Improving the Cal Grant Program for Community College Career Technical Education Students


The Cal Grants Issue

Career technical education (CTE) students attending California community colleges pay the lowest tuition and fees in the nation. Yet the cost of attending college is extremely high given the expense of housing, food, books, supplies and transportation. There also is evidence that the Cal Grant program – California’s financial aid program – is not working well for students pursuing vocational and technical degrees and certificates.


Report Author: The California EDGE Coalition

Date: April 2016


This policy brief describes Cal Grants and suggests ways to make the program more useful to CTE students. To learn more, download the full text of the article here.

Barriers to Access

Few community college CTE students receive the competitive Cal Grant award and data suggests that the Cal Grant C- which is designed specifically for students attending a CTE program – has not worked well for the community college CTE student. While community college students received 77% of all Cal Grant C awards in the 2014-15, they historically receive only 29% of the awarded funds.

Recommendations for Improving the Cal Grant C Program

1. Provide community college CTE students with an access award to help cover their living expenses 2. Create an Entitlement Award for Lower-Unit CTE Programs 3. Simplify the Grant Award process 4. Improve Marketing and Outreach

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