Financial aid advisor Maria Olson provides these suggestions about getting financial aid faor college.
Students should know to look up the Cost of Attendance (COA) for each school they are considering.
First Generation college students do need a lot of support and they should explore grant-funded programs like EOP, TRiO, ETS and Upward Bound.
In California, students who have DACA, or are otherwise undocumented have the CADAA (CA Dream Act Application) available for them to apply for state financial aid. Students in these categories are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid, unfortunately, so they would not submit a FAFSA.
There is also a separate application in CA for Foster Youth. They would fill this out in addition to the FAFSA or the CADAA.
Students who are eligible to fill out the FAFSA do not need to also apply for CA state aid. FAFSA sends their info to CSAC (the CA Student Aid Commission) for applying for state aid as well as federal. Other states may do this too, but I only know this is the case in CA.
Students can check the status of their Cal Grant awards, or eligibility, by creating their own student account through: https://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/
Also in California, high school students can take advantage of financial aid workshops put on in conjunction with their high schools, CSAC, and local colleges and universities. These workshops are called Cash for College and we just finished our last events for the season. We helps students and parents fill out the FAFSA and CADAA applications, and answer questions.
Our website is also a wealth of information for explaining types of grants and for scholarship search tips:
http://www.csuchico.edu/fa/index.shtml. Students and parents should peruse the Financial Aid website of each school they are planning to apply to. This is a great way to do research to come up with informed questions prior to calling or making an appointment in person.