Fact Sheet | May 12, 2021

Despite Progress, Hundreds of Millions of Federal Pell Grant Dollars Remain Untapped by California Community College Students

At $46 per unit, California community college (CCC) system fees are among the lowest both throughout the nation and within California. Still, the total cost of attending a CCC, which includes books, housing, transportation, and food, is much higher – with non-tuition costs alone exceeding $22,000 annually for many students. While there is now widespread awareness of the need for financial aid to sufficiently cover students’ total college costs, the relatively low cost of CCC fees may lead some students to forgo valuable grants that could help them work less, study more, and complete a degree, certificate, or transfer in a timely manner.

While strides have been made in recent years to increase application rates among CCC students, this fact sheet finds that likely eligible CCC students continue to leave hundreds of millions in Pell Grant dollars on the table, estimating that if all Pell-eligible students filed a FAFSA, approximately $750 million in Pell Grant dollars could have gone to CCC students today.