What does my “denial letter” mean?

If you received a letter letting you know that you did not qualify for a Cal Grant, the following information may assist you in understanding the information in your letter.

If you received a denial letter and you are currently a high school senior or you graduated from high school within the last 12 months, please ask your school to verify the area needing correction. The correction should be mailed immediately to the Commission at:

California Student Aid Commission
Program Administration and Services Division
P.O. Box 419027
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9027

If you are not a current high school senior or a high school graduate within the last 12 months, and the information is incorrect, you are not eligible to be considered for a Cal Grant and must reapply by the March 2nd Cal Grant deadline. If you are planning to attend a California Community College in the fall, you may correct and return your Student Aid Report before the September 2nd Cal Grant application deadline for community college students. There are only a limited amount of Grants available in the fall and only those applications that are correct, complete and received by September 2nd will be allowed to compete. We encourage you to meet the September 2nd deadline or to reapply next year.

Denial Reasons

"EL greater than 4 years": Education (EL) stands for the year you are in college. New Cal Grants are not offered to students who are beyond their senior year of college (EL 5 or higher). If you received this letter, it is because either you stated that you had completed a bachelor's or higher degree on your FAFSA or your college verified your educational level as higher than a senior.

"Indication of Prior Bachelor's Degree": If you received this letter, you either indicated you had already received a bachelor's degree on your FAFSA or the Commission received verification from your school that you had already received a bachelor's degree. The Cal Grants are for students who have not yet received a bachelor's degree.

"State of Legal Residence not California": If you received this letter, it is most likely because you left the residency question blank on your FAFSA or because you indicated something other than "CA." You must be a legal resident of California to be eligible for a Cal Grant.

"Not pursuing an Undergraduate Degree": If you received this letter, it is because you indicated on your FAFSA that you were pursuing a graduate degree. Graduate students are not eligible for the Cal Grants.

"No Grade Point Average Submitted": If you received this letter, it is most likely because the Commission did not receive a "certified" copy of your Cal Grant GPA Verification Form by mail or your verified GPA electronically from your school. Your verified GPA had to be received by March 2nd (or September 2nd for California Community College students).

"GPA Below the Minimum": If you received this letter, it is because your school certified your GPA under the minimum accepted for Cal Grant qualification. Cal Grant A requires at least a 3.00 high school GPA or 2.4 college GPA; Cal Grant B requires at least a 2.00 GPA. (Cal Grant GPAs do not include grades for PE, ROTC or remedial courses and may be different from your cumulative GPA and your GPA for college admissions.) If you feel your GPA was reported incorrectly, you will need to contact the school that certified your GPA. If an error is acknowledged, the school will need to submit an appeal letter to the Commission, on school letterhead to explain the situation.

"Code 35 - Denied - Low Score": If you received this letter, you have been considered as a competitive applicant. Competitive Cal Grant applicants are scored based on criteria from their FAFSA or CADAA and their GPA. , From the FAFSA and CADAA, your score is comprised of the following: family income and size of household, parents' and applicant’s education background, time out of high school, high school performance standards, and other factors, such as whether the applicant comes from a single-parent household or is a former foster youth. Points are assigned uniformly to all applicants in each area. Based on the information you provided on your FAFSA or CADAA, the sum of your points was lower than the cut-off score for the entire applicant pool.

"Program Edit Disqual": If you received this letter, it is because you listed a school that does not participate in the Cal Grant C program or you listed an ineligible degree or certificate program on your FAFSA or CADAA. You may also receive this letter if you have already completed a bachelor’s (four-year) degree and you are not enrolled in a teacher credentialing program.

"Code 15: Not Applicable": If you are a CADAA applicant, there is a chance you will see this code for your disqualification reason. Dream Act students are only able to be considered for our “Entitlement” Cal Grants opportunities. To be considered as an entitlement student, you must be a recent high school graduate who has at least a 2.0 GPA, meets the Cal Grant requirements (including financial need) and applies by March 2nd of his or her senior year or the year following graduation. The guarantee extends to California high school graduates who attend a California Community College and meet the requirements in the year they are going to transfer to a four-year college. If you do not meet this criteria, then you would not meet the qualifications to receive a Cal Grant Award.