The term “grants” generally refers to money awarded by state or federal governments. Usually based on need, grants do not have to be paid back unless you drop out of school.

Here are the most important ones:

Chafee Grant for Foster Youth: This grant is only for foster youth. CLICK HERE for more information.

Cal Grants: Pays for tuition at 4-year universities and can provide $1,650 for books and living expenses for community college students. Cal Grants can also be used for books, tools and equipment for Career Technical Education programs at both community colleges and private colleges.

  • To apply: by March 2 (If a student misses this deadline, community college students can apply by September 2 for Cal Grant Competitive awards, but these are extremely limited.)

Federal Pell Grant: Up to $5,815 for the 2016-2017 school year. Award amounts are based on your financial need and how many classes you take. More information about the Pell Grant and other federal grants is available at

  • To apply: Complete the FAFSA