There are a lot of financing options for students from low-income families pursuing postsecondary education. You should not hesitate to exploit all funding options available. This is applicable to both the Pell Grant and the Cal Grant.
You can qualify for both a Pell Grant and a Cal Grant. The two scholarships are not self-exclusive. In fact, they are two different types of grants. The Pell Grant is provided by the Federal Government and this makes it a federal grant.
The Cal Grant is available from the state government of California. The eligibility criteria for the two differ to an extent, but you should not miss applying for both if you need financial aid for paying for your studies.
Generally, all federal and state scholarships are separate. This means that you can participate in any number of programs as long as they are not self-exclusive. For instance, it is possible for you to get a Pell Grant, or a Cal Grant and get a job from the Federal Work-Study program.
You can apply for a Pell Grant and a Cal Grant at the same time. Keep in mind, however, that the eligibility criteria are different. This means that you might be able to get only one of them and not the other. Still, you should apply for both, if you think you are eligible. The application process is simplified, so you do not have to submit separate forms.
You have to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it. In addition, you need to file your verified GPA with the California Student Aid Commission in order to complete your Cal Grant application. You do not need to fill in additional application forms or submit any other documents in order to get a Pell Grant.
You have to be aware of the deadlines for the grants as well. This is important if you want to arrange your financing as best as possible. You can apply for a Pell Grant for an academic year at any time prior to and during the academic year until its formal end which is considered to be June 30th. Basically, there is no early deadline.
You can apply for and receive the funding upon approval at any time during the school year. Still, it is a good idea to apply at least 8 weeks before the start of your first semester so that you can avoid missing tuition fee payment deadlines.
The situation is different with the Cal Grant. You need to submit your FAFSA form for the following academic year before March 2nd. The deadline for some community college students can be extended to September 2nd, but this is not applicable to all. Hence, if you want to get both types of grants, you should do it to meet the shorter Cal Grant deadline.
Overall, if you start thinking about college financing and take action early, you will be able to receive both a Pell Grant and a Cal Grant.