Types of Aid
Financial Aid Programs Offered at Cuesta College
|Program Offered (Click on the program for details on how to apply)
|Funds can be used for
Enrollment fees only
Enrollment fees only
Tuition and other fees
This page is maintained by Financial Aid.
Fee waivers remove the necessity to pay registration or other fees, but do not provide any extra money that can be used for other items.
Until further notice, Cuesta College has elected to use AB19 funds to provide a fee waiver to first-time college students who enroll full-time.
To be eligible, you must be enrolled for a term during your first or second financial aid award year at Cuesta, while not receiving aid through the California College Promise Grant (CCPG) fee waiver. You must be enrolled full-time (12 or more units) at the freeze date for the term, listed in the green “Quick Links” section on our homepage. Funding is limited, and we may not be able to apply the fee waiver after the freeze date.
For example, if you were attending college for the first time during the Fall 2022 term (part of the 2022-2023 aid year), you could receive a fee waiver for any of the following terms in which you were enrolled full-time:
Note that if you are receiving assistance through our DSPS program, you may be exempt from the full-time enrollment requirement. Please contact your DSPS counselor for details.
If you have transfer units from another college, including high school enrichment credits from a school other than Cuesta, the system will not recognize your eligibility automatically. In that case, you will need to contact the financial aid office for assistance.
Please be aware that since the passage of AB 2 in 2019, students who have earned a post-secondary degree or certificate are not eligible for aid through the AB19 program.
The CCPG (formerly known as the Board of Governors Fee Waiver) waives your enrollment fees for California residents (or AB-540/AB-2000 students) who are eligible under one of the following methods. Students are still responsible to pay Student Registration Fees. There is no monetary exchange when you see this award on your student account.
A student is eligible under Method A if they:
- Received TANF, CalWORKS, SSI, or General Assistance payments in the last two years;
- Are a dependent student and one of their parents received such assistance;
- Have certification from the California Department of Veterans Affairs or the National Guard Adjutant General stating that the student is eligible for the waiver;
- Are a recipient—or the child of a recipient—of the Congressional Medal of Honor;
- Are a dependent of a victim of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack; OR
- Are a dependent of deceased law enforcement or fire suppression personnel who were killed in the line of duty.
- Fill out a paper CCPG form
Eligibility is based on household size and total family income (adjusted gross income plus all other untaxed income).
|Family Size for 2023-2024
|2021 Income Limits
|Each additional family member
*Income Limits calculated based on 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2021.
A student is eligible for the CCPG under Method C if the student has completed a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application for the correct academic year and they are determined to have a financial need of $1,104 or greater. Financial need is determined by subtracting the estimated family contribution from the student’s cost of attendance budget.
How to apply for the CCPG
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application
- If you are eligible for a CCPG, you will be awarded once your data has been processed by Cuesta (usually within a week for FAFSA and a month for the CA Dream Act)
- Fill out the paper form here
NOTE: You must be meeting academic progress standards in order to maintain your CCPG eligibility. In general, you must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher and pass more than 50% of the units you attempt each term. For more information, visit www.icanaffordcollege.com.
Grants are gift aid that does not have to be repaid if you complete your term and doesn't require you to work in order to receive it. Grants are often awarded on the basis of financial need or some specific qualification based on your background (e.g. grants for single parents or foster youth).
Grant programs administered by Cuesta College:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Cal Grant B & C
- Student Success Completion Grant
- Chafee Grant
- EOPS/CARE Grants
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to post-secondary education. Applicants must meet all of the eligibility requirements for federal student aid.
The amount awarded to an eligible student is dependent upon:
- the student's expected family contribution (EFC);
- the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution);
- the number of units a student is taking;
- whether the student attends for a full academic year or less; AND
- eligibility to receive a federal Pell Grant is up to 12 full-time semesters (or its equivalent).
How to apply for the Federal Pell Grant
The FSEOG Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to promote access to post-secondary education. Specific award amounts vary and priority is given to those students with with the lowest expected family contributions at the institution and receive Federal Pell Grant.
SEOG funds are limited and are awarded to eligible students by selecting a random set of students with a zero EFC.
How to apply for the FSEOG
The Cal Grant program is designed to help low-income California residents with the costs of pursuing undergraduate education at California institutions. There are two programs that are available to Cuesta College students: Cal Grant B and Cal Grant C.
- Cal Grant B provides a living allowance. At most California schools that grant Bachelor’s degrees, it can also provide a substantial amount of help with tuition and fees. The Cal Grant B is available for select low-income/disadvantaged students with high potential.
- Cal Grant C assists vocational students with tuition and training costs. Students must be enrolled in an eligible vocational program at Cuesta College from four to twenty-four months in length.
- Under AB 2248 students that are awarded a Cal Grant A or B need to take 15 semester units, or 30 semester units per academic year to graduate in four years. Cal Grant awards are limited to four academic years, except for students enrolled in an institutionally required five-year undergraduate program, or students with baccalaureate degrees admitted to and enrolled in a program of professional teacher preparation. Students who wish to retain some of their Cal Grant allocation for use at a 4-year college should contact the Cuesta financial aid office for more information.
- Student who are supporting dependent children under the age of 18 may qualify for additional funding through the Cal Grant B and Cal Grant C programs. Eligible students who are supporting dependent children under the age of 18 may instead receive payments through the Cal Grant A program, which is otherwise only available to students attending California colleges that award Bachelor’s degrees.
How to apply for the Cal Grant
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application before March 2;
- Ensure that a certified GPA was sent* to the California Student Aid Commission before March 2; AND
- Complete the application process with Cuesta.
Students transferring to a Bachelor’s degree granting institution should consult the commission’s Transfer Entitlement Award information page to see if they qualify. Eligible students who complete all the needed steps for a transfer entitlement award will be awarded a Cal Grant directly, and will not need to go through the competitive awarding process.
*Cuesta College will automatically submit all eligible GPAs to the California Student Aid Commission prior to both the March 2nd deadline, and the September 2nd community-college-only deadline. About 1 out of every 8 students receive a Cal Grant through the competitive awarding process.
The Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG) is a financial aid program for Cal Grant B and C recipients attending a California Community College full-time (12 units or more). On top of the Cal Grant B or C award paid at community colleges, the Student Success Completion Grant pays full-time Cal Grant B or C recipients a maximum of $2,596 annually at $1,298 per semester for eligible students who enroll and attend 12 through 14.99 units per term and a maximum of $8,000 annually at $4,000 per semester for eligible students who enroll and attend 15 units or more per term.
Must be a Cal Grant B or C recipient that received a full-time Cal Grant payment
Must be enrolled full-time (12 units or more)
Must be meeting Federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards
Must have unmet need to receive the SSCG
If funding allows, additional funds may be provided at the start of the Summer term. Cal Grant recipients whose completed Fall and Spring units and enrolled Summer units total to 24 or more may receive SSCG funding for Summer, up to the annual maximum for a full-time student ($2,596 for the aid year). If we have remaining funds after those students are awarded, Cal Grant recipients with a combination of completed Fall and Spring and enrolled Summer units that totals to 30 or more may receive additional funding, up to the annual maximum of a greater-than-full-time student ($8,000 for the aid year).
The purpose of the SSCG grant is to provide students with additional financial aid to help offset the total cost of community college attendance, and to encourage full-time attendance and successful on-time completion.
Chafee grants provide up to $5,000 a year to youth who are or were in the foster care system. To qualify, a student must be a current or former foster youth who has not reached his/her 25th birthday as of July 1 of the award year. Additionally, the court must have established the student’s dependency status between the ages of 16 and 18.
To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a current or former foster youth who was a ward of the court, living in foster
care, for at least one day between the ages of 16 and 18.
If you are/were in Kin-GAP, a non-related legal guardianship, or were adopted, you are eligible only if you were a dependent or ward of the court, living in foster care, for at least one day between the ages of 16 and 18.
- Have not reached your 26th birthday as of July 1st of the award year.
- Have not participated in the program for more than 5 years (whether or not consecutive).
Pursuant to Assembly Bill 2506, starting with the 2017-18 award year, you can only receive your Chafee Grant if you attend a school that is either of the following:
- A qualifying institution that is eligible for participation in the Cal Grant Program.
- An institution that is not located in California with a three-year cohort default rate that is less than 15.5 percent and a graduation rate greater than 30 percent.
How to apply for the Chafee Grant
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application; AND
- Complete the online California Chafee Grant Application.
Student's completed applications are sorted by application date, and awards are offered based on the following priority selection criteria:
1. ** Paid renewal students who have not reached their 26th birthday as of July 1st
of the award year.
2. New and ***non-paid renewal students who will be 25 years old as of July 1st of the award year.
3. New and non-paid renewal students who have dependents.
4. New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of $5,000 or more.
5. New and non-paid renewal students who have an unmet need of less than $5,000.
** Students who have received a Chafee payment.
*** Students who have not received a Chafee payment.
Upon selection for an award, students are sent payment notifications for each term.
The majority of Chafee Grant awards are initiated during the fall term and additional awards are offered year round based on available federal and state funding each year.
Students who are participants in Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) or the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) programs may receive small grants when funds are available. When the financial aid office recieves a list of students to award from the CAFE office we award EOPS grants first, then CARE grants.
How to apply for EOPS / CARE
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application;
- Complete the application process for financial aid; AND
- Complete the EOPS Application Process.
Like grants, scholarships don't have to be repaid and you don't need to work to earn them. However, scholarships are often competitive and are awarded on the basis of academic merit.
Scholarships come in two basic types: inside and outside. Inside scholarships are those that are managed and awarded within the college itself (like the Cuesta College Scholarship program), while outside scholarships are awarded by entities other than the college.
This program pays all tuition and course-related fees for any graduate from a San Luis Obispo County high school (including students who receive their GED or are home-schooled) who is attending Cuesta College the first year immediately following their completion of high school. The Cuesta Promise will pay fees for students that are a California Resident or AB540 student. A second year is now available for students who complete the FAFSA or California Dream Act for the next upcoming year, and who in the first year completed more than 50% of the classes attempted cumulatively and have above a 2.0 GPA cumulatively.
How to apply for The Cuesta Promise
- Apply to Cuesta;
- Complete the online scholarship application;
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application;
- Complete the Cuesta College Online Orientation; AND
- Register for classes on the myCuesta Student Portal when fall registration is available.
This program, made available through private donors, offers over 150 scholarships to current Cuesta students and incoming freshmen. Each scholarship has its own set of eligibility requirements, but most scholarships require an overall GPA of at least 2.0.
Students only need to submit one scholarship application to be considered for all of the scholarships offered. When deciding who to award, the committee places the highest emphasis on the written answers to the 5 questions at the end of the application, but also considers academic performance and financial need.
How to apply for the Cuesta College Scholarships
- Apply to Cuesta if you are not currently a Cuesta student or have been absent for more than two terms;
- Complete the online scholarship application before March 2.
Having a FAFSA or California Dream Act on file is not required for the Cuesta Scholarships, but some scholarships are based on need so to maximize your opportunities we encourage all students to apply for financial aid to see what other opportunities they could qualify for.
The Federal Work-Study program provides funds for part-time employment to help qualified students finance the cost of post-secondary education. The average award is $4,000 for the academic year; However, the award amount will vary based on the student’s financial need.
The institution itself; a federal, state, or local public agency; a private nonprofit organization; or a private for-profit organization may employ students. Wages may never be below the federal minimum wage, and, ideally, the job will be related to the student's career interests or academic field.
How to get Federal Work-Study at Cuesta College
- Complete your FAFSA. Fill out the 22-23 FAFSA for Fall 22, Spring 23 and Summer 23 Semesters.
Be sure to indicate interest in Federal Work Study!
- Complete the application process for financial aid.
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Make sure you are in good standing.
- Register in 6 or more Course Program of Study (CPOS) units
- Find an FWS position
- interview with the potential employer
- Employer starts the process
NOTE: You CANNOT begin working prior to HR clearance. Failure to get HR clearance before working will result in your FWS award being revoked.
Salary / Hours
If you qualify for FWS, your salary will start at the California minimum wage, but it may be higher, depending on the type of work and required skills. The total award amount depends on the application date, the level of your need, and how much FWS money the school has to award.
Unlike a loan program, money is not paid before you earn it. No FWS student may be paid by commission or fee. Students must be paid by the school directly at least once a month.
The amount you earn cannot exceed your total FWS award. The employers, out of their own funds, must pay any overage or overtime. When assigning work hours, the employer or financial aid administrator takes your class schedule and academic progress into consideration. When classes are in session, students cannot work more than 20 hours in a given week.
Unlike the other financial aid options, loans have to be repaid (often with interest). There are three kinds of loans available through the Cuesta College Financial Aid Office: student loans, parent loans, and emergency book loans.
NOTE: We do not offer or certify any private loans.
This government program offers low-interest loans to eligible students who are enrolled in at least six units. There are two types of student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Subsidized Direct Loans
- The federal government subsidizes (pays) any interest that student loans accrue while the students are still enrolled in school at least half-time.
Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Students are required to pay the interest while they are in school. Interest payments may be deferred while the student is in school, but the accrued interest will be capitalized.
Terms and Repayment
Although the interest rate for direct loans varies from year-to-year, a direct loan will be fixed at that rate once it has been originated. For up-to-date information on the terms of student loans, including interest rates and interest fees, visit StudentLoans.gov.
Student loan repayment begins six months after students graduate, withdraw from school, or drop below half-time enrollment status.
How to apply for student loans
- File your FAFSA.
- Complete the application process for financial aid.
- Complete the student loan application process.
Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS Loan to help pay their children’s education expenses as long as certain eligibility requirements are met:
- The parent borrower must be the student's biological or adoptive parent. In some cases, the student's stepparent may be eligible.
- The student must be a dependent student who is enrolled at least half-time (six units) at Cuesta College.
- The parent borrower must not have an adverse credit history (A credit check is conducted when you begin the loan application process). If the parent does not pass the credit check, the parent may still receive a loan if someone (a relative or friend) is able to pass the credit check and agrees to endorse the loan. The endorser promises to repay the loan if the parent fails to do so.
- The student and parent must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, must not be in default on any federal education loans or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, and must meet other general eligibility requirements for the federal student aid programs.
- The Direct PLUS loan program requires that parents reapply each year if they wish to borrow more funds
How to apply for a PLUS loan
- Student files the FAFSA.
- Student completes the application process for financial aid.
- Student completes the student loan application process.
- Parent completes an MPN and Direct PLUS loan request.
This loan program is designed to help students who do not have their financial aid ready, but are in desperate need of money to buy books to begin their term. The Associated Students of Cuesta College (ASCC) provide up to $300 to buy books at the Cuesta College bookstore on the condition that the loan is paid back by a set date, usually the midpoint of the term in which the loan is made. Applications are made in person at the Financial Aid Office and are only available for two weeks: the week before the first week and the first week of the fall and spring terms.
NOTE: Students who have received an ASCC book loan in the last two terms or who have ever been late in repaying a previous ASCC book loan are not eligible to apply.
How to apply for the ASCC Emergency Book Loan
- Fill out a FAFSA or a California Dream Act application.
- Enroll in at least six units.
- Purchase an ASCC ID card for the current term.
- Complete the Book Loan application in person at the Financial Aid office during the first week of the fall or spring semester (or during the week before that).