Eligibility and Your Award

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› Calculate estimated aid amounts.

Calculate the approximate net price you and your family should expect to pay using your own funds.

› Why your award amount may change during the semester.

Report resources you will receive (scholarships, stipends, fellowships, research assistantships, etc.).

› What to do if you have a change in income.

General Financial Aid Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for any financial aid from SDSU you must—

  • be a United States citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible noncitizen,
  • be admitted to a degree or credential program at SDSU,
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress,
  • be eligible for aid according to federal and state regulations,
  • reapply for aid each year.

Calculating Eligibility

The basic calculation used to determine your financial aid eligibility (financial need) depends upon your Cost of Attendance (COA), your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and any other financial assistance you may receive such as private scholarships.


{COA minus EFC minus other financial assistance} = maximum eligibility


Cost of Attendance (COA)

COA is the estimated costs to attend SDSU during the nine-month academic year (see Cost of Attendance). These costs reflect a modest, adequate living allowance.

Your award, including student and parent loans, will never be more than the standard COA. The costs include—

  • basic tuition and fees
  • out-of-state tuition, if not a California resident
  • an allowance for books and supplies
  • average living expenses

Your individual circumstances may vary from the standard COA. In some cases, these costs can be adjusted to allow for your circumstances (see When Student's Expenses Exceed the Award Amount). If a cost increase is approved, the additional funding available to you will be a Federal Direct Student Loan or Parent PLUS Loan

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The EFC is not an actual amount that you pay to the university; it is a calculation of how much you and your family are expected to contribute throughout the academic year to help pay for your educational expenses. How much depends upon you and your family's—

  • taxed and untaxed income,
  • assets (except for the family home),
  • savings and investments,
  • household size,
  • the number of people in your household who are enrolled in college.

The amount you can expect to contribute from your own funds will also depend on the amount of financial aid available to award to you after you have completed your application and provided the requested documentation. Your financial aid award will include federal student loan estimates and may include a Parent PLUS loan estimate.

Other financial assistance/Other resources

The calculation takes into account that you may have other sources of money to use toward your education such as scholarships.

Notify the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships of any assistance you anticipate receiving such as outside scholarships, private education loans (alternative loans), a fellowship, a stipend, or a research or teaching assistantship.

Estimating your financial aid

Find out how much your award may be when you attend college. Remember, your actual award will be based on funds that are available after you submit all documentation requested by SDSU.

How Much
Will You Pay?

Calculate the approximate net price you and your family should expect to pay at SDSU.

Go to the CSU Mentor Web site and fill in the online form. You will be able to estimate how much grant and loan you may be eligible to receive if you attend a California State University (CSU).

Net Price: Based on your cost of attending for the nine-month academic year and your potential grant and loan eligibility, you can estimate the net price you and your family will have to pay from your own funds.

FAFSA4caster: Another tool to obtain an estimate of your family's contribution and how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive on the Federal Student Aid Web site. Just fill in the FAFSA4caster online.

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SDSU Awards

The amount and types of aid you receive depends on many things, including —

  • when you apply,
  • availability of funds from grant programs with limited amounts,
  • whether you are a California resident,
  • your enrolled units.

When You Will be Able to View Your Initial Award

Complete your FAFSA and check AidLink to see any documentation we may need to determine your award. Remember, some funds are limited so respond quickly when documentation is requested.

AidLink Tutorial

Watch this short video -
"How to Use AidLink"

Awarding of financial aid begins in March prior to the academic year for which the aid is being requested.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (OFAS) will send you an e-mail notice instructing you to logon to AidLink to provide required documentation to determine your award, and to review your award when it's available.

Adjustments to Awards After Census*

Initial awards are based on the assumption you will be enrolled full time. Award amounts may be adjusted if you enroll less than full time.

If your award is adjusted, we will send you an e-mail notice instructing you to logon to AidLink to review the modifications made to your award.

You might receive several notices as awards can be changed throughout the year, so logon to AidLink regularly.

*Census is when the university verifies your actual enrollment about 1 week after add/drop.

Adjustment after initial award is made

Information received from other SDSU offices, outside agencies, and from you may change the amount of your award. Depending upon the changes, you may be eligible for less aid than was initially awarded.

Your Initial Award and Adjustments

Your first award notice is based on you enrolling as a full-time student.

Amounts may be adjusted due to your enrollment or other changes. We'll send an e-mail if there are any changes.

We make every effort to adjust your award before your funds are issued to you. However if that's not the case, you may have to repay federal or state financial aid funds that exceed your revised eligibility.

Notice of Ineligibility for Financial Aid

We send you an e-mail notice directing you to AidLink if you are not eligible for financial aid. You may not be eligible because you are—

  • not making satisfactory academic progress,
  • in default on a student loan, or
  • convicted of a drug offense that occurred while receiving federal student financial aid.
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Change in Financial Situation After the FAFSA

If you experience a change in resources, income, or special circumstances not addressed on the original FAFSA, you may submit a Student and/or Parent Request for Review form.

Special circumstances that may be considered

Changes that may justify a review include, but are not limited to,—

  • loss of a job or a substantial reduction in earnings or other income,
  • loss or reduction of child support or spousal support,
  • death, divorce, or separation from a spouse after submitting the FAFSA,
  • one-time income received last year that you will not receive in the current or upcoming year,
  • loss due to recent natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, flood, fire) not covered by insurance, or
  • significant medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Steps to submitting a Request for Review

  1. Download and print a Request for Review form (parent or student).
  2. Read the form carefully and follow the instructions for your situation.
  3. Attach the appropriate documentation and a written, signed statement describing the change in income or resources.
  4. Submit the completed form and documentation to this office.

Important: Be detailed and specific. Make sure you attach all appropriate documentation as specified.

When Student's Expenses Exceed the Award Amount

Actual costs may vary from the standard COA depending upon an individual priorities and obligations.

Certain expenses could be considered for an adjustment to your award (an increase to your student or parent loan), including—

  • childcare,
  • costs related to a disability,
  • extraordinary medical expenses.

Requesting an increase

To request an increase to your standard costs, complete a Student's Request for a Budget Increase form.

Note: An increase of Federal Direct Student and/or Parent PLUS Loan eligibility are usually what is available for an approved request. A request to increase a loan is limited to one per semester for each type of loan.

Declining a Financial Aid Award

All grant awards are assumed accepted.

Activate only the amount of loan you need to meet your expenses for the academic year.

You have the right to decline any or all of your financial aid award.

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