Financial Aid Programs

Students who are eligible for financial aid at College of the Desert may receive any of the following based on their eligibility:

California College Promise Grant:

This is a state fee waiver program that was designed to provide educational assistance for eligible California residents attending a California community college by waiving the enrollment fees. Students can apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Dream Act, or the California College Promise Grant application.

Due to California Legislative requirements, beginning Fall 2016, the California College Promise Grant eligibility will be tied to student academic progress. Students that lose eligibility will be notified via email and can appeal with Admissions and Records. 

Following are the different types of grants for the California College Promise Grant:

  • California College Promise Grant (Method A) - For students receiving various forms of government assistance such as TANF, SSI/SSP or General Assistance. Students applying for the California College Promise Grant A only and no other financial aid, only need to submit a paper California College Promise Grant application available at the front counter of the Financial Aid Office.

  • California College Promise Grant (Method B) - For students meeting specific income requ​irements. Only California College Promise Grant B students can qualify for the EOPS Program. For more information go to the EOPS website.

  • California College Promise Grant (Method C) - For students who have demonstrated financial need per the FAFSA application of at least 1,104.

  • California College Promise Grant (Method D) - For students under the age of 25 that have been deteremined to be homeless within the last 24 months preceding their admissions application.

Cal Grants A, B and C:

These state funded grants are available to California residents that qualify on the basis of merit, financial need and/or vocational program. This funding is limited. In addition to completing and filing a FAFSA, a separate application - commonly referred to as the "Cal Grant GPA Verification Form" - must also be submitted. If students have completed a certain number of units at a college, the school may submit this information on the student's behalf. College of the Desert transmits GPAs electronically every February for students who have completed at least 16 units but less than 24 units called a reestablished GPA or a community college GPA if the student has 24 units of transferrable coursework.

If you missed the March 2nd filing deadline, you may still qualify by meeting the September 2nd deadline for community college students only. Visit the Financial Aid Office for additional information or go online to learn more about Cal Grants. It is recommended that students go to WebGrants4Students to setup an account with the California Student Aid Commission to regularly check on the status of their Cal Grant.

Students awarded a Cal Grant C can only be paid for vocational courses; no funds will be disbursed for general education courses. Other restrictions may apply. For additional information please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Students intending on transferring to a 4-year college or university should not use more than 200% of their Cal Grant award at COD. In order to reserve potential future grant eligibility, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 760-773-2532.

Student Success Completion Grant:

The Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG) is a new financial aid program for Cal Grant B and Cal Grant C recipients attending a California community college full-time (12 units or more). The program is designed to encourage students to maintain full-time status throughout their academic career. On top of the annual Cal Grant B or Cal Grant C award paid to community college recipients, the SSCG pays full-time students an additional $1,298 annually if they are in 12 to 14 units and $4,000 annually if they are in 15 or more units. All full-time community college students receiving Cal Grant B and Cal Grant C will be offered this assistance, and only full-time students can receive this grant.

Chafee Grant:

The California Chafee Grant Program gives money to current and former Foster Youth to use for vocational training or a degree program. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units and are awarded $2,500 each semester. The Chafee Grant Program, also known as the Educational and Training Voucher (ETV), is a federally and state funded program and is subject to the availability of funds each year. The student must have been a Foster Youth between the ages of 16 to 18, have not reached his/her 26th birthday as of July 1 of the award year and have been eligible to receive services from the Department of Social Services Independent Living Program (ILP). Award amounts are based on financial need. Applications can be submitted online.

Federal Pell Grant:

The Federal Pell Grant is free grant assistance that does not have to be repaid. These federal grants are available to assist students in meeting educational costs. Federal Pell Grants are targeted to students with high financial need. Student can only receive a maximum of 6 years of full-time grant towards their undergraduate education, including work at a four year college or university.

Students cannot be paid Pell Grant at 2 different schools for the same enrollment period. This includes overlapping terms.

Students intending on transferring to a 4-year college or university should not use more than 300% or half of their Pell Grant eligibility at COD. In order to reserve potential future grant eligibility, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 760-773-2532.

Effective Summer 2018, students may receive up 150% of their Pell disbursement, click on the video below to learn more information:

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG):

This grant is provided to students with significant financial need. Unlike Federal Pell Grants, FSEOG funding is limited. College of the Desert receives a specified amount of FSEOG funds each school year. Once those funds are depleted, no additional awards can be made to students.

Work-Study (Federal and Institutional):

This program provides part-time work in order to earn money to help pay for educational costs for those students with (federal) or without (institutional) financial need. The amount of a Work-Study award depends on the student's financial need (federal) and the availability of funds at College of the Desert. Pay rates may vary, but will not be less than the current minimum wage. Additional information is available on the Work-Study page of the Financial Aid Office website.

Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Program: 

These are borrowed funds that do have to be paid back, with interest. Applying for and receiving a loan is a serious obligation, so before you apply for a loan, its a good idea to think about the amount you will need for your educational expenses, have a good understanding of how much your payments will be when repayment begins and be aware of the amount that has to be repaid over the years. To qualify for Federal Direct Loans, students must meet all of the requirements for federal financial aid, be enrolled in 6 units at time of disbursement and have eligibility for other grants determined first. Federal student loans should be a students last resource. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you are interested in receiving more information on federal loans.

COD Scholarships:

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, financial need, major, or other criteria as specified by the donor(s) of each fund. The number and types of scholarship awards available, as well as the scholarship application procedures, may vary. Additional information is available on the Scholarship Information page.

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS):

Funded by the State of California, this program is restricted to low-income, educationally disadvantaged students and provides grants, books and counseling services to eligible students. Contact the EOPS Office directly for more information.

Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE):

A California state-funded program designed to encourage single parents receiving TANF/CalWORKS to enroll at college that provides counseling, financial aid and child care assistance to eligible students. Contact the CARE Office directly for more information.


A program at College of the Desert that provides high school graduates in the Coachella Valley two full years of free tuition and fees at College of the Desert. Contact the plEDGE Office directly for more information.

Private loans are credit-based and often require the student to obtain a creditworthy co-borrower. College of the Desert does not endorse any particular lender, students are responsible for researching providers for interest rates, fees, repayment options, etc. that best meet the student's needs. Loans should only be borrowed as a last resort.

For students who do not qualify for a private loan with or without a co-borrower, or do not want to take out a private loan for their balance, a payment plan may be arranged with the Bursar's Office. ​​​​​​​​