HANFORD — Financial aid applications for the 2018-19 school year opened in October and College of the Sequoias’ Financial Aid Department will provide Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application assistance at dozens of local high schools and all three COS campuses before the March 2, 2018, Cal Grant deadline.

Low completion rates have sparked the California Student Aid Commission’s “Race to Submit” campaign encouraging friendly competition to increase FAFSA and Dream Act Application completion throughout California.

While federal funds are available after March 2, students must meet that deadline to be eligible for thousands of dollars in California financial aid. Besides meeting the deadline, students must meet income and GPA requirements for a Cal Grant, while federal funds don’t factor GPA.

In 2017, 63 percent of Kings County and 57 percent of Tulare County public high school seniors completed a FAFSA or Dream Act Application and had a GPA submitted by March 2. A little over 50 percent were awarded a Cal Grant.

Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must submit a FAFSA to determine their eligibility for a number of grants, including the Pell Grant, which awards up to $5,920 a year, plus loans and work study.

Students without a Social Security Number or those with a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Social Security Number should submit a California Dream Act Application.

There has been much confusion surrounding the repeal of DACA with people thinking this influences financial aid. It’s a federal program with no influence or bearing on the California Dream Act Application, which was created to provide California financial aid for students meeting the following requirements:

  • Graduated or will graduate from a California high school
  • Has or will have attended a California high school for at least three years, or equivalency
  • Has attended total of three years at a California elementary, secondary, or high school and earned credits in California from a California high school equivalent to three years
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