What Is the California College Promise Grant?
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- The California College Promise Grant means tuition-free college.
- You’ll need to be a California resident to qualify.
- The grant also has income eligibility guidelines.
- It takes about 10 minutes to submit an application for the CCPG.
College is expensive — but grants can save you thousands on a college degree. And the California College Promise Grant (CCPG) is one of the best in the country. The CCPG waives tuition at eligible California community colleges.
But who’s eligible? And how much can the CCPG save you on a two-year degree? Keep reading to learn more about the California College Promise Grant, and then submit your application today.
How Does the California Promise Grant Work? What Does It Cover?
The California Promise Grant covers tuition at dozens of California community colleges. That means tuition-free college if you’re eligible.
Instead of paying $46 per credit, you’ll pay nothing in tuition. If you take 30 credits in a year, you’ll save $1,380. For a 60-credit associate degree, you’ll save $2,760. And there’s no cap on the number of credits you can take.
But keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay for textbooks and cover the cost of fees. Still, it’s a great deal for Californians.
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Who Qualifies for the California College Promise Grant?
You’ll need to be a California resident to qualify for the California grant. That also includes homeless youth and AB540 status applicants. And you’ll have to demonstrate financial need, either through the FAFSA or California’s income standards. Reach out to your prospective community college’s financial aid office to learn more.
To qualify for the California College Promise Grant, you must meet the following criteria:
- Lived in California for at least one year or fall into another eligibility category.
- Demonstrate financial need on the FAFSA or meet income eligibility requirements.
- Meet academic and progress standards to maintain your eligibility.
How to Apply for the California Promise Grant
Applying for the California College Promise Grant is simple — you’ll submit a two-page application, which should take about 10 minutes. You’ll need to provide income information for yourself and your parents or guardians if you're a dependent.
For the 2023-2024 application, you’ll need 2021 tax information. If you don’t qualify by income, you can also qualify if you receive TANF assistance or if you fall into another eligible category. Many schools accept online applications. You can also fill out a paper application to apply for the CCPG.
The list below includes 10 popular California community colleges that let you apply for the Promise Grant directly online. For a full list of participating community colleges, you can check out the California Community Colleges Apply (CCCApply) site.
10 California Community Colleges That Let You Apply Online
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California Promise Grant vs. California Promise Program: What's the Difference?
California supports its college students with many programs. The CA College Promise Grant provides financial aid directly to students. Over 1 million community college students receive grants annually.
In contrast, the CA Promise Program provides funds directly to community colleges, which they can use to fund student support services or offer additional grants to pay for textbooks, transportation, or childcare.
Not every California community college participates in the CCPG program. Check with your school to verify it participates in the program. If it does, you can ask about the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions About the California College Promise Grant
Do you have to pay back the California Promise Grant?
No, you don’t have to pay back the California College Promise Grant. Like other grants, the CCPG covers college costs with no expectation of repayment. However, you can lose the grant if you do not maintain your eligibility.
Can you lose your California Promise Grant?
Yes, you can lose your California promise grant. You’ll need to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and complete more than 50% of your coursework to stay eligible. You can appeal if you experience an accident, change in economic situation, or other extenuating circumstances.
Do all California community colleges let you apply for the promise grant?
No, not every California community college participates in the CA College Promise Grant. You’ll need to check whether your school lets students apply for the grant by reaching out to the financial aid office. If your school does participate, you can submit an application in about 10 minutes.
Page last reviewed: November 14, 2023