Financial Aid Policies
This page acts as a guide to the various policies at CSULB that are related to a student’s initial, and continued, eligibility for financial aid.
Federal regulations require financial aid only be awarded to an undergraduate, graduate, or a professional student once for a previously passed course (i.e. one repetition per class). The University Repeat Policy does not apply to the student when determining if the repeat coursework is eligible for financial aid.
Effective July 1, 2016, federal regulations have changed the Financial Aid Repeat Policy to include graduate or professional students.
Repeat Policy Conditions
- If a student repeats a course that is not eligible for financial aid, a recalculation of aid is completed to exclude the credits for the repeated course
- The policy applies whether or not the student received aid for earlier enrollments in the course
- All repeated courses are counted as attempted units for Satisfactory Academic Progress
What is a Passing Grade?
For financial aid, any grade higher than an “F” will be considered to have passed the course. NOTE: This is regardless of any University or major program policy requiring a higher grade or measure for academic purposes.
- Passing grades are: A, B, C, D, CR (Credit) or Pass
- Non passing grades are: NC (No Credit), I, W, WU, or F
|1st Attempt||2nd Attempt||3rd Attempt||Is the enrolled attempt eligible for aid?|
What do I do if I am repeating a course?
- The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will adjust your financial aid accordingly and will send you a notification letter regarding the adjustment
- Adjustments may result in the repayment of aid. You will be notified regarding repayment of aid, if any is owed due to repeated coursework
- You have the option to change your enrollment, from late registration through Census
- A financial aid hold may be placed on your account preventing disbursement of all aid and requiring you to meet with a Financial Aid Counselor
- We will verify your financial aid eligibility after Census, based on your current enrollment. This may reinstate aid previously adjusted
Effective with the Fall 2013 semester, the California State University has established eligibility limitations on a student’s ability to receive a State University Grant (SUG). These limitations are designed to ensure that students receiving state funding develop and maintain a timely path toward the completion of program/degree requirements.
SUG eligibility is determined annually based upon a student’s Expected Family Contribution; completion of the FAFSA or DREAM application by the March 2nd priority deadline; submission of all requested documents; and is subject to availability of funds. SUG eligible students will be subject to limitations which cover several areas, as outlined below.
Minimum Enrollment Requirement
Students must be enrolled at least half-time in order to receive a SUG payment for any semester. Final enrollment for a semester is measured at University Census, the last day of the add period, which typically occurs on the fourth Friday of the semester.
- Undergraduate students: enrollment in 6 or more units is required
- Credential Students: enrollment in 6 or more units is required
- Master’s Degree Students: enrollment in 4 or more units is required
- Doctoral Degree Students: enrollment in 3 or more units is required
Enrollment at a level below the specified units will result in cancellation of your State University Grant for the semester.
Undergraduate Student Earned Unit Maximum
Students pursuing their initial undergraduate degree are eligible to receive a SUG award for a maximum of:
- First-time, first-year (freshmen) admits: 150 Total Earned units*
- Transfer students with less than 75 transfer units: 150 Total Earned units (CSULB + Transfer)*
- Transfer students with 75 or more transfer units: 75 earned CSULB Units
* The following types of units are not considered against the Undergraduate Student Earned Unit Maximum:
- Pre-Baccalaureate or Remedial Coursework that does not carry baccalaureate credit
- Test Credit (AP, IB, etc.) and Military Credit
Be aware: SUG Unit Maximum is based upon earned units while the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards is based upon attempted units.
Credential Student Earned Unit Maximum
Students pursuing their initial Credential are eligible to receive a SUG award for a maximum of 30 total earned units while enrolled as a Post-Baccalaureate Credential student. This maximum includes all earned units from a prior credential program and any applicable transfer units.
The maximum does not include any units completed in a non-credential post-baccalaureate degree program (Master’s; Doctorate).
The following Credential Programs have an expanded Earned Unit Maximum, based upon the required units for program completion.
- Single-subject Credential student: 42 total earned units
- Multiple-Subject Credential students: 36 total earned units
- Level I: Educational Specialist students: 33 total earned units
Note: Students pursuing a credential that have previously completed a credential program at CSULB or any other university are not eligible to receive a SUG.
Master’s and Doctorate Student Earned Unit Maximum
Students pursuing their initial Master’s or initial Doctorate degree have an earned unit maximum of 125% of the published unit requirement for their degree. To calculate 125% of your degree units, multiply the total units required for your degree by 1.25.
|Degree Units Required||SUG Earned Unit Limitation (125% of Required Units)|
|30 Units Required||38 Units|
|36 Units Required||45 Units|
|45 Units Required||56 Units|
This maximum includes all earned units from the term of admission to a graduate degree program and any applicable transfer units. The maximum does not include units earned while classified as a Credential or Second-baccalaureate student.
Note: Students pursuing a second Master’s or second Doctorate degree are not eligible to receive a SUG award.
Students Pursuing Second Degrees and Certificate Programs
The CSU provides SUG funding only for the completion of a student’s initial degree/credential at any educational level (initial Bachelor’s; initial Credential; initial Master’s; initial Doctorate). Students pursuing a second Bachelors, second Credential, second Masters, or second Doctoral degree are not eligible to receive a SUG award.
Note: This limitation applies to the completion of a previous degree received at CSU Long Beach or any other college/university.
Additionally, students enrolled in a stand-alone Certificate Program are not eligible to receive SUG funding.
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is required by federal law to establish specific standards for measuring Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for students receiving financial aid. Although the academic progress standards are similar to those set by the University or academic departments for all students, the financial aid standards for SAP are not exactly the same, due to the specific requirements of the legislation. In addition to meeting the academic standards for registration, a student must also meet the requirements of the financial aid SAP policy below to be eligible to receive federal, state and need-based institutional financial aid assistance. Scholarships and other awards may also require students to meet these standards.
Overview of the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Standards
Financial aid recipients are expected to make reasonable and timely academic progress toward their declared program objective (degree, credential or certificate) each semester. Progress is measured by the following standards:
- Standard 1: The GPA Standard
Meet the minimum required cumulative grade point average (GPA)
- Standard 2: The Pace of Progress Standard
Satisfactorily complete at least 67% of all cumulative credit hours attempted
- Standard 3: The Maximum Time Frame Standard
Complete a degree/certificate program within the maximum time frame - based on units required in the program
Details of how each standard is measured are found below. It is important to understand that a student’s entire academic history must be considered in these standards regardless of whether or not the student received financial aid for that coursework.
Be aware that eligibility to enroll for classes does not mean that Satisfactory Academic Progress standards for the receipt of financial aid have been met.
Standard 1 – The GPA Standard
Standard 1 is a qualitative measure of progress as measured by the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA). The cumulative GPA includes all CSULB courses that have been graded, as well as any courses from other institutions that have been accepted and posted to the student’s record. CSULB academic policies determine how the GPA is calculated, including which grades count in the GPA calculation and the effect of course repeats on GPA. Students and advisors can see the current cumulative GPA on the student’s unofficial transcript and Academic Advising reports.
To meet Standard 1, students must meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement each semester as listed in the chart below:
|Academic Level||Minimum GPA Requirement|
|Masters & Doctorate||3.0|
|Other Post-Baccalaureate Programs (Credential, Certificate, 2nd Bachelor’s)||2.5|
Standard 2 – The Pace of Progress Standard
Standard 2 is a quantitative measure, which attempts to calculate the pace at which a student is progressing toward program completion. Pace of Progress is measured by the cumulative percentage of courses attempted that are successfully completed for credit. There are two steps in performing this calculation.
Not all credit posted to the student’s academic record is a good indication of the ‘pace’ at which they are completing their program. As a result, the various types of academic credit within the same academic career (undergraduate or post-baccalaureate) are evaluated based on the following:
Types of courses and credit that are included in this calculation:
- All CSULB courses
- All transferable courses from other colleges and universities
- Repeated coursework
- Consortium coursework
- Coursework from Study Abroad programs
- Pre-Requisite coursework
Types of courses and credit that are not included in this calculation:
- Audited coursework
- Military credit
- Credit earned through examination (AP, IB and other test credit)
Based on the courses that are included above, pace is then calculated by dividing the total number of credit hours successfully completed (passed with units earned) by the total number of credit hours actually attempted.
- Total Hours Earned/Completed = all course work where credit is earned with a grade of A, B, C, D, RP, or CR.
- Total Hours Attempted = Total Hours Earned/Completed, including all coursework with a grade of W, WE, WU, F, RD, I, and NC.
To meet Standard 2, students must satisfactorily complete at least 67% of all cumulative credit hours attempted - as calculated above. Pace is a rounded measurement. If your Pace is at 66.5% and above, your Pace percentage will be rounded up to 67% and you will be considered to be meeting the Pace of Progress. If your Pace percentage is below 66.5%, you will be considered to not meet the Pace of Progress.
Standard 3 – The Maximum Time Frame Standard
Standard 3 is also a quantitative measure to determine if the student is actually completing the academic program within a reasonable overall time frame based on units attempted. Students may not continue to receive financial aid once they have reached this standard. It is important to emphasize that once the maximum time frame is reached the student is considered ineligible for further financial aid and must complete their program without the benefit of these financial assistance programs. There are two steps in performing this calculation:
First the maximum units allowed for the academic program must be determined. This is calculated by multiplying the minimum units required for the academic program by 150% to determine the maximum number of units a student can attempt before becoming ineligible for financial aid.
- For undergraduate students:
Most baccalaureate programs require 120 units so the maximum time frame is 180 attempted units (120 units times 150%). Higher unit majors are adjusted based on the minimum units required. Undergraduate students can pursue additional academic objectives (majors, minors, certificates) and receive financial aid as long as they do so within the units allowed for the 'primary' academic major. In other words, extra attempted units are not granted so that students can pursue additional objectives with the baccalaureate degree (Please note: This approach is consistent with the CSULB Undergraduate Timely Graduation Policy; however, this financial aid standard measures units attempted whereas the Timely Graduation policy measures units completed.
- For post-baccalaureate students:
The maximum attempted units allowed is also calculated by multiplying the minimum units required for the academic program by 150%. For students that are officially pursuing a financial aid eligible credential or certificate concurrently with a Master's program, the minimum units required of each program will be added together and then multiplied by 150%.
The total number of units attempted by the student in that academic career (undergraduate or post-baccalaureate) is calculated and compared to the maximum allowed in Step 1. As not all credit posted to the student's academic record can count toward the degree program requirements, the following exclusions/adjustments are made:
- Remedial course work is excluded as is does not carry baccalaureate credit.
- A maximum of 70 units of transferable credit from a 2-year institution is counted based on CSU and CSULB policy.
- Test credit (AP, IB, etc.) and Military credit are excluded.
- Additional transfer credit may be excluded by request if it cannot be used to meet any CSULB degree requirement including general electives.
To meet Standard 3, students must have attempted less than 150% of units required for the academic program as calculated above.
Graduate Students: Impact of Undergraduate Level Courses
Graduate students may be required to complete undergraduate level coursework to resolve pre-requisites or other necessary activities to complete their program of study. Graduate students should be aware of how undergraduate courses impact the three SAP Standards:
- Impact on Standard 1 - GPA
Graduate GPAs are calculated based upon 300-level or higher coursework taken after completion of the baccalaureate degree.
- Impact on Standard 2 - Pace
Graduate students receive degree credit on their transcript for completing coursework at the 300-level or higher. For determining your PACE calculation, any courses attempted at the 100 or 200-level will be considered "attempted" units, but not "completed" irrespective of your final grade. This will negatively impact your PACE calculation.
- Impact on Standard 3 - Maximum Time Frame
The maximum timeframe is calculated using the published minimum degree requirements. If undergraduate coursework is required to complete the program of study, it is expected that it will be accomplished within the 150% maximum timeframe.
Be aware that in order to receive graduate level financial aid in any term, students must be enrolled at least half-time (4 units for Master's Degree students; 3 units for Doctoral Degree students) in courses designated to meet the graduate degree requirements as specified in the catalog.
How Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are Monitored
Satisfactory Academic Progress is monitored at the end of each academic term (Fall, Spring and Summer). Students who fully meet all three standards above are considered in Good standing for SAP. Students who are not meeting the standards will be notified via email of the results and the impact on their aid eligibility.
Students who have reached the Maximum Time Frame (Standard 3) are immediately ineligible to receive additional financial aid assistance. Students may appeal this ineligible status (see “Appeal of the Maximum Time Frame” below). In addition, students who have been academically disqualified or suspended are also not eligible to receive financial aid assistance until formally reinstated to the University.
Students who are not meeting Standard 1 (GPA) or Standard 2 (Pace) are first placed on a Warning status, if they were in Meets status the prior term. A student on financial aid warning will continue to receive financial aid for one term despite a determination that the student is not making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
At the end of the next enrolled term, students on Warning must meet all three standards to be deemed eligible for continued assistance. Students who remedy their deficiency and are fully meeting the SAP Standards will be considered in Good standing for SAP again. If the GPA or Pace standard is still deficient, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid. The student may appeal their ineligible status (see “Appeal after Warning Semester” below). A student whose appeal is approved will be defined as on Probation and may receive aid for one additional term.
At the end of the next enrolled term, students on Probation must meet all three standards to be deemed eligible for continued assistance. This student may appeal this decision which must include an academic plan (see “Appeal after Probation Semester” below). If an appeal that includes an academic plan is approved, the student will be placed on Probation and continued aid eligibility will be monitored each semester based on the details of the plan. Failure to fully satisfy the approved plan in the next semester will make the student ineligible for financial aid. If the student continues to make progress based on the approved plan they will be considered in Good standing. Failure to continue to comply with the plan will result in Probation or an ineligible status, depending on the circumstances. Once students have failed to maintain satisfactory progress based on an approved plan, no further appeal opportunity is allowed. Students can only regain financial aid eligibility if they complete additional coursework without the benefit of financial assistance which brings them in full compliance with the SAP Standards or the approved academic plan.
Impact on the Disbursement of Financial Aid
Financial Aid regulations do not allow for the disbursement of any financial assistance for the next semesters until the campus can ensure that the student will be eligible to receive the financial aid under these SAP standards. As a result, a hold will be placed on the disbursement of financial aid for those students who are at risk of becoming ineligible. This includes:
Students who are on Warning
Students who are on Probation
Students who are being monitored based on an approved academic plan
Students who are approaching the Maximum Time Frame Standard
Once grades are posted and SAP Standards can be monitored, the hold will be released for those deemed eligible. The hold will not be released for those deemed ineligible until such time as an appeal is approved.
Due to the timing of grade submission for Spring and Summer terms, this will mean a delay in the release of funds past the beginning of the next term. As a result, students in one of the four statuses above during a spring term who are enrolled in summer will have summer financial aid held until at least mid-June. Students in one of the four statuses above during a summer term will have fall financial aid held until at least mid-September.
Students in an Ineligible status may regain eligibility as follows:
- Students not meeting the GPA and/or Pace standards may enroll without the benefit of financial aid assistance and complete coursework that improves their cumulative GPA and/or completion rate (Pace) to bring them in full compliance with the SAP Standards
- They may also submit a written appeal that is approved by the CSULB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Request to have Satisfactory Academic Progress Recalculated
If adjustments have been made to the student’s academic record after their SAP status has been calculated, students may request in writing that their SAP status be re-reviewed. This may be necessary when:
- Grades for the term were posted after SAP was calculated
- Grade changes including the resolution of an incomplete
- Transfer credit has been posted
- A change of academic objective
Students who fail to meet these standards and lose eligibility for financial aid can appeal the decision. As part of all appeals, the student is required to provide the following:
- The appropriate SAP Appeal form below including a personal statement explaining:
Extenuating circumstances that led to the student not meeting the SAP standards
What actions the student is taking to ensure future academic progress
- Documentation to support extenuating circumstance(s). Examples of extenuating circumstances include (but are not limited to):
A period of illness or injury for the student
A period of illness or injury for an immediate family member requiring the student’s assistance
Death of a family member
Family difficulties (financial, divorce, etc.)
Additional Information Required
All SAP appeal forms are available on the Enrollment Services Forms page as e-forms.
- Appeal after Warning Semester
SAP Appeal - Disqualified After Warning Form
- Appeal after Probation Semester
SAP Appeal - Disqualified After Probation Form
Detailed academic plan showing how the student will address the SAP standard deficiencies and make reasonable academic progress toward degree. For seniors and post-baccalaureate students, the plan must also show how they will meet all remaining program requirements.
Appeal of the Maximum Time Frame Standard
SAP Appeal - Maximum Time Frame Form
Detailed plan showing how the student will meet remaining program requirements
The complete appeal packet must be submitted to Financial Aid and Scholarships within four weeks of the date of the ineligibility notification. Appeals will be evaluated within 3 weeks of receipt of the completed appeal. Students will be notified of the results by email. If a student wishes to challenge the denial of an appeal, they must provide a clear written rationale for this challenge within two weeks of receipt of the appeal denial to the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The Director will consult with the Associate Vice Presidents of Enrollment Services, Academic Affairs, and/or Student Services, as appropriate in responding to the challenge.
Question 23 on the FAFSA form asks if you have ever been convicted of a drug related offense. Failure to answer this question will automatically disqualify you from receiving federal aid. Falsely answering this question, if discovered, could result in fines up to $20,000, imprisonment, or both.
Conviction for possession of illegal drugs
For possession of illegal drugs, the impact to your financial aid eligibility is:
- First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 1 year from the date of conviction
- Second Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
- Third and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Conviction for sale of illegal drugs
For sale of illegal drugs, the impact to your financial aid eligibility is:
- First Offense: Ineligible to receive aid for 2 years from the date of conviction
- Second and Subsequent Offenses: Indefinite ineligibility from the date of conviction
Conviction for possession and sale of illegal drugs
If convicted of both possessing and selling drugs, you will be ineligible for the longer of the time periods previously indicated.
Convictions that do not count
Unless tried as an adult, convictions received while a juvenile are not considered, nor are convictions that are reversed, set aside, or removed from your record.
How to regain eligibility
You can regain eligibility for federal student aid funds early by one of two methods:
- Successfully complete an approved drug rehabilitation program (recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program), or
- Pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program (recognized as a Federal, State, or local government agency program).
You will regain eligibility on the date of successfully completing the program.
Convictions During Enrollment
According to the United States Department of Education, if you are convicted of a drug offense after receiving federal aid, you must notify the Financial Aid Department immediately and you will be ineligible for further aid and required to pay back all aid received after the conviction.
A federal or state drug conviction for possession, sale, or conspiring to sell illegal drugs can affect your eligibility to receive federal student financial aid (including loans, grants, and work study).
If the offense occurs while you are receiving federal student financial aid, you will lose eligibility for federal student aid for a certain time period, depending on the conviction and whether you have previous convictions.
Drug and Alcohol Policy at CSULB
CSULB’s policies on alcohol, drugs and tobacco can be found on the CSULB Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) website under Campus ATOD Policies.
If you received federal financial aid and withdraw from all of your classes within the first 60% of the term we must recalculate your financial aid eligibility according to a Federally prescribed formula, referred to as R2T4. Because funds are awarded based on your attending the entire term, we must recalculate your award based on the actual number of days you attended. This will determine if you received funds for which you are not eligible.
We recommend that you check with the financial aid office to find out if you will owe a repayment before withdrawing from all of your classes. We can advise you while you are considering withdrawing as to what will happen in your specific situation.
How do I notify Financial Aid that I am withdrawing?
You must officially withdraw from all your classes using the appropriate registration procedures, Dropping and Withdrawing from Classes. When you officially withdraw from all your classes our office is notified. If required, we will do the recalculation of aid for you. If you provided Enrollment Services a signed statement indicating the date you began the withdrawal process or called Enrollment Services and indicated your intent to withdraw, the earliest date will be using in performing the recalculation. This date will only be used for the aid recalculation; it will not be used in possible fee refund determination or recorded as your official withdrawal date by the campus.
What happens next?
We must recalculate your eligibility according to federal regulations for the aid you have received if you withdraw from all your classes within the first 60% of the term (on or before the following dates):
2020-2021 Academic Year
- Fall 2020: October 30, 2020
- Spring 2021: March 26, 2021
- Summer 2021: Calculations will be based on which session(s) and dates the student is enrolled in.
The return of funds by the school is paid from University resources, which may create an obligation from you to the University. Any grant repayment you may owe will be payable to the campus. Any return of loan funds required of you will be in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.
If a fee refund is applicable these funds will first be used to cover any school return of funds, then student portion, with any remainder being issued to you
How will I know the results?
If you owe a repayment, you will receive a billing notice from Student Account Services for the amount of funds for which you are not eligible. If you are eligible to receive additional funds, we will send you a notice explaining the process and your options.
What happens if I owe a repayment?
Until you pay the balance in full: you will not be eligible for further federal financial aid and not be allowed to enroll in any future semesters or access University services (transcripts, etc.).
What is the recalculation process?
The first step is to determine the date you began the withdrawal process. Based on available information, we use the earliest date, which is established as described above.
Based on the date you began the withdrawal process we then determine the percentage of the semester you attended. This percentage is then applied to the aid disbursed or that could have been disbursed to determine the amount you earned. If the amount disbursed to you is less than the amount you earned, we will notify you of your eligibility and give you the opportunity to receive that aid. If the amount disbursed to you is greater than the amount you earned, then unearned funds have to be returned. This may include a return of funds by the school and repayment by you.
Aid will be returned in the following order (as required under regulation):
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
- Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
- Federal PLUS Loan (Graduate Student)
- Federal PLUS Loan (Parent)
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Federal Pell Grant
Remember that this date is only for the purposes of the federal aid recalculation. If you provide notification of intent to withdraw, the date of the notification will not be used in possible fee refund determination or recorded as your official withdrawal date by the campus.
How do you determine the withdrawal date for purposes of recalculating Financial Aid?
During the first two weeks of the term, we use the date you accessed your MyCSULB Student Center and withdrew from all of your classes. After this initial period we are required to use the earliest date that we became aware of your withdrawal. We will determine this date using the earliest of the following:
The date you began the withdrawal process which is the date you obtained the appropriate form from the Enrollment Services website with the intent to withdraw from all registered classes. Since you can perform this action unmonitored (self-service) and the institution cannot determine whether your intent was a partial or full withdrawal, you must provide a signed statement as to this date if you wish to declare the date you began the process. The date you provided official notification to the institution of your intent to withdraw from all your classes by submitting an approved and completed withdrawal form to Enrollment Services. In the event of a medical withdrawal, the withdrawal date is the date indicated by the physician that you were unable to participate in academic activities.
You have received a financial aid refund or financial aid has been applied to your account from any of the following federal programs:
- Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
- Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan
- Federal PLUS Loan (Parent)