• Affordable Colleges Online - The website aims to educate so that potential students are aware of their options for obtaining a degree and, most importantly, for paying for one. What are the most affordable options – online study, two-year, four-year, public or private colleges? What financial aid options are available and what pitfalls should you avoid?



Personal expenses (entertainment, laundry, ...)
Fees (activity, registration, lab, gym fees, and special program fees)
Transportation (expenses to and from home, whether commuting or living on campus)
Room and Board (housing and meal plan)
Miscellaneous expenses (sports, fraternity/sorority, clothing, bus fare, phone bills, ...)
Books and supplies (art supplies, calculators, etc.)


529 College Savings Plan

Financial Aid

  • California Cash for College workshops
    The State sponsors California Cash for College workshops in January and February where you'll not only get help completing your FAFSA and other forms, but students can also enter a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship. One scholarship is offered at each workshop held across the state! Visit the website for more information and to find workshops in the bay area.


Net Price Calculator

For International Students


If you do not submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you could miss out on free money and low-cost loans for school. Filling out the application is easier than you think. And it's free!

Complete the FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1, although individual financial aid deadlines can vary by school, state, program of study, and more.

You must complete the FAFSA to qualify for:
  • Federal aid programs — Pell grants, Perkins loans, Stafford Loans, work-study employment
  • State aid programs
  • School aid programs — private grants, need-based scholarships

CSS Profile

There’s a SECOND form you may have to complete in order to qualify for non-Federal financial aid at over 600 universities nationwide.

This is money doled out by certain private colleges themselves… not government funds. And in order to receive any of it, you’ll have to get your hands on the College Scholarship Service Profile.

The CSS Profile is an application distributed by the College Board for scholarships and programs offered by individual schools. And depending on whether or not the school you’re applying to is able to award these types of grants, the CSS Profile is definitely worth your time to fill out, despite a couple of things.

Those being…
  • While the FAFSA form is free to submit, there is a fee to submit the CSS Profile. There is a $9 registration fee, and it will cost $16 per school that you submit the CSS Profile. If you’re eligible, however, you can request a limited number of fee waivers from your high school’s guidance office.
  • Since the CSS Profile is used to hand out private funds, the schools offering them are allowed to consider other factors that the FAFSA form can’t. That means when determining your Expected Family Contribution, the school will be using what we call the “Institutional Methodology.”

That Institutional Methodology includes things like your home equity. FAFSA does not factor your home equity into your assets, which brings your EFC down, but the CSS Profile, on the other hand, does. If you’re looking at schools that take the CSS Profile form and have substantial home equity, you may want to look at doing some planning beforehand to try and minimize the impact that equity will have on your award offer.

The CSS Profile can also investigate other financial information that the FAFSA does not. They can also add supplemental questions to ask about what cars you drive and whatever else they want to ask about to get a true picture of your family’s finances.

Ultimately, though, schools that take a CSS Profile form historically give out more aid then those that don’t. It’s always worthwhile to apply for it – just make sure you know what you’re doing before you go down this road.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

Cost of Attendance is the estimated cost of completing a year of full-time attendance at a college or university. This generally includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

EFC represents what families, at a minimum, will have to kick in for one year of college. It is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by the Department of Education. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.


Financial aid that does not have to be repaid.
Pell - $555 - $5,550
SEOG - $100 - $4,000
Cal Grant A - $4,230 - $10,302
Cal Grant B - $5,701 - $11,853
Cal Grant C - Vocational programs only
EOP Grant - $100 - $1,000
University Grant - Varies by school

CAL Grant Information

CalGrant Awards are state funded monetary grants given to students to help pay for college expenses. These awards do not have to be paid back.
Step 1: Obtain a Cal Grant GPA Verification Form for the 2011-2012 School Year at the Student Aid Commission http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=1177. Complete the Cal Grant Verification Form and sign it at #10 , "Student Certification."
Step 2: Bring the Cal Grant GPA Verification form to Renée Butruce in the Counseling Office for the official verification. The following day, you may pick up the completed form.
Step 3: Mail the form to: California Student Aid Commission, Cal Grant Operations, PO Box 419077, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9077. This form must be postmarked by Friday, March 2, 2012.
Step 4: In addition to the Cal Grant, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must also be completed and filed with the federal processor by March 2nd of each year. The FAFSA can be obtained on-line at the FAFSA website When on the site, obtain a federal personal identification number (PIN) to electronically sign the FAFSA, or download the Pdf. version that can be mailed. If you are mailing a paper copy of the FAFSA (or Cal Grant Verification Form), be sure to make a copy for your records and obtain a Certificate of Mailing at the Post Office, so that you can verify the date that the forms were sent.


Loan Type
Need-Based* & Subsidized?
Interest Rate
Federal government
Subsidized Stafford
Federal government
Unsubsidized Stafford
Federal government
Parent PLUS
Federal government
Private (Alternative)
and State
Banks, colleges,
state agencies
Usually student with
creditworthy parental
Usually higher
than federal

Perkins Loan

  • Up to $5,500 a year, totaling not more than $27,5000 overall.

Subsidized Stafford Loan

  • Up to $3,500 for freshman year

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

  • Up to $5,500 for freshman year minus the amount of your subsidized Stafford loan



Work Study

  • Federal Work Study - financial assistance earned by a student through employment ($1,000 - $4,500)



Other Types of Aid