Middle Class Scholarship in California (#scholarships)

If you are headed to either the University of California or California State University systems. you likely would be interested in this new scholarship for 2014-2015. Called the Middle Class Scholarship, it is specifically geared toward families who do not qualify for many other scholarships and grants due to income restrictions.

Typically, I prefer to look at unique scholarships that are more global in nature (as opposed to state-specific ones), but California has a notable percentage of the entire country’s college student population (in a way, for example, that Wyoming does not). So, this is to say, when I point out most scholarships, they will either be:

  1. Large scholarships available to significant numbers of students; or
  2. Unique scholarships available to a small number of students (but where the odds are very good for being awarded).

The Middle Class Scholarship begins in the 2014-2015 school year. It is important to understand that the California Student Aid Commission is the group that gets to decide whether or not you are middle class. I should tell you that, if both you and a spouse work, you may quickly discover that you are not considered in that bracket.

Here are the particulars for this scholarship:

  1. The scholarship is for families who make up to $150,000. That is total family income.
  2. You must be a California resident. This specifically means that you do not qualify solely because you are attending one of the UC or CSU campuses.
  3. You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have AB 540* status.
  4. You must continue to make satisfactory academic progress.
  5. You must not be in default on a student loan.
  6. You must not be incarcerated. The reason why this has come into play is the growing number of online programs that could be a possibility for someone in prison.
  7. If your family makes up to $100,000, you could be eligible for a scholarship of up to 40% of tuition and fees. However, the scholarship is being phased in, so you will definitely want to ask specific questions related to how much. It is being phased in over four years (when it could reach that 40%).
  8. If your family makes between $101,000 and $150,000, you could be eligible for a reduced amount, but no less that 10%.
  9. MCS scholarships are not a set amount and could vary depending on a number of factors.

In order to be awarded a Middle Class Scholarship, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Since you will have to fill out the FAFSA to be awarded any type of financial aid, this is no hardship.

This is the first of what I hope will be other such scholarships geared toward families that have not traditionally qualified for very much in the way of state aid.

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*Go to the CSAC website for AB 540 qualifications.