After submitting a FAFSA or CA Dream Application and turning in all necessary documents, you now have an award offer. But what does all of it mean?
How do I access my award offer?
You will be notified via your SF State email once your financial aid award is available. You can view your awards on your Student Center. To access your awards, follow these steps:
- Login to your Gateway Account
- Under Student heading, select "Financial/Jobs"
- Select "Student Center"
- Under the finances section, select "View Financial Aid"
- Click on the approriate Aid Year
What does my financial aid offer mean?
Financial aid consists of grants, loans, and work study depending on your eligibility.
- We strive to award students up to the Cost of Attendance using a combination of all eligible financial aid types.
- If you have a grant award, these are automatically accepted on your behalf.
If you have loan offers, you may accept your offer by selecting the "Accept/Decline Awards" button.
- You can accept the full offer, or a partial amont. If you accept a partial amount of loans, you are still able to get an increase later on if you realize you need more aid; just see a Financial Aid Counselor at the One Stop Center.
- If it is your first time taking out a loan at SF State, you will have to do a couple of things before you can officially receive your loan. "To Do List" items will be placed on your Student Center shortly after accepting your loans.
"Why do I only have loan offers?"
Some students may notice that they do not have any grants on their award offer. Our grants are need-based. Need is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Students with a higher EFC are not eligible for need-based grants.
Applying for merit based scholarships is a completely separate process from the FAFSA and CA Dream applications. Visit our Scholarships page for more information.
Half of your financial aid is reserved for Fall, and the other half is reserved for Spring.
Please note that all financial aid awards are for the academic year. Half of your accepted aid will disburse in the Fall semester, and the other half will disburse in the Spring semester.
Each financial aid type has an enrollment requirement. In general: You must be enrolled full-time to receive the full amount of grants (12 undergrad, 8 graduate) and half-time for loans (6 units undergrad, 4 units graduate).
How much financial aid do I need?
We get this question all the time, and our answer is it's up to you and your needs. We provide financial aid offers with educational expenses in mind through the Cost of Attendance. However, we cannot determine a student's individual financial needs because we do not know what their actual expenses will be. But here are some things that might be helpful to know:
All students are charged with tuition.
For full-time undergraduate students, tuition is currently $3,505 (additional $396 per unit if you are a Non-Resident or International student).
For full-time graduate students, tuition is currently $4,222 (additional $396 per unit if you are Non-Resident or International student.
For other fees, or a full breakdown of tuition and fees, visit the Bursar's website.
Students living on-campus
If you are living on-campus, you may need financial aid to help pay for housing charges. The Financial Aid Office does not know how much you will be charged for housing, so you would want to contact the Housing office to get the proper information. The Housing office does provide a breakdown of current housing fees on their website, which may help you get a better estimate of what your living costs would be.
Students living off-campus
If you are living off-campus, your financial aid can also be applied toward your off-campus rent. Make sure to accept enough financial aid for both your tuition and estimated rent.
Books/supplies, personal expenses, and transportation
All of these have been estimated and accounted for in your Cost of Attendance, however, these are not things that the University directly charges you for. You can estimate these costs for yourself and determine how much financial aid you would need to accept with these expenses taken into account.
How will my financial aid apply toward my charges?
Your financial aid will automatically apply toward your tuition fees first. Next, if you are living on-campus, financial aid will apply toward your on-campus housing charges. If you are living off-campus, your aid will apply toward tuition first, and you will receive a refund for the remaining aid which you can use to pay for your off-campus expenses.
Any remaining aid after all fees on your account have been paid off will be given to the student (or the parent, if a PLUS loan was part of the financial aid package) in the form of a refund. Set up Direct Deposit in your Student Center for faster receipt of any refund, if applicable.