UC Berkeley financial aid

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Students of UC Berkeley may receive a variety of federal, state, university and/or private aid. Types of aid include scholarships, research and teaching opportunities, fellowships, grants, loans, and federal work-study. Some aid is needs-based, while other aid is merit-based. There are aid options available for United States citizens and non-citizens alike, regardless of documentation status. Resources and advice on the many forms of financial aid available to students and prospective students of UC Berkeley, both undergraduate and graduate, and international students, can be found through the UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Some graduate schools, such as the Haas School of Business[1] and UC Berkeley School of Law[2] have their own financial aid offices.

Federal aid[edit]

Every year, students and prospective students, both undergraduate and graduate, and residents or citizens of the United States or qualified non-citizens, may apply for federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal aid includes needs-based grants, loans and work-study opportunities guaranteed by title IV of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965.[1]

Undergraduate aid[edit]

State aid[edit]

Prospective undergraduate students who are legal residents of California may apply for a variety of needs-based grants through the California Student Aid Commission, the most common of which being the Cal Grant program. In order to apply for a Cal Grant, prospective students should both complete a FAFSA and either a GPA Verification Form or a Cal Grant GPA Information Release Form.[2][3][4]

University aid[edit]

Middle Class Action Plan[edit]

Beginning the 2012-13 school year, the university will offer financial aid for undergraduate students of middle-class families, which will cap those families' contributions to a student's education at 15% of the family's gross income. UC Berkeley is the first public school to offer a financial aid program to middle-class families, doing so in response to budget shortfalls.[5]

IDEAL Scholars Fund[edit]

The IDEAL Scholars Fund was established by four alumni to increase the number of underrepresented minorities at UC Berkeley. The Fund tries to counter the perceived effects of California Proposition 209, which ended Affirmative Action in California and in the University of California system. Some claimed there was a reduction in the numbers of Latino, African American and Native American students and rekindled their activism on campus concerning issues of race. However, supporters of Proposition 209 have noted that the number of Asian American students, a small minority group nationally but a large minority group in California, has dramatically increased following its passage. Racial preferences remain a controversial topic, with some students supporting them while others are opposed to what they see as reverse racism, especially against Asian American students.[citation needed]

Graduate aid[edit]

The UC Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office offers resources for both graduate and professional students.[3]

Resources for undocumented students[edit]

AB 540[edit]

All California public schools admit people who do not hold legal documentation of residency. Students and potential students without documents do not qualify for federal or state financial aid, and should not fill out a FAFSA, because doing so may be grounds for deportation.[6] Students and potential students without documents can still apply for private aid and some university aid, and some may qualify for in-state tuition (rather than more expensive out-of-state tuition) due to the 2001 passage of California's Assembly Bill 540, also known as AB 540. In order to qualify for in-state tuition, students must:

  • Have attended at least 3 full academic years at a California high school (these 3 years must be between the grades of 9 and 12, and need not be consecutive);
  • Have either graduated from or will graduate from a California high school, obtained a GED, or passed the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE);
  • Register at or be enrolled in an accredited institution of public higher education in the state of California;
  • File or plan on filing an affidavit stating that they will apply for legal residency as soon as they are able to;
  • Not hold a valid non-immigrant visa.[7]


UC Berkeley offers a scholarship for undocumented undergraduate students, called the Berkeley Undergraduate Dream Act Scholarship.