Financial Aid 101

We require everyone who applies to our scholarship to fill out the FAFSA or California DREAM ACT Application:

All eligible students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) BEFORE completing the 10,000 Degrees application.  The FAFSA is available at  To complete the FAFSA, you will need you and your parents’ current year or previous year’s tax return, W-2s, and other financial information.  We recommend you complete the FAFSA as early as possible.  It is due March 2nd of each other.  If you need assistance in completing the FAFSA, please contact 10,000 Degrees at (415) 459-4240.

When you complete the FAFSA, you will be given your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  You will be asked for that number in the 10,000 Degrees application.  All financial data submitted are subject to verification.

If you are not eligible to file the FAFSA, you must fill out the California Dream Act Application if eligible.  The California Dream Act Application is available online at  You will also be asked to provide financial information on the 10,000 Degrees application.  Please have your and your parents’ current year or previous year’s tax return, W-2s, and other financial information ready. All financial data submitted are subject to verification.  Due date is March 2nd of each year.

What is the FAFSA?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
You must fill out the FAFSA form in order to apply for federal and state student assistance. Many colleges and universities, especially public institutions, also require the FAFSA.

What is the Expected Family Contribution on the FAFSA?

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in the formula.

What is a Pell Grant?

A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are usually awarded to only undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree.

What is FSEOG?

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
You must be eligible to receive a Pell Grant and have exceptional financial need. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the lowest EFCs will be the first to get FSEOGs. Just like Pell Grants, FSEOGs don’t have to be paid back.

What is the TEACH grant?

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant)
For undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, or graduate students who are or will be taking coursework necessary to become elementary or secondary teachers. You must be enrolled at a school that participates in the TEACH Grant Program, agree to meet specific requirements, and sign the TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve.

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study.

What is a Federal Perkins Loan?

A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5 percent) loan for both undergraduate and graduate students with exceptional financial need. Federal Perkins Loans are made through a school’s financial aid office. Your school is your lender, and the loan is made with government funds. You must repay this loan to your school.

What are Direct Stafford Loans?

Direct Stafford Loans, from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program, are low-interest loans for eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at a four-year college or university, community college, or trade, career, or technical school. Eligible students borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) at participating schools.

What are Cal Grants?

Cal Grants assists with tuition and fees at public and independent colleges, and some occupational and career colleges. At the University of California and the California State University, the award covers up to full system-wide fees. Your coursework must be for at least two academic years.

What is the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth?

Free money for foster youth for college or career training.

What is the BOG waiver?

The Board of Governors Fee Waiver was created to provide access for California residents to Community Colleges so that the cost of enrollment would not be a barrier.

What is EOP?

The Educational Opportunity Program is designed to improve access and retention of historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged students.

What about loans?

There are private loans and parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their child’s education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met.