Student Information Sheet

Congratulations on receiving a Governor's Scholarship Programs (GSP) Award!

The Governor's Scholarship Programs provided scholarships to public high school students who demonstrated high academic achievement. Students who performed well on the Standardized Testing and Reporting Programs (STAR) test may have earned a $1,000 Governor's Scholars Award in each of the 9th, 10th and 11th grades. Students who demonstrated high academic achievement in both science and mathematics could have also earned a $2,500 Governor's Distinguished Mathematics and Science Scholars Award.

Governor's Scholarship Programs Awards and Other Financial Aid

You can use your Governor's Scholarship Programs award to meet your costs in financing a post-secondary education at four-year colleges and universities, two-year colleges, as well as vocational, technical, and trade schools. Careful planning on your part can help maximize the value of your Governor's Scholarship and other resources. Your Governor's Scholarship Programs award is designed to complement other financial aid from the State of California, such as a Cal Grant. These awards can be used at any post-secondary institution that is eligible to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Title IV financial aid programs; including schools outside of California.

Planning Your Awards

Unlike many financial aid programs, the Governor's Scholarship Programs allows you to choose when and how to use your scholarship funds. You must be careful about withdrawing your Governor's Scholarship Programs funds, however, because the amount you request must be spent immediately for qualified educational expenses (tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, and board). Be sure to carefully review your options. You may also want to consult a financial advisor. The tips below will help you maximize your scholarship's buying power.

  • Before you request a withdrawal of your Governor's Scholarship Programs award, contact your financial aid office if you have applied for or are receiving other financial aid. They can help you plan your expenses for the year, coordinate your scholarship with other financial aid, and offer you specific advice on how much to request so that your eligibility for grants and other aid may not be reduced.
  • Think about your future educational plans, and request your scholarship when it will benefit you most. There may be times when it would be wise to reserve your scholarship for later.
    • For instance, students may receive multiple one-time scholarship offers in their first year of college. You may want to use your Governor's Scholarship Programs award in later years when these other awards are unavailable. Be sure to check with your financial aid office to see how your college will treat this type of decision.
    • Sometimes your educational costs may increase in future years. This can happen if your educational plans include (1) transferring from a community college to a four-year college, (2) studying abroad, (3) transferring to a high cost vocational program, or (4) attending graduate school. In these situations, you may want to use your scholarship when you incur the higher expenses.
    • Remember, you may withdraw your scholarship funds at any time prior to your 30th birthday. The original award amount will continue to earn interest and grow in value as long as it remains in your Governor's Scholarship Programs account within the Golden State ScholarShare College Savings Trust. Any funds that remain in your account after your 30th birthday will be forfeited.
  • Spread the money out over an academic year by requesting one-half or one-third of your award for each academic term, instead of making a single withdrawal at the beginning of the academic year. Qualified educational expenses are typically incurred at the beginning of each academic term. As a result, it may be wise for you to withdraw your scholarship funds in equal parts throughout the academic year. By withdrawing your scholarship over an academic year, you can avoid requesting the funds too soon or an over disbursement that could potentially have tax consequences. For information on the potential tax consequences, please review our website and check with your financial advisor or accountant.
  • If you withdraw any portion of your Governor's Scholarship Programs award (including earnings) to pay for room and board, that amount will be subject to federal income tax in the year it was withdrawn. Therefore, you may want to use other funds to pay for room and board and reserve your Governor's Scholarship Programs funds for payment of tuition, fees, books and supplies.

This document was developed by a working group of financial aid experts that were convened by the Secretary of Education. This working group consists of representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Education, the California Student Aid Commission, ScholarShare Investment Board, University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, Independent and Proprietary Institutions and the California Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

December 14, 2001