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Financial Aid

The application form for all financial aid awards administered by the GWC Financial Aid Office is the FAFSA.  The FAFSA is an online application that you both complete and submit online to the United States Department of Education. FAFSA Worksheets  are available in the Financial Aid Office to help guide you through this process.  A few programs may require you to submit a secondary application form in addition to the FAFSA.

Federal Pell Grant: A Federal grant for undergraduate students. The award is based upon the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (determined by the FAFSA) and is prorated to the number of units a student is enrolled in or completes.

Federal SEOG: The Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant for undergraduates with exceptional financial need.  Funds are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cal Grants: State grants for undergraduate students. Students must submit their FAFSA by March 2nd to be considered for a Cal Grant for the following academic year. The State of California awards these grants to students through the GWC Financial Aid Office on an entitlement basis and also on a competitive basis. If the student has not completed 24 degree-applicable units within the Coast Community College District, then the student must have their high school GPA verification form submitted to the State of California by their high school by March 2nd.

Cal Grant A awards assist low and middle-income students with tuition/fee costs and are made on the basis of need and grade point average. Students who plan to enroll at a community college before transferring to a four-year college or university may apply for a community college reserve grant through Cal Grant A.

Cal Grant B awards assist very low income, first-year students with living expenses, books, supplies, transportation, and other non-tuition costs. (Renewals may also cover tuition/fee costs.)

Cal Grant C awards assist low and middle-income vocational students with tuition and training costs. Recipients must be in a program of study that is four months to two years in duration, at a vocational school, community college, or independent college

Chafee Grant: A grant that is only available to students who were foster youth.  The grant pays up to $5,000.You may apply at: Students who are eligible for a Chafee Grant should also contact the EOPS office to learn more about qualifying for the Guardian Scholarship Program

Federal Work-Study: The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is designed to provide eligible students who have financial need an opportunity to earn a part of their educational expenses through work.  Most of the FWS work is done on the GWC campus, making it easier for students who have transportation issues or difficulty scheduling classes around a demanding job.  FWS funds are very limited and awarded on a first-come first served basis to students with the lowest EFCs who have indicated on their FAFSA a desire to work.

Direct (Stafford) Student Loan: This is a loan and must be repaid. The loan is available in both subsidized and unsubsidized forms. Entrance and exit counseling is required.  You must complete and submit a FAFSA, and complete any required documents.   Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW): Available only to California residents attending a California Community College. The BOGFW will waive the per-unit enrollment fees for all qualified applicants. The BOGFW does not waive any other college fees, which you must pay. If not paid, you will be dropped from your classes.

Dream Act: AB540 students who meet the qualifications will be exempt from paying nonresident tuition and have the opportunity to qualify for a Cal Grant. Please visit the following website for additional information, and click on California Dream Act

Rights and Responsibilities of Students: All students are entitled to receive equitable treatment in the awarding of financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to report any changes in his/her financial or academic status. All financial aid recipients are expected to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress or they will lose their financial aid eligibility. Please read the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy on our webpage.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Parents’ Contribution: The primary responsibility for assisting students with the cost of a post-secondary education lies with the student and often times his/her family. The expected contribution is determined by a federal need analysis process evaluating the family’s financial information provided on the FAFSA.

Student’s Contribution: All students are expected to contribute toward their own educational expenses. A student’s income and assets will also be assessed through federal methodology based upon data submitted on the FAFSA.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

SAP standards apply to all federal and state aid applicants whether or not they have previously received student financial aid.

Students receiving financial aid must agree to make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their educational goal. Failure to maintain these standards will result in the loss of eligibility for financial assistance. This policy applies to students receiving assistance from those financial aid programs administered by the GWC Financial Aid Office and is separate from the College’s academic progress policies.

All students must meet the SAP policy (partially detailed below) to be eligible to receive financial aid.

The Financial Aid Office reviews academic progress at the end of each academic term. SAP includes measures of cumulative G.P.A. and unit completion progress, with a maximum number of attempted units allowed.  Please read the SAP policy in its entirety on our website.


Refunds: In accordance with Public Law 105-244 students who receive federal financial assistance and withdraw from all of their classes before completing more than 60% of the semester will be required to return any unearned federal funds. The amount of the return will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. Federal Work Study (FWS) earnings are excluded from the calculation.

Repayments/Over-Awards: Should it be determined at any time that the student received funds for which he/she was ineligible, the student will be required to repay these funds. Students will be notified in writing via e-mail of repayment options and the consequences of non-payment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Be advised that financial aid award amounts may increase or decrease due to a variety of factors, which may include a change in either the student’s enrollment status or the student’s FAFSA data. The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to modify financial aid award amounts at any time due to either changes in the availability of funds or changes in Federal regulation.

For More Information: This section only briefly touches upon what you should know about student financial aid. Please visit the GWC Financial Aid Office and website (click Financial Aid under the Student Services tab at (opens new window)) for more information and specifics about student financial aid.

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