Grants and scholarships are often called"gift aid' because they are free money-financial aid that doesn't have to be repaid.

Grants and scholarships can come from the federal government, your state government, your college or career school, or a private or nonprofit organization. Do your research, apply for any grants or scholarships you might be eligible for, and be sure to meet application deadlines!


1. Don't wait until spring of your senior year to start searching! There are many available to students in grades K-11!

2. Use a free scholarship matching service like Fastweb.com

3. Answer all of the optional questions on a scholarship matching web site for about twice as many matches!

4. Check with the Career Center for local scholarships.

5. Apply to EVERY scholarship for which you are eligible. It's a numbers game; it gets easier after your first 6 applications. Essays can be reused and tailored to each new application.


7. Tailor your application to the sponsor's goals. Read and follow instructions carefully.

8. Difficulty writing essays? Record yourself answering the question out loud and transcribe the recording.

9. Personalize your essay and be passionate. Write about something of interest to you. Give examples and be specific.

10. Use a clean email address. Review your Facebook account.

11. Proofread a printed copy of your essay and the application for spelling and grammar errors.

12. Make a copy of your application before mailing it. To help in remembering which scholarships you applied to, it is recommended to keep a file with all of the copies in it to refer to when contacted by the scholarship organization.


www.fafsa.gov is where you go to obtain a PIN (Personal Identification Number), learn more about the FAFSA, including step-by-step instructions, file online and check the status of your FAFSA.

www.calgrants.org If you're a graduating high school senior or recent graduate, meet academic, financial and eligibility requirements and submit two forms by the Cal Grant deadline, you may receive a Cal Grant!

www.csac.ca.gov/dream_act.asp provides information about the California Dream Act and is the portal for the California Dream Act Application for financial aid.

www.finaid.org offers an overall look at financial aid, where to look for it and how to get it.

www.californiacashforcollege.org lists free Cash for College workshops in your area where you and your parents can get help filling out the FAFSA. You may even win an additional $1,000 scholarship at a Cash for College workshop.

www.icanaffordcollege.info for information on California Community Colleges and other kinds of financial aid.

www.csac.ca.gov has loads of information about Cal Grants and other programs available through the California Student Aid Commission.

www.ecmc.org for general information about financing for college and managing a student loan.

www.chafee.csac.ca.gov provides information on this exciting opportunity for foster youth and former foster youth.

www.californiacolleges.edu makes finding and applying to a school in California a no-brainer.

www.scholarshare.com provides valuable information about college savings opportunities.

www.studentaid.ed.gov provides information from the U.S. Department of Education.

www.fastweb.com provides free scholarship and college searches.

www.going2college.org to learn about the college and financial aid resources available in each state.

www.latinocollegedollars.org provides a scholarship directory for latino students.