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CALIFORNIA STUDENT OPPORTUNITY
AND ACCESS PROGRAM
Cal-SOAP is a vital component in California’s effort to build
an educated workforce by providing college, career, and
financial aid assistance to traditionally non-college going
students. Cal-SOAP is administered by the California Student
Aid Commission. There are 15 Cal-SOAP offices in California.
Cal-SOAP works with K-12, college, and university partners
to increase the value and reach of other important federal
and state college preparation programs such as
GEAR-UP and TRIO.
CASH FOR COLLEGE PROGRAM
Every January and February, students and parents are
invited to attend FREE Cash for College programs across
California to help fill out the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA), California Dream Act Application
(CADAA) and the Chafee Grant for Foster Youth Application.
Cash for College workshops offer help in other languages.
For dates, locations and a list of what to bring, go towww.cash4college.org or
visit the California Mobile Gallery
FINANCIAL AID BASICS
Financial aid is available to manage the cost of
attending college or training after high school.
Think of it this way: First, take the cost to attend, then
subtract the free money – grants and scholarships–and that
will give you the “Net Cost” to attend college.
Then, look for options to pay the net cost. Look for grant
and scholarship money first- that money doesn’t need to be
repaid. If needed, consider loans; however, loans must be
repaid with interest.
COST FOR FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE
MINUS GRANTS & SCHOLARSHIPS
EQUALS NET COST
Options to pay net costs:
• Federal student loans
• Other options:
• Family contributions
• Payment plan offered by college
• Parent PLUS loan
• Military or other service benefits
• Private education loans
Complete the FAFSA or CADAA to apply for aid for the
school year. (For schools with year-round admissions and
rolling starts, contact the financial aid office to find out which
FAFSA to submit.)
Schedule an hour; the FAFSA should take less than an hour
if you have your completed “FAFSA on the Web” Worksheet
in front of you.
Read all the instructions, work through each step and
review your answers carefully. Careless errors can delay
processing, which could mean missed deadlines and dollars.
For the FAFSA, be sure your name matches your name as it
appears on your Social Security card. Using a nickname will
delay processing. If you’ve changed your name, update your
records with the Social Security Administration atwww.ssa.gov . (A
lso notify Social Security if you’ve become a
Don’t mail or date your paper FAFSA before October 1. It will
be returned to you unprocessed and you’ll need to submit it
again. Photocopies or faxes of the FAFSA are not accepted.
Don’t send any tax forms, letters of explanation, or other
materials with your FAFSA – they’ll be shredded. If you or
your family have unusual circumstances you feel should be
considered, complete the FAFSA as best you can.
Then contact the financial aid office of each college
If you provide an email address, you’ll get an
instant confirmation that your FAFSA was received.
Save the confirmation.
If you don’t already have a FSA ID the FSA ID process consists
of three main steps:
1. Enter your log-in information.
• Provide your email address, a unique username, and
password, and verify that you are at least 13 years old.
2. Enter your personal information.
• Provide your Social Security number, name, and
date of birth.
• Include your mailing address, email address, telephone
number, and language preference.
• For security purposes, provide answers to five
3. Submit your FSA ID information.
• Agree to the terms and conditions.
• Verify your email address. (This is optional, but helpful.
By verifying your email address, you can use your email
address as your username when logging into certain ED
websites. This verification also allows you to retrieve your
username or reset your password without answering
Don’t have a computer?
Look into using one at your school or library. You can
save your FAFSA for up to 45 days at a time, so you don’t
have to complete it in one sitting, but be sure you submit
your application by the March 2nd deadline. If you’d like
additional colleges to receive your FAFSA information, go
r call 1-800-433-3243). If you have to
delete a college before adding a new one, be sure the first
college has already received your information.