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Upcoming Financial Aid Events and Deadlines:

Sierra College Financial Aid Workshops:
Sierra College CA Dream Act Workshops:
Financial Aid Information for Sierra College & More Scholarship Opportunities:

card header iconCalifornia Dream Act

California Dream Act: AB 540 eligible students attending college in California may apply for and receive student financial aid from both publicly (including Cal Grants) and privately funded sources.  Students may complete the Dream Act Application online for 2018-2019 assistance at in lieu of the FAFSA.  Check the California Dream Act Application Worksheet for more details.  Student's GPA must still be submitted (without a social security number) from their high school.  Check your eligibility for Federal Financial Aid if you are a non-U.S. citizen.    
The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) notified Financial Aid Administrators and High School Counselors that the parent signature option of the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) is not functioning properly when using the Mozilla Firefox browser.  The following web browsers should be used for optimal compatibility *Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9.0 or higher *Google Chrome version 24.0 or higher *Apple Safari version 5.0 or higher. 
Who are undocumented students?  Financial Aid information and undocumented students.En Espanol
Male students may also register for the Selective Service through the California Dream Act Application.  Solicitud Dream Act de California Applicacion en Espanol 
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card header iconEOP (Education Opportunity Program)

Educational Opportunity Program or EOP:  Only historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged undergraduate students who need admission assistance or support services to succeed in college are admitted to EOP.  They must demonstrate academic potential and motivation, be California residents or qualify for an AB540 nonresident tuition exemption, and meet the income criteria stated.  (All CSU's have the EOP Program).  


If you are a dependent of a California military veteran, you may qualify for tuition fee waiver under the California College Fee Waiver program (formerly known as Cal Vet Program).  California College Fee Waiver Application.

You may qualify for all resident tuition & fees for a public school or the higher of the actual tuition & fess or $17,500 per academic year for a private school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill Yellow Ribbon Program.  Institutions that voluntarily enter into a Yellow Ribbon Agreement with VA choose the amount of tuition and fees that will be contributed. VA will match that amount and issue payment directly to the institution.  Only veterans entitled to the maximum benefit rate (based on service requirements) or their designated transferees may receive this funding. Active duty service members and their spouses are not eligible for this program (child transferees of active duty service members may be eligible if the service member is qualified at the 100% rate).  Therefore, you may be eligible if:

  • You served an aggregate period of active duty after September 10, 2001, of at least 36 months;
  • You were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and you served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001;
  • You are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on a veteran’s service under the eligibility criteria listed above.

 For elegible military dependents, you may also qualify for the GI Survivors and Dependents Assistance (DEA).  The program offers up to 45 months of education benefits. These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. Effective October 1, 2013 some DEA beneficiaries may be eligible for 81 months of GI Bill benefits if they are eligible for more than one education benefit. For more information click here.

For the Veterans Education Benefits and/or Chapter 35 use the VONAPP (Veterans Online Application).  The application forms in VONAPP are now available on and on  Due October 1.  


What your students should include and what they are not required to list as assets on the FAFSA.
Some students and families across the country often struggle with completing the FAFSA form. Questions often include items such as what to list and/or not list as assets on the form.
The following information was taken from the FAFSA for 2017-2018.  For more information refer to the FAFSA Asset Declaration 2017 -2018 Information, notes for questions 42-43, 45 (student) and 91-92 (parent).
List this:
  Not that:
Balance of Cash, Checking and Savings Accounts, Certificates of Deposit (CD's), (Do not include student financial aid)
Business and/or investment farm value includes market value of land, buildings, machinery, equipment, inventory, etc.  Business and/or investment farm debt means only those debts for which the business or investment farm was used as collateral.
Value of your family home
Investment Farm value does not include the value of a family farm that you (your spouse and/or your parents) live on and operate. 
Business value does not include the value of a small business if your family owns and controls more than 50% of the business and the business has 100 or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees.
Stocks, Stock Options & Bonds, Other Securities, Installment and land sale contracts (including mortgages held) Commodities, etc.  
  Value of Annuities
Mutual funds, Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA).  Do not include UGMA and UTMA accounts for which your parents are the custodian but not the owner.
  Life insurance plans
Money market accounts 
Non-education IRAs
Real estate investments 
401(k) plans
Keogh or other retirement plans, Pension Funds
Education savings accounts owned by your parents, including
Coverdell savings accounts,
529 College Savings Plan (ScholarsShare 529) and the refund value of 529 prepaid tuition plans
If 529 College Savings Plan (ScholarShare 529) is owned by someone other than parent or student, only include amount distributed (in question 45j), UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the custodian, but not the owner. 
* You must report contributions for the reporting tax year to any tax-deferred pension or savings plan.
*Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA application cycle, students or parents (if applicable) will be asked if they received Medicaid during 2015 or 2016. Medicaid has been added to the list of Means-Tested Benefits on the FAFSA. The list also includes SSI, SNAP (also known as CalFresh in California), Free or Reduced Price Lunch, TANF (also known as CalWORKS cash benefits in California), and WIC.

card header iconSAVING FOR COLLEGE

Check out information on saving for your child's education with Saving Early = Saving Smart! Watch Your Money Grow With Your Child Brochure.  Ahorrar desde temprano = Ahorrar de manera inteligente  En Espanol

Tax benefits and educational expenses
: Information on deductions for interest paid, American Opportunity Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Coverdell and 529 programs.  OR IRS Tax benefits and deductions.
For IRS clarification on Scholarships and taxation click here.      

Trusts and Financial Aid Information
. How to determine which trusts must be claimed and by whom.

Ways to Save for College
 to include Savings, Treasury Bonds, 529 Plan, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, etc.

card header iconThe American Opportunity Credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit- Update May 31, 2013 — to reflect the fact that the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which was to expire at the end of 2012, was extended through December 2017 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for a tax credit, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, to pay for college expenses.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit modifies the existing Hope Credit. The AOTC makes the Hope Credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

The full credit is available to individuals whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. These income limits are higher than under the existing Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.

The AOTC applied to tax years 2009 and 2010 under ARRA. The credit was extended to apply for tax years 2011 and 2012 by the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the AOTC for five years through December 2017.
You may also click here for additional information on American Opportunity Tax Credit.

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  • Tuition/Fee Information for UC's
        This chart estimates the cost of attending UC for one year as a California resident undergraduate. For a significant proportion of UC students, these expenses are offset by grants and scholarships. And UC's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan ensures that, at a minimum, systemwide tuition and student services fees are covered for eligible students with parent total income of $80,000 or less.

  • UC Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP)
        UC BERKELEY MIDDLE CLASS ACCESS PLAN (MCAP): The Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan (MCAP) is a new financial aid program to help middle-class families pay for the growing cost of an undergraduate degree. For families whose gross income ranges from $80,000 to $150,000 annually and who have typical assets, the groundbreaking plan caps the contribution parents make toward the total annual cost of a UC Berkeley student’s education at a maximum of 15 percent of their total income. Many parents in this income range will be asked to contribute less than the 15 percent cap. We encourage eligible families of both currently enrolled and prospective students to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application if they wish to be considered for the Berkeley Middle Class Access Plan. UC Berkeley began making MCAP awards in academic year 2012-13.          Please note:  The UC Berkeley's Middle Class Access Plan is different from the State of California-sponsored Middle Class Scholarship.