Occidental College has launched a new effort to increase the affordability of an Occidental education for low- and middle-income California families.
Beginning this fall with the entering Class of 2026, students who qualify for a Cal Grant will have 100% of their tuition covered by the College.
Because Occidental meets 100% of every student’s demonstrated need based on the total cost of attendance, for many students, a significant portion of the cost of room and board will also be covered by grant aid. With this level of financial support, the cost of an Oxy education can be comparable to that of a state college or university.
We strongly encourage every prospective student from California to use our Net Price Calculator to determine their eligibility for need-based aid. Once you have received your calculation results, we encourage families to apply to Oxy and complete the full financial aid application.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does it work?
Students must apply for financial aid by completing all of the necessary forms and meeting the financial aid deadlines. Students that qualify will have their tuition covered by a combination of Oxy scholarships or grants, federal grants, and Cal Grant. Room and board will also be factored in a student’s financial aid offer and may include a combination of Oxy grant, work study, and student loans.
How do you qualify for a Cal Grant?
Eligibility for the Cal Grant is determined by the California Student Aid Commission. Eligibility requirements include the following:
- submit the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and your verified Cal Grant GPA by Oxy’s financial aid deadline
- be a U.S. citizen, eligible noncitizen or meet AB540 eligibility criteria
- be a California resident for 1 year
- attend a qualifying California college at least half-time
- not have a bachelor’s or professional degree
- have financial need at the college of your choice
- have family income and assets below the maximum levels
- be enrolled or plan to enroll in a program leading to an undergraduate degree or certificate
- be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time
- not owe a refund on any state or federal grant or be in default on a student loan
- maintain the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards as established by the school.
For the latest information, visit the Cal Grant website.
Do you need to re-apply for the Cal Grant Program each year?
Yes. Students must re-apply using the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application by Oxy’s deadline and meet all eligibility, financial, and minimum GPA requirements of the program. College grant assistance may not replace Cal Grant funds lost through a student’s failure to complete the state application procedures or the College’s annual application requirements.
Does this pledge cover all four years of Oxy?
Yes. Students that continue to qualify for Cal Grant will be funded throughout their four years at Oxy. College funding beyond the standard four years will require a reevaluation of a student’s financial aid eligibility.
Does this initiative cover room and board?
No, but room and board expenses are considered in a student’s overall financial aid offer. We meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated need based on cost of attendance, which includes room and board. For many students who qualify, a significant portion, if not all, of room and board will be covered by grant aid.
Are there circumstances where a student with a Cal Grant would not qualify for this benefit?
Students with substantial financial resources will not qualify for this benefit. This may include a contribution from a noncustodial parent, parents’ business assets, or limitations set by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) expected family contribution (EFC).
Is there an asset ceiling?
The Cal Grant Program has income and asset ceilings. More information can be found on its website. Families with significant assets or businesses may not qualify for the full tuition coverage. A careful review of a family’s overall financial circumstance is considered before determining a student’s financial aid offer.
Does this initiative apply to undocumented/DACA students?
Yes. The California Dream Act allows certain undocumented students to apply for and receive state-based financial aid at Caifornia colleges and universities if they meet income and asset guidelines, apply by the priority deadlines, and complete all necessary paperwork on-time. Occidental is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated need for admitted undocumented/DACA students.
Will I still be considered for merit scholarships?
Yes. Qualifying for a Cal Grant does not disqualify a student from being considered or awarded a merit scholarship. Merit scholarships will constitute a part of a student’s overall financial aid offer.
What if I don’t qualify for a Cal Grant?
Oxy meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students. Students seeking financial aid must submit the required application and supplemental documents by Oxy’s deadline to be considered for need based aid.