About 100 university students — many from colleges throughout the East Bay — will rally Wednesday in Sacramento to protest a proposed cut to financial aid awards for students in private colleges.

The students will lobby the Legislature to protect the Cal Grant award from further cuts. The program offers free money for college for low-income students.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting the maximum Cal Grant award for students in private schools to $7,499 from $8,322, while protecting the award offered to students in public colleges.

The students will rally for equitable treatment.

Students from Mills College in Oakland, St. Mary's College in Moraga, Dominican University in San Rafael, University of the Pacific in Stockton and Santa Clara University are expected to participate.

The rally is organized by the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities.