Students who hail from middle class families face unique challenges when applying for college financial aid. Often times, their families do not earn enough money to pay the entire amount of tuition. Similarly, their families often earn enough so that they are not eligible for need based financial aid. As such, some states and colleges have created Middle Class Scholarships in order to bridge the financial gap of college attendance for middle class students.
The California Student Aid Commission offers one of the largest student grants to middle class students. It is known as the Middle Class Scholarships. It is open to students from California who plan to study at California State University or a University of California campus. Additionally, the applicant must come from a family where the total income is less than $156,000 per year. The scholarship is available for up to four years.
In order to be eligible for the Middle Class Scholarship, applicant’s must meet a number of different criteria. First, students must be a permanent resident or citizen of the United States. Secondly, the student must be a resident of California. Thirdly, the applicant must intend to attend a state school at one of the several University of California campuses or at a CSU campus. Students must not be in jail, must maintain academic progress, and must have paid all previous loans without default. Lastly, the total family income cannot exceed $156,000.
Additional criteria are also applied. Male students must be registered with the Selective Service Registration. The award is open only to students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree for the first time. Thus, students who already have a B.A. or those who are attending a professional program are not eligible for this scholarship.
In order to apply for the scholarship, students are required to complete a FAFSA application. This application can be completed as early as October 1st but must be completed prior to March 2nd. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. After submitting the FAFSA, students can check their status at this link.
The exact amount of the scholarship varies. Students can receive an award that ranges from 10%-40% of the cost of tuition, provided that their family income falls between $104,001 and $156,000. Thus, the exact amount of the award depends of the cost of tuition at your college, your family’s income, and additional scholarships you may have received. In general, students who earn less than $100,000 receive a 40% tuition reduction. Students whose families earn around $125,000 receive a 25% tuition reduction and students whose families earn $150,000 receive about 10% tuition reduction.
Students will be notified by the California Student Aid Commission if they are selected to receive this award. Students will typically receive this notification via an e-mail to review their MyAwards account. This notification typically occurs in the middle of November. This scholarship has been introduced in phases and the full 40% tuition funding will be phased in for the 2017-2018 school year.