Students and Parents



Ways We Can Help

1. Direct students and parents to K-12th  and college resources
2. Assist students in applying for federal financial aid and student loan programs
3. Provide information about our Washington, D.C. or California internship program
4. Facilitate entries to the Congressional Art Competition and Congressional App Challenge
5. Inform students on how to apply for the Congressional Award
6. Nominate applicants to the service academies

Kindergarten–5th Grade

6th–12th Grade


  • Prepare for College — Start by defining your goals and interests, understanding college costs, and planning financially and academically.

Parents and Teachers

Federal Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, which is the largest provider of student financial aid for higher education in the United States. Each year, Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to more than 15 million students. 

  • Types of Aid — View information about the types of aid available from the federal government and other sources: grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs, and learn how to lower your costs when you go to college.
  • Who Gets Aid — Find out who gets aid, how to stay eligible, and how to get eligibility back if you’ve lost it.
  • Apply for Aid — Learn how to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), how aid is calculated, and how you’ll get your aid.
  • Repay Your Loans — Choose a repayment plan, pay on time, avoid default, and get help with problems.

For additional questions, please call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FEDAID (1-800-433-3243).

Cal Grants

The State of California funds the Cal Grant program. These grants are available to eligible California high school students applying for post-secondary education in the State of California. Eligible institutions include the Community College system, California State University system, University of California system and private universities within the state.  

Cal Grants provides additional information about:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • Workshops for applying
  • Financial aid resources for undocumented students

Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in applying for Cal Grants. 

Loan Repayment

You can choose a repayment plan, pay on time, avoid default, and get help with problems here.

What are the types of federal student aid?

There are two basic assistance categories: need-based and non need-based. Need-based aid is heavily determined by your family's income and is a supplement for family resources. It is important to remember that students and their parents are responsible for paying what they can. Non need-based aid is awarded to students based on factors that include academic excellence, ethnic background, or organization membership. 

There are three types of federal student aid:

  • Grants: funds that do not have to be repaid (typically need-based)
  • Work-study: money that is earned by working on, or near, campus while attending school
  • Loans: money that must be repaid with interest.

How do I know if grants, loans and scholarships are real?

Beware of scholarship scams. The FAFSA is free so there is no need to pay a third party to fill it out for you. For additional information about financial aid fraud or to report fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Do I need to reapply every year?

Yes, you must re-apply for federal financial aid every year. It is important to keep copies of all forms and correspondence for each year's application and awards.

Is there an age limit for receiving federal student aid?

There is no age limit and almost everyone is eligible for some type of federal student aid. Federal student aid does not require a credit check either.

Please visit Student Financial Aid Resources for additional tips, search engines for scholarships, checklists and more.

Congressional Internships

Washington, DC

In the Washington, DC office, internships run throughout the fall, spring or summer semesters for college students. Although all internships in all offices are unpaid, students gain invaluable work experience. The hours are flexible to accommodate students' hectic course schedules, but generally run 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Interns’ responsibilities will vary. They will be asked to answer phones, run errands, research legislation for the Member and legislative staff, attend hearings and briefings, collect press clips, and answer constituent letters on various issues before the House. As a result, interns learn about the legislative process and the many other functions of a congressional office.


In the District office, interns may be asked to do a variety of things, including day-to-day office work such as answering phones, writing letters and assisting with media clips. In addition, interns may be assigned to assist in constituent casework or work on district-based projects of importance.

If you would like more information on Congressional Internships—please contact our office.

To apply to a Washington, D.C. or District internship, click here.


Congressional Art Competition

Each year, Congressman DeSaulnier hosts the Eleventh Congressional District High School Art Competition and Exhibition. The exhibition is a juried art show, open to high school students from public and private schools in the Eleventh Congressional District of California, as well as high school students home-schooled within the district. We encourage students from every school to participate in this exhibition.

The rules, checklist, and release form for the competition are available here.

Congressional App Challenge 

Established by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this competition is a nationwide event intended to engage students’ creativity and encourage their participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. This competition allows students to compete with peers in their own district by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app”, for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. By encouraging and recognizing our nation’s young programming talent, Congress hopes to shine a light on the growing importance of these skills.

To participate, and for additional information, please click here.

Congressional Award

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. The program is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds; young people may register when they turn 13 1/2 years old and must complete their activities before their 24th birthday. Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Medals. Each level involves setting goals in four program areas; Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration. Earning the Award is a fun and interesting way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you’d like to try for the first time. You move at your own pace – on your own or with your friends. This is not an award for past accomplishments. Instead, you are honored for achieving your own challenging goals after registering for the program.

Regardless of your situation, you can earn the Congressional Award. The Congressional Award has no minimum grade point average requirements. It accommodates young people with special needs or disabilities who are willing to take the challenge 

For more information about the Congressional Award program, visit their website.

Military Academy Nominations

Each year, Congressman DeSaulnier may nominate up to ten individuals for each vacant academy slot allotted to our district to four of the five service academies (The U.S. Coast Guard Academy accepts candidates based on their own testing criteria). You can read more about this process here.

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