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Why do I have to reapply for financial aid every year? Where does my work-study go? How do I pay for rent when I move off-campus?


Going to college is affordable, but the numbers behind don't always make sense! We've put together a helpful guide to help you understand financial aid, how to apply for it, and how to budget for all your expenses in college. As always, remember you can contact your college coach if you have any questions!

Applying for Financial Aid

Remember you have to reapply for financial aid every year in order to qualify for financial aid. All schools use the EFC determined by your FAFSA application in order to put together your financial aid packages. If you attend a private school, you may also need to complete your CSS Profile every year.

Understanding Financial Aid

Your college determines your financial need as the difference between your EFC and the total cost of attendance, including tuition, living expenses, and other personal costs. We've created a helpful budget planning tool to help you understand your own costs here.

Types of Financial Aid




Other Options

In addition to financial aid, you can always apply to outside scholarships to help cover the cost of additional expenses. Check out our resource page!


Financial Aid FAQ


These are gift awards provided by the federal government (Pell Grant), the state (Cal Grants) and/or the college. These are generally based on a combination of financial need and merit. No need to pay them back!


Money students borrow from the federal government or their schools. Subsidized loans are need-based and the government pays the interest while you're in college. All loans generally have a 6-month grace period after you graduate before you need to start repayments.


This is another type of gift aid provided by your college, usually based on merit or another qualifier.  You can also apply for other outside scholarships at any point in your college career. No need to pay it back!

The FAFSA and California Dream Act filing period begins in October. Make sure you submit before the priority deadline in March to guarantee you qualify for the most possible funding.

Please check your school's website for specific CSS Profile dates.

FAFSA Application

California Dream Act

CSS Profile

Winter Break is the best time to fill out your financial aid applications! You're free from regular schoolwork and you can ask your family for all the forms you need!



Remember to gather all of your family's tax forms from two years ago. If you think you might be selected for verification, make sure you request the tax transcript from the IRS website as well.

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