After submitting a FAFSA or CADAA and having all financial aid related To Do List items cleared, you have now been awarded your financial aid package for the school year! But what does it all mean?
What awards available for students?
There are four different financial aid awards a student may receive:
- Grants - Free funding determined by EFC on financial aid applications
- Loans - Funds that are taken out now and paid back later
- Federal Work Study - Funds that are earned by being employed in a Work Study position
- Scholarships - Free funds awarded by SF State campus departments or outside organizations
A big factor that determines what and how much a student is awarded is their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number - Found on their financial aid applications. The EFC is an estimated measure of how much a student and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of their education.
We use the EFC to determine every student's financial aid eligibility. As an office, we have NO way of controlling that number because the Federal Government bases every student's financial aid package on a specific tax year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding financial aid offers
1.) Log on to your SF State Gateway with your SF State ID and password
2.) Find the Launchpad section of your gateway and click on Student Center
3.) Once at the Student Center, go to the Finances section and click on View Financial Aid
4.) Click on the designated academic year that you will be attending.
EXAMPLE: 2022-2023 school year - Fall 2022, Spring 2023, & Summer 2023
5.) Your can now see your financial aid offer for the academic year you will be attending!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your financial aid offer will always be broken down into two - Half for Fall and half for Spring. There is NO process using all your awards just for one semester (Unless you are admitted only for the Spring semester)
Please keep in mind that Grants and Scholarships are automatically accepted for the student! The only financial aid awards that must be manually accepted are:
- Loan offers (Federal Direct Loans, Parent PLUS Loans, or Graduate PLUS Loans)
- Federal Work Study
In order to accept or decline your financial aid awards, you must:
1.) In the Student Center page, go to the Finances section and click on Accept or Decline Awards
2.) Click on the designated academic year that you will be attending.
3.) Find the awards you would like to take action with and click on the checkbox
4.) Once you've decided on what to do, click on either ACCEPT or DECLINE
This is the big question many families ask - How do I know that my financial aid package will fully cover all my fees? In order to determine whether or not a student is completely covered by the financial aid awards, they must look at a few screens:
1.) On the Student Center page, find your Account Summary section and look at the amount listed in the "You owe..."
NOTE: The amount that you owe in that section should ONLY be for the current semester; unless a student is owing fees from the previous semester.
2.) Once you have the amount you are owing for the semester, go to the Finances section and click on View Financial Aid
4.) Click on the designated academic year that you will be attending
5.) You will now see your financial aid offer for the entire year. However, you want to go the specific semester you are currently attending and look at the Total Accepted amount for that semester
If the total accepted amount is GREATER THAN the charges, then you should be fully covered. However, if the total accepted amount is LESS THAN the charges, then the difference is what you will have to pay out of pocket.
DISBURSEMENT - The payment of a student's accepted financial aid awards towards their current charges all at once.
We will disburse your aid towards a student's tuition charges first and any additional University fees (Ex. On-campus housing fees) after that. Our office disburses any unreleased accepted financial aid every Wednesday for the rest of the semester as long as there is nothing financial aid related on a student’s To Do List or Hold & Alerts sections of their Student Center.
For more information regarding how to view your disbursement, please click HERE.
As mentioned above, a student's accepted financial aid awards will always disburse towards their charges first. A student can only use their awards to pay for other expenses if there are leftover funds after everything is paid off.
If a student is not living on-campus or has any leftover aid after their financial aid disbursement, they should receive their refund from the Bursar's Office based on:
|Enrolled in Direct Deposit||3 to 5 business days from disbursement date|
|Not enrolled in Direct Deposit||1 to 2 weeks as a mailed check from disbursement date (Sent to listed mailing address on Student Center)|