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There Are Several Main Types of Financial Aid

The California College Promise Grant waives certain enrollment fees for eligible students at any California community college throughout the state. Our state's program is unique because is a first dollar plan, meaning the state covers the tuition costs first, and any other financial aid awarded to the student can be used to offset the cost of textbooks, transportation and other non-tuition expenses. In a last dollar plan, the state only covers the portion of tuition costs that are not paid by other aid, meaning that the lowest income students receive the smallest financial benefit, if any. The program also doesn't set eligibility guidelines based on students' age, academic merit or attendance status. This approach to financial aid ensures all California students, regardless of their background or income level, have the opportunity to attend and succeed in community college.

Most students who qualify are awarded through the FAFSA.  If no FAFSA is filed, students must complete a Fee Waiver Application or a California Dream Act Application (for AB 540 students or DACA students only). You may apply online using the Los Rios California Promise Grant page or AB 540/DACA Students may apply using the California Dream Application.

To qualify you must be a California resident and meet certain criteria, explained both in the waiver form and on the online application page.


If you are Native American and have questions about funding based on your ancestry, please contact one of the below agencies:

For Occupational and Vocational programs contact:
Central California Agency -Bureau of Indian Affairs
650 Capitol Mall, Suite 8-500, Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone No: (916) 930-3680 | Fax No:(916) 930-3780

For all other programs contact:
Pacific Regional Office - Bureau of Indian Affairs
2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825
Phone No. (916) 978-6057

AmeriCorps members serve more than 3,000 nonprofit institutions, public agencies, faith-based and other community organizations to help meet critical needs in education, public safety, health and the environment.

The variety of service opportunities is almost unlimited. Members may tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, or help communities respond to disasters.

Upon completion of their service, AmeriCorps members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to help finance their education. For more information click here.

Cal Grant B awards provide low-income students an allowance of up to $1,672 (Access)at a California Community College. Cal Grant B also helps pay tuition and fees for those who attend a four-year university.

To receive Cal Grant B, students must be enrolled in a program of study no less than 24 units in length.

Cal Grant C awards help students who are pursuing a vocational, occupational, or technical program of study. This $1,094 per academic year award is for books, tools, and equipment. To qualify, you must enroll in a vocational program that is at least four months long at a California Community College. Funding is available for up to two years enrolled as a full-time student.

The first refund of Cal Grant to eligible students occurs the second Friday of the semester.

Cal Grants are one of the smartest ways to get cash for college.

For starters, it's money you don't have to pay back. To apply, submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), or the Californian Dream Act Application (if you are an AB 540 student) and make sure to submit a GPA Verification Form by March 2 or September 2 (September 2 is only applicable to FAFSA applicants). Students who have a minimum 2.0 GPA and have already completed at least 24 degree-applicable units (or 16 transferrable units for re-established GPA) within the last 8 years in the Los Rios College District will have their GPA automatically submitted to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC).  For more information about Cal Grant awards and eligibility, please see the CSAC Web site by clicking here.

Cal Grant B and C recipients may elect to receive the full disbursement of their "Access" or Book and Supplies awards to use towards educational expenses or have it applied to any outstanding balances on the student's account. By choosing the first option, Cal Grant B and C recipients are responsible to resolve any account balances with their institution. Cal Grant recipients must submit a written statement to the Financial Aid Office expressing their selected option prior the disbursement of their Cal Grant funds. If no statement is received by the disbursement date, the Financial Aid office will either refund the award in full or apply it to an outstanding balance (if the student has one). Please, see your financial aid office for more information.

Community College students may also apply for and receive a Transfer Entitlement award while attending a community college. However, the award must be activated once you transfer to a four-year college or university.  The Cal Grant A Transfer Entitlement Award can be used for tuition and fees at public and private colleges and universities. At CSU and UC schools, this Cal Grant covers system-wide fees. Dream Act applicants who were not awarded a High School Entitlement Award are potentially eligible for the Transfer Entitlement award upon transferring to an eligible four-year institution.

Cal Grant B or C recipients who are enrolled at full-time status at American River College may be eligible for a supplemental grant of $500 per primary semesters. Students who qualify will be notified via the Student Center under Financial Aid. No additional application is necessary for eligibility for the FTSSG fund. The California Student Aid Commission reports all Cal Grant B or C roster information to the Financial Aid Office, and enrollment status is based upon Enrollment Services data at the time of disbursement.

  1. Enrollment in 15 units for the fall term, or
  2. Enrollment in at least 12 units (duplicating Full-Time Student Success Grant (FTSSG) eligibility) if the length of the program is less than 30 units, or
  3. Enrollment in at least 12 units (duplicating FTSSG eligibility) if the length of the remaining portion of a continuing student's program is less than 30 units (45 units for quarter colleges), AND
  4. Have a comprehensive Student Education Plan (SEP)
  5. Receive a FTSSG for the primary term associated with the completion grant payment,
  6. Have a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0, unless they are first time students without GPAs.
  7. Pace will be measured at the end of the spring 2018 term, and every primary term thereafter to determine renewal eligibility for the CCCG award The CCCG payments are $750 per semester, but may not exceed $1,500 per academic year.

If you are (or were) in foster care and have financial need, you may qualify for up to $5,000 a year for career and technical training for college. You don't have to pay this money back. To qualify, you must be a current or former foster youth and not have reached your 22nd birthday as of July 1 of the award year. The California Department of Social Services will determine your foster youth eligibility status. For more information click here.

The Child Development Grant Program is a need-based grant designed to encourage students to enter the field of child care and development in a licensed children's center. Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, the Child Development Grant Program will no longer offer new awards. To receive funding, students must sign a Service Commitment Agreement stating they will provide one year of full-time service in a licensed children's center for each year they receive the grant. For more information click here.

Under the FWS Program, you can work part-time to earn money for your education. The FWS Program: provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school, helps pay your educational expenses, is available to undergraduate and graduate students, is administered by schools participating in the FWS Program, and encourages community service work and work related to your course of study, whenever possible. For more information click here.

FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need - those with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by Department of Education. Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards. FSEOG awards range from $100 to $400 a year. The amount of the award is determined by the Financial Aid Office. You must complete the FAFSA and be Pell Grant eligible to qualify.

Pell Grants are the foundation of federal student financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students - those who haven't earned a bachelor's or graduate degree. Amounts can change yearly. The Consolidated Appropriations Act (2012) limits lifetime Pell grant usage to 600% (equivalent to 12 full-time semesters). You must complete the FAFSA.

The American River College Foundation's scholarships are provided by the college, alumni, and private donors, and are awarded on the basis of academic excellence and promise of future achievement. Financial need is a factor for some awards, but not for all. Additionally, students who have acquired particular skills may be awarded for their talents. Click here for scholarship information.

Student loans, unlike grants and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest, just like car loans and home mortgages. Loans cannot be cancelled on the basis of dissatisfaction of education received, lack of available jobs in one's field of study, or the experience of financial difficulty.  Loan forgiveness or debt release from a Federal Direct Loan is not allowable in almost circumstances, and default on a Federal Direct Loan can have significant negative impact on credit, employment opportunities and garnishment of wages, federal/state benefits (including SSI), assets, etc.  Loans are to be recognized as bearing legal obligation and must be repaid with interest, so students are instructed to borrow wisely, with repayment options in mind.

Annual Direct Loan Limits at American River College*

Dependency Status Year in School Subsidized Limit Un-Subsidized Limit Total
Dependent Student *1st Year (<30 units) $3,500 $2,000 $5,500
*2nd Year (>30 units) $4,500 $2,000 $6,500
Independent Student *1st Year (<30 units) $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
*2nd Year (>30 units) $4,500 $6,000 $10,500


* Students are ALWAYS counseled to avoid student loan debt at the Community College level.  Students with a bachelor degree (or higher) or who do not meet SAP standards are not eligible for federal direct student loans at ARC.  Direct loans should only be acquired as a last resort when all other options for financial support have been explored.  Students should borrow the least amount necessary to cover educational expenses.  Loan requests that exceed the amounts above (see chart above) will not be processed for more than the allowable limit, per category.   

All subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan requests from ARC are issued under the Federal Direct Loans program effective July 1, 2010.  Students should consider a Federal Direct Loan (when eligible) instead of credit card debt, alternative (private) loan debt or other debt accruing programs.  

(click here for disclosure information about private loans) 
We strongly encourage you to complete a FAFSA and apply for the Federal Direct Loans over any private alternative student loans.  Repayment options and loan forgiveness options are much better than private loans.  However, in the event that you do not meet eligibility requirements for the Federal Direct Loans, the option of the private alternative student loan is available.  ARC has historically assisted students to access private student loans through the following lender (however, students may establish an alternative private loan through any banking institution of their choice):

The above lender is only a common lender and is not recommended or endorsed by American River College.  Students may apply for a loan with any lender of their choice.  Private loans are credit-based, accrue interest, have fixed and variable rates which are typically higher than Federal Direct Loans, and do not generally offer the same repayment protections that are provided with federal Direct Student Loans.  Disbursements are typically made via check and are facilitated through Elm Net. 

For information regarding private alternative loans or additional lenders, go to: