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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
September 25, 2020

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 a new school year! Although the last months have been filled with life-changing events, we look forward to another successful school 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 through the Cal Grant application process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly unprecedented situation; the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) created a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to address many of the questions relating to the state’s financial aid programs. Given the grading policy changes that many districts have undertaken in response to the impact of COVID-19, it is highly recommended that schools and districts review the FAQs prior to submitting grade point averages (GPAs) to CSAC for this upcoming school year. The FAQs can be found on the CSAC Latest Updates web page at https://www.csac.ca.gov/covid19.

GPAs for the class of 2021 must be uploaded to CSAC by October 1, 2020, as specified under Education Code Section 69432.9(c)(2), unless the student has opted out per Education Code Section 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 prior year graduates (i.e., class of 2020), to ensure that students who were not awarded a Cal Grant during senior year have a second chance at being awarded a Cal Grant using a recalculated GPA that includes grades earned during senior year.

Please refer to the table below, which outlines important dates for the 2021–22 financial aid award year.

2021–22 Financial Aid Award Year (Class of 2021)
Date Deadline

June 8, 2020

GPA submission window opened

October 1, 2020

High school GPA submission deadline

October 1, 2020

2021–22 FAFSA/CADAA is available

January 1, 2021

GPA Opt-Out due (for Juniors—Class of 2022)

March 2, 2021

FAFSA/CADAA priority deadline

August 31, 2021

High school graduation verification deadline

After submitting GPAs to CSAC, high schools may use various WebGrants reports to monitor their students throughout the awarding 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. To access these reports and to submit GPAs electronically, WebGrants access is required. To apply for a WebGrants account, complete a WebGrants access form available on the CSAC WebGrants Access Request web page at https://www.csac.ca.gov/webgrants-access-request.

Beginning on October 1, 2020, high schools can track Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and California Dream Act Application (CADAA) completion rates, matched GPAs, and the number of awards offered through CSAC’s Race to Submit Dashboard at https://webutil.csac.ca.gov/Dashboard/default.aspx. The percentage of matched GPAs will determine the winners for the Race to Submit Campaign. 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, please refer to the CSAC Trainings web page at http://www.csac.ca.gov/trainings.

Finally, the 2020 Annual Statewide Financial Aid Workshops have traditionally been conducted as in-person events. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and budgetary restraints, CSAC is transitioning all 2020 training to a virtual format, which will consist of live webinars through Zoom, pre-recorded material, and informational videos. Please visit the CSAC Annual Statewide Financial Workshop web page at https://www.csac.ca.gov/annual-statewide-financial-aid-workshops or contact CSAC’s Institutional Support Unit by phone at 888-294-0153 or by email at schoolsupport@csac.ca.gov.
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 25, 2020

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