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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
September 26, 2019

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, High School Principals, and High School Counselors:

Cal Grant Grade Point Average Submission Reminder

We welcome you back to school and look forward to another successful year as we partner together to provide financial aid options to all your postsecondary-bound students. Our goal is to provide information and resources that will help high schools assist their students throughout the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)/CADAA (California Dream Act Application) and Cal Grant award processes and successfully submitting their senior grade point averages (GPAs), which are used to calculate Cal Grants.

GPAs for the class of 2020 should be uploaded to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) by October 1, 2019, as specified under Education Code 69432.9(c)(2), unless the student has opted-out per Education Code 69432.9(d)(1)(2). Keep in mind that high school students have a two-year window to qualify for a High School Entitlement Cal Grant—as seniors and one year after graduation. Although optional, it is a best practice to also submit GPAs for your prior year graduates (i.e., class of 2019), given that some students would benefit from having their GPAs recalculated using grades earned during their senior year (this recalculation may qualify students for more financial aid).

Please refer to the table below, which outlines important dates for the 2020–21 financial aid award year.

2020–21 Financial Aid Award Year (Class of 2020)

Date Deadline

May 22, 2019

GPA submission window opened

October 1, 2019

High school GPA submission deadline

October 1, 2019

2020–21 FAFSA/CADAA is available

January 1, 2020

GPA Opt-Out due (for Juniors—Class of 2021)

March 2, 2020

FAFSA/CADAA deadline for students attending four-year institutions

August 31, 2020

High school graduation verification deadline


High schools will continue to have the ability to track FAFSA and CADAA completion rates through CSAC’s Race to Submit Dashboard (Dashboard) at https://webutil.csac.ca.gov/Dashboard/default.aspx. The Dashboard will show the number of FAFSAs and CADAAs submitted by a high school or district. In addition, it will identify the number of FAFSA and CADAA applications submitted and the number of awards offered. High schools can utilize the Dashboard starting October 1, 2019.

After submitting GPAs to CSAC, high schools may use various WebGrants reports to monitor their students throughout the award process. These reports allow schools to identify students who have not submitted a financial aid application or students whose GPAs have not been matched to a financial aid application. If a GPA is not matched to a financial aid application, the student cannot be considered for a Cal Grant award. Winners of the Race to Submit Campaign will be determined based on the percentage of their senior class who have a Cal Grant GPA matched to a completed financial aid application. Therefore, it is important for school staff to know how to manually match GPAs to financial aid applications. To assist with this process, CSAC will be offering monthly online webinars covering a variety of topics, including how to create/upload your GPA file and how to edit/match GPA records. To register for an online webinar, please refer to CSAC’s Trainings web page at http://www.csac.ca.gov/trainings.

Finally, the 2019 Annual Statewide Financial Aid Workshops (formerly known as High School Counselor Workshops) are being offered throughout California from August 22 to November 1, 2019. Topics include updates to the FAFSA and CADAA as well as information on Cal Grant programs, including programs that benefit foster youth and former foster youth, such as the Chafee Grant. If you are interested in attending a workshop in your area, please register at this website: https://events.com/r/en_US/registration/2019-annual-statewide-financial-aid-workshops-august-759389. For more information, please visit the CSAC website at https://www.csac.ca.gov/ or contact CSAC’s Institutional Support by phone at 888-294-0153 or by email at schoolsupport@csac.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
California Department of Education

Marlene L. Garcia
Executive Director
California Student Aid Commission

TT/MLG:lfb

Last Reviewed: Monday, September 30, 2019

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