Types of Awards

College of the Desert offers a variety of financial aid programs. The Financial Aid Office is required to confirm your financial aid eligibility prior to awarding a student financial aid. Funds will not be disbursed until all conflicting items have been resolved.

Note, if your income has significantly changed from the data you input on your financial aid application (such as loss of job) or you have a special circumstance, please reach out to the Financial Aid Office as you may be eligible to request a professional judgment. 

To confirm financial aid eligibility, a student:

  1. Must declared a program with Admissions & Records Office. Students with undeclared/undecided program, or an ineligible program will not be awarded financial aid and/or have funds disbursed.

  2. Must be enrolled full-time status, 12 or more units, per semester to qualify all their aid. If you enroll in fewer units, your financial aid will be adjusted based on your enrollment.

  3. Must attend the Fall and/or Spring semesters of the current academic year. Financial aid offered for the academic year will be divided by the two semesters. Changes in your enrollment will impact your financial aid eligibility. Notify the Financial Aid Office if you do not plan on enrolling for specific term/year.

Show All Content

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 CCPG:

  • 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 determined to be homeless within the last 24 months preceding their admissions application.

The Cal Grant is a California-specific financial aid allocation that does not need to be paid back. Cal grant applicants must apply using the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application by the deadline and meet all eligibility, financial, and minimum GPA requirements of either program. Visit California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) for more information.

There are three kinds of Cal Grants - A, B, and C - your eligibility will be based on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act application responses, your verified Cal Grant GPA, and type of California college you list on your application and whether you're a high school graduate. Note, these funds are limited funding is limited.

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.

If you missed the March 2nd filing deadline, you may still qualify by meeting the September 2nd deadline for community college students only.

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.

GPA Verification: 

  • College of the Desert automatically sends verification of GPAs every February for all students who have completed as 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.

Note, 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.

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 $2,596 annually if they are in 12 to 14 units and $8,000 annually if they are in 15 or more units. Foster Youth students that are in 12 units or more will receive $10,500 annually. 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.

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 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 1st 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.

The DSIG program encourages California Dream Act Application students with Cal B awards to perform community service. Students must complete 150 hours of community service to receive the grant for $3,000 annually. For more information, review the DSIG webpage. 

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:

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.

The Federal Work-study 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.

College of the Desert participates in the U.S. Department of Education's federal student loan program called William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. We offered both federal direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. These type of awards are not offered automatically to students rather students who are interested in a Direct Loan will need to contact the Financial Aid Office to initiate the request process.

This is NOT FREE money. Borrowed loans will need to be PAID BACK.

Subsidized loans:

  • Loans available to eligible students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college.
  • The U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest:
    • while you're in school at least half-time (6 units).
    • for the 1st 6 months after you leave school (grace period).
    • during a period of deferment.

Unsubsidized Loans:

  • Loans available to eligible students but eligibility is not based on financial need.
  • You are responsible for paying the interest on a Direct Unsubsidized loan during all periods.

For more information about the Federal Direct Loans, visit studentaid.gov for more details.

How to Apply for Direct Loans?

Before applying, students must review the 2023-2024 Loan Information Guide for our Federal Direct Loan program.

Applying for and receiving a loan is a serious obligation, so before you apply for a loan, it's 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. Federal student loans should be a students last resource.

Student must be MEET the following:

  1. Current academic year FAFSA with completed file
  2. Meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress
  3. Actively enrolled in at least half-time (6 units)
  4. Declared an Associate Degree (AA) and complete a Student Educational Plan (SEP)
  5. Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling (first time borrowers)

Contact the Financial Aid Office if you are interested in the Federal Direct Loan program.

Repayment Information:

IonTuition is a third-party servicer under the requirements defined by the U.S. Department of Education. The IonTuition portal helps borrowers manage the repayment of federal and private student loans through a single, user-friendly platform.

IonTuition users receive guidance from self-service planning tools and live counselors to find repayment plans that work for them, including income-driven options. IonTuition monitors your repayment and will notify you of any critical changes, so you can relax and know that you're on the best possible path to eliminating your student loan debt.

College of the Desert participated in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF) and CARES Act funds during the following terms: Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Spring 2023.

Learn more about HEERF/CARES Act funds used at COD.

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.

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.

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.

To ensure all funds are received, please make sure that all scholarship checks are payable to College of the Desert and mailed to Bursar's Office. Visit our Scholarship webpage for emore information.

Once funds have been received, the Office of Financial Aid will ensure that all scholarships have been disbursed to student accounts. Note, all scholarships applied to a student’s account will first be applied to their tuition and fees at COD. All remaining funds will be disbursed to students within 4-6 weeks of fund arrival.

All outside scholarship checks will be mailed to the address College of the Desert has on file. Please be sure to update your address if your address has changed to ensure you receive your scholarship in a timely manner. 

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.

Students may research private lenders online and apply based on individual selection. The lender of your choice will have a loan application process and self-certification/documentation you must complete with your lender. 

Once your lender approved your loan, the lender will send an electronic certification request to the financial aid office at College of the Desert. 

The financial aid office will review the application based on meeting eligibility for disbursement(s). The loan will be certified electronically and funds will be sent College of the Desert.

It will take 10-15 days after certifications for funds to be sent to the college. From receiving the funds, it will take between 4 to 6 weeks for a check to be ready for student (mailed or pick up).

If you have any additional questions, you may contact the school or your lender to check the status of your private loan.