Financial aid expert Tammy Oranje shares the scoop on paying for college

There’s money out there to help students pay for college. Lots of it, especially for students who are California residents.

That’s according to Tammy Oranje, director of Financial Aid at Los Medanos College.

Her job, as she sees it, is to make college as affordable and stress free as possible. This means encouraging students to apply for financial aid, even if they think they are not eligible.

“Maybe they think the process is too complicated, or they make too much money,” Oranje said. “But students have great opportunities for financial aid that are easy to obtain – only if they apply.”

The priority deadline to be considered for some state grants and campus-based aid is March 2. However, students can apply for financial aid at any point in the academic year by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). By filling out one of these applications, Oranje says students are automatically considered for any grants they would be eligible for, including California’s tuition waivers.

Grants are money that students do not need to pay back, unlike a loan, and can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other educational expenses.

Students who complete a financial aid application can automatically be considered for the following types of aid:

  • California College Promise Grant: An income-based fee waiver that reduces eligible students cost of tuition to $1 per credit course. Tuition at LMC for in-state students without financial aid would be $46 per credit unit, or upwards of $500 per semester. The typical CPG recipient who takes 12 units, will owe from $15 to $20 per semester.
  • Free Tuition Program: First-time, full-time students may qualify regardless of income. The program is for up to two years of full-time study for eligible students.
  • Pell Grant: Pays up to $7,395 per year for eligible students.
  • Cal Grant: Pays up to $1,648 per year for eligible students.
  • Student Success Completion Grant (SSCG): Eligible Cal Grant recipients automatically qualify for the SSCG if enrolled in 12 or more units. Students enrolled in 12-14.9 units qualify for $2,596 per year and students enrolled in 15 or more units qualify for up to $8,000 per year.
  • Work-Study Grants: Federal and state work-study grants pay up to $5,000 a year and allows eligible students to work part-time while attending college.

The LMC Foundation offers scholarships for continuing and transferring students.

“Through the foundation, LMC offers more than 40 scholarships that pay from $500 to $12,000 per year,” Oranje said. “For these, there is a separate application that can be completed online. The application window for foundation scholarships opens annually from November to February.”

The LMC Foundation also provides emergency financial support to students through the Helping Our Students To Succeed (HOSTS) fund. HOSTS provides financial assistance for students facing unexpected challenges and needing help with basic needs including childcare, food, rent, and transportation.

For more information, visit or call (925) 473-7525.


LMC students receive millions of dollars in financial aid.


  • Over $10.8 million in direct aid to students
  • Over 4,900 students received a tuition waiver
  • Over $5.1 million in emergency direct aid to students


Financial Aid at LMC

Types of financial aid:

  • Tuition waivers
  • Grants
  •   Federal work-study
  • Scholarships
  • Loans

Students eligible to complete FAFSA grant applications are:

Students eligible to complete CADAA grant applications:

  • Are undocumented
  • Have a valid or expired DACA
  • Are a U-Visa holder
  • Have Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • Meet the non-resident exemption requirement under AB 540
  • Apply at