Q: I am working with a student who is counting on receiving a Cal Grant to cover his college expenses this fall. He completed his FAFSA by March 2, but his high school did not submit his Grade Point Average (GPA) by that date, as required.
I understand there is an appeal process for late GPA submission with an upcoming deadline of Wednesday, May 16. Any advice on submitting a successful appeal?
A: Yes, you are correct. He can still be considered for a Cal Grant, if he is successful in submitting the appeal by Wednesday, May 16th. State regulations allow Entitlement Cal Grant applicants to appeal the late submission of their Cal Grant GPA if circumstances beyond their control delayed or prevented them from submitting a verified GPA by the March 2nd filing deadline.
According to a memo from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), if the appeal is accepted, the student will be processed for Entitlement Cal Grant award consideration and will receive correspondence from CSAC based on their application status. If the appeal is not accepted and the student is planning on attending a community college, the GPA will be retained and considered for the September 2nd Competitive Cal Grant award. Visit CSAC’s website to access the Late Cal Grant GPA Appeal Form.
Advice for completing the appeal form is to focus on factors that were beyond the student’s control, such as:
- School did not submit the GPA in a timely manner
- School submitted weighted GPA instead of unweighted GPA
- Student was not aware of Cal Grant eligibility or thought themselves ineligible*
- Student was under the impression that the school would submit the GPA on student’s behalf, however the school was not required to do so (the law requires public and charter schools to electronically upload GPAs for current high school seniors)
- Filed the form on time, but it was lost in the mail
- Typos on the form, such as the wrong social security number
- Form was not signed
*In this situation in particular, it is important to fully describe how this might have occurred, including disclosing the student’s foster youth status which may indicate a lack of supportive adults or advocates to assist the student with the financial aid process. There is no guarantee that the appeal will be granted, so placing as much emphasis on the factors beyond the student’s control is recommended.
For more information on the Cal Grant GPA submission process, including how to verify whether a student’s GPA was in fact submitted, read a previous Question of the Week on the topic.
California Student Aid Commission. Operations Memo (April 25, 2018). http://www.csac.ca.gov/sites/main/files/file-attachments/gom_2018-12.pdf