Financial Aid- FAFSA & Dream Act

The redesigned and streamlined FAFSA form will be available by Dec. 31, 2023.
DEADLINE: April 2, 2024
*Follow @castudentaid on Instagram for the latest information.*
Starting this school year the California Department of Education is requiring all graduating seniors to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). 


Please view the attached checklist below to make sure your child has all the documents needed to successfully complete the financial aid application. 

FAFSA: Students with a valid Social Security Number (SSN) (not AB540 or DACA students) should log on to  and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2023-2024 school year. This starts the financial aid process and is required for all students to receive need-based financial aid, including government grants (free money). Money is awarded for 4-year public and private schools, community colleges, and trade/tech schools.
You must apply for an FSA ID. Each senior and one parent must apply for an FSA ID to process the FAFSA application. If you have a sibling in college, the parent may already have an FSA ID, in which case he/she may use the same FSA ID. There is a link for FSA ID on
California Dream Application (for undocumented students only): Cal Grants are awarded under the California Dream Act for undocumented (soon to be AB540 or DACA) students. Students should log on to the California Student Aid Commission website at to access the application. 
Parent and student financial information is required; estimated income is acceptable and tax returns do not need to be filed before completing the application, but taxes will have to be filed before any money is received. Students with a valid SSN (not AB540 or DACA), even if the parent does not have an SSN, are eligible for FAFSA. After income taxes have been filed with the IRS, students/parents will log back into the FAFSA and revise the financial information accordingly.
Federal and state need-based financial aid is based on economic need. Families will have an EFC (expected family contribution) based on their individual financial picture. The formula is calculated based on the total cost of attendance (COA which is stated on each college’s financial aid page) - EFC = financial need). Financial need can be met with grants (free money from the federal and/or government and/or university), parent loans, student loans, and/or federal work-study. Additional monies are available for foster youth. Federal and/or state aid is only granted to students that fill out the FAFSA or California Dream Application (if a student is undocumented only).
Cal Grants: The FAFSA is linked to the California Student Aid Commission for Cal Grant eligibility. No separate application is required for students filling out the FAFSA. Cal Grants are only available to students attending eligible schools in California. Varying GPA and income thresholds apply.
  • Cal Grant A: minimum GPA of 3.0 (10th and 11th grades, unweighted, excluding PE)
  • Cal Grant B: minimum GPA of 2.0 (10th and 11th grades, unweighted, excluding PE)
  • Cal Grant C: for trade and/or technical schools
GPA verification is required for the Cal Grant will be uploaded from LAUSD for Taft students.
Students do not need to fill out the Cal Grant GPA Verification form.
Federal Pell Grant: Eligible students may receive up to $5,600 per academic school year.
Cal Grant: Eligible students may receive up to a full tuition grant for a UC/CSU campus only or up to $9,000 for a private institution located in California only.
Middle Class Scholarship: The Middle Class Scholarship (MCS) is also available, but students will here about this award after Cal Grants are awarded (students can only qualify for the MCS if they did not qualify for Cal Grant). This program provides students with family incomes of up to $150,000 a scholarship (free money) to attend a UC or CSU campus only. If the family earns up to $100,000 per year, the student may be eligible for a scholarship of up to 40 percent of the cost of tuition and fees at a UC or CSU campus only. MCS scholarships vary by student and school. The amount will depend on the number of students eligible for the MCS statewide and funding provided by the California state budget.
Colleges/Universities listed: The documents allow for a maximum of 10 schools. If students apply to California schools, these should be listed first. If a student is applying to more than 10 schools, after the FAFSA has been processed (you will receive notification), students will need to log back into their application with their pin, delete schools and add in additional schools. Make sure that the application has been fully processed before deleting schools.
SAR (Student Aid Report): After students are accepted to a school, they will get an SAR specifying their financial aid award from each school. Each package may be different and should be evaluated individually to determine the best choice (i.e. scholarships, grants, parent and student loans, and work study).
Students who filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Application should regularly be checking their email for status updates. All students should set up a WebGrants4Students account at to track eligibility and obtain information about their Cal Grant status. This account should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that things move forward in the process. Final financial aid packages will come from the colleges students are accepted to and have been listed on the financial aid applications. Students/parents should review packages individually as they may and will differ from school to school.
Scholarships: All students should apply for scholarships. Students should check their College Schoology group for scholarships posted by the College Office. Scholarships are also listed on Naviance. Another great site is Going Merry. Taft also awards scholarships at Senior Awards Night in May. All students are encouraged to fill out our application and apply (available at the College Office in February).