American.

The program consists of three awards: the Church Scholarship, the Nazarene Grant-in-Aid, and a District Grant. To receive these three awards, the student’s home Nazarene church must send PLNU a Church Scholarship check (up to $250 per year). PLNU matches this with the Nazarene Grant-in-Aid (up to $250 per year) and also applies the appropriate District Grant (amounts vary). A student whose home Nazarene church does not participate in the matching grant program may still be able to receive District Grant funds if the church’s pastor sends a written request to the Student Financial Services (SFS) Office on church letterhead.

For students living on-campus, these three awards can be used to help pay tuition and mandatory fees or on-campus room and board charges. For students living off-campus, the awards are restricted to tuition and fees. Neither the Church Scholarship nor the Nazarene Grant-in-Aid can be refunded to the student. However, for off-campus students whose total financial aid exceeds semester charges, the student may use District Grant funds to purchase meal tickets, provided that a FAFSA has been filed and the student demonstrates remaining financial need.

Students may receive the Church Scholarship, Nazarene Grant-in-Aid and District Grant during the fall and spring semesters only, for up to ten regular semesters. Full-time enrollment (12 units or more per semester) is required through the end of the Refund Period.

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the church and request that it send the Church Scholarship check to PLNU. If the church does not send the money, the Church Scholarship, Nazarene Grant-in-Aid, and District Grant will be removed from the student’s financial aid package.

The student should contact the church as early as possible during the academic year to find out if there are any special eligibility requirements (i.e., a minimum period of church attendance, church involvement, etc.) or if it requires submission of an application form.

Associated Student Body (ASB) and Resident Assistants (RA)

Students who serve as officers in ASB or Resident Assistants are awarded stipends for their service and treated as Financial Aid. Both ASB and RA awards are treated as need-based if the student’s financial aid package includes any form of federal or state need-based aid. This means that an ASB or RA award may have to be reduced or in rare cases, canceled to prevent the student from being funded in excess of financial need.

RA awards are based off the maximum meal per-week plan. Please note that if the student changes to a lesser meal plan, the difference may not be refunded.

The contact person for ASB awards is the Director of Community Life. The contact person for Resident Assistantships is the Associate Dean of Residential Life.

Departmental Awards

Each year, various academic departments award a limited number of departmental scholarships to selected students. Students should contact their academic department for applications and deadlines. Students in their freshman year are not eligible for these awards.

Tuition Discounts

Pastor or Missionary Child Discounts for Dependent Students

A student is "dependent" if each of the following statements is true:

  • The student was born after January 1, 1993
  • The student will be working on a B.A. or B.S. Degree
  • The student is not married
  • The student does not have any children
  • The student is not a veteran of the U.S. Armed forces

Missionary Child Discount

The Missionary Child Discount provides a percentage discount on tuition charges for dependent children of Nazarene and non-Nazarene full-time missionaries. This includes U.S. citizens whose parents are assigned outside the United States as missionaries, educators, or General Board appointees, and foreign nationals whose parents are appointed as missionaries outside of their home country or who are assigned by the General Board. To be eligible for this discount, the student must qualify as a "dependent" student and be enrolled full-time (12 units or more) through the end of the Refund Period.

Pastor’s Child Discount

The Pastor’s Child Discount provides a percentage discount on tuition charges for children of full-time career pastors (senior pastor, licensed or ordained pastoral position). To be eligible for this discount, the student must qualify as a "dependent" student.

A student is “dependent” if each of the following statements is true:

  • The student is under 24 years of age in the year the discount is being received.
  • The student will be working on a B.A. or B.S. Degree.
  • The student is not married.
  • The student does not have any children.
  • The student is not a veteran of the U.S. Armed forces

Download the Application for the Pastor or Missionary Child Discount and submit to Student Financial Services at sfs@pointloma.edu. For questions, contact the Student Financial Services Office at (619) 849-2538.