Frequently Asked Questions
College is too expensive. How can I afford it?
Never let money stand in the way of your education! To get started, we suggest you visit the Federal Student Aid website to gather more information about the types of aid available to you. If you are undocumented, unfortunately you will not qualify for federal aid BUT Good News! if you plan to attend college in the state of California, you may qualify for state aid through the California Dream Act. You can find out more information by visiting the CSAC website DREAM Act section.
Additionally, there are thousands of SCHOLARSHIPS out there that students let pass them by every year. This is FREE MONEY, so start applying today! California GRANTS are also free money. Qualification depends on your family income and the number of students attending college per household – but you have to apply. Usually, if you believe that you won’t be able to afford college, you probably already qualify financial aid.
There are also LOANS that you OR your parents may receive. Most of them don’t require you to start paying them back until after you graduate college. You must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the GPA Verification Form by March 2 in order to be considered for state and federal aid.
But when applying to colleges, keep in mind that California public universities offer top-notch education at affordable prices. And if you absolutely know that you will not be able to afford 4 years at a university, you can always go the community college route for the first couple years.
Check out our “Resources for Students” page to learn about some Scholarship opportunities!
What is the FAFSA and when is it due?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application that determines if you qualify to receive state and federal aid for any college or university. You must fill out the FAFSA and the GPA Verification form by March 2 in order to be considered for state and federal aid. Though you may still turn in the FAFSA after this priority filing date, there just might not be that much money left for you.
If you are undocumented and plan to attend college in the state of California, you will need to fill out the California Dream Act Application and can find out more information by visiting the California Dream Act section of the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) website.
I’m not sure my family will have financial need. Should I complete the FAFSA?
Yes. Financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of education beyond high school, and to also fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. Some loans and scholarships are available regardless of “need.”*
Do I have to wait till I’m accepted to a college before I can apply for financial aid? Can I receive aid before I’m enrolled?
No, you don’t have to wait till you’re admitted in order to apply, and no, you can’t receive it before you’re actually enrolled at one college/university. You may apply for financial aid any time between January 1 and March 2 of your senior year. However, you must be admitted and enrolled at the college before you can receive any funds.*
* Source: UC Irvine Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships