Parents and Families of Undergraduate Students

Families can play an important role in helping their student graduate from college, especially when it comes to financial aid.

While federal and state aid programs expect students and their families to contribute toward college expenses, financial aid can help narrow the gap between your resources and your costs. We encourage all students to apply for financial aid by submitting either a FAFSA or CA Dream Application. Even families who do not qualify for need-based grants may be eligible for loans that have borrower-friendly repayment terms and low interest rates.

Reminder about Privacy and Student Records: Students 18 years or older may review the FERPA for Students page to learn more about their record privacy rights. If interested, students may use MyCSULB to grant information access permissions for third parties, including parents.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This privacy right is vested in the student. FERPA protects the student’s right to confidentiality and limits our ability to release information about their financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships is unable to release information about a student’s financial aid records to any person who is not the student – without the student’s signed, written consent. For information on FERPA, including how students can grant  access to their information, visit FERPA for Students on the CSULB Student Records website.

The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office and Student Financial Services work together as partners in the “financing” process of a student’s education. Through coordination of efforts, we ensure timely delivery of funds, application of funds/payments toward outstanding University–related charges, and release of excess funds.

Financial Aid and Student Financial Services
Financial Aid and Scholarships Student Financial Services
Evaluates eligibility for aid Posts billing statements on MyCSULB Student Center
Awards financial aid and scholarships Emails students regarding outstanding charges
Verifies financial aid application information Receives & applies payments to University charges
Releases funds to Student Financial Services Applies financial aid funds to outstanding charges
Evaluates “Special Circumstances” Manages installment plan
Monitors compliance with Financial Aid Regulations Releases excess funds as refunds

Provide information on financial literacy and budgeting



Provides 1098-T Forms

Many things can influence the costs of attending college. At CSULB, students are given a cost of attendance, which reflects the estimated expenses for the fall and spring semesters. This information is based on the academic program of the student and their housing plans as indicated on their financial aid application. Review the current Cost of Attendance.

The cost of college can include a variety of items, including some you might not expect. By understanding college costs, you can explore options for how to lower your costs. You should work with your student to develop a budget to help your family understand the impact of college costs. This process can ensure you are financially prepared for the investment that is a college degree. Learn about what is included in the cost of college and ways to reduce college costs by watching a video.

There are four basic types of financial aid available: scholarships, grants, employment, and loans. Financial Aid and Scholarships will determine your student’s eligibility for awards based on the information from their aid application. As we are made aware of scholarships that have been awarded to a student, we will add those to the award package, and make any necessary adjustments to other awards – as total awards cannot exceed the student’s cost of attendance budget. Review information on the various types of aid programs at CSULB.

Although your student must be admitted before they can receive a financial aid offer at CSULB, they should apply for aid before being admitted.  Your student can file the financial aid application (FAFSA or CA Dream Application) as early as October 1 each year.  The poriority deadline for consideration of California or CSULB Grant aid is March 2. Some awards have limited funding, and are awarded on a first come, first served basis – so apply as early as possible to be considered for all types of aid.

All award notifications, correspondence, and information regarding financial aid are sent to your student by email and through their MyCSULB Student Center.

Your student's financial aid application (FAFSA or CA Dream Application) is based on income and resources from a prior tax year. We realize that students and families may have extraordinary circumstances and that financial situations can change – and that these changes may not be reflected on your student's aid application.

These changes to income or resources could significantly impact your ability to meet your student’s educational costs. We are here to assist you and can guide you through the process of submitting an Income Appeal to have your situation (and possibly financial aid) re-evaluated.

In order to have a Special Circumstance Appeal reviewed, you student must be admitted. You can find appeal forms available on the Enrollment Services Forms page starting in April.

Follow up on your student's financial aid application to ensure there are no surprises!

  • Make sure your student has applied for financial aid
  • Make sure they are checking their To Do list items on their MyCSULB Student Center
  • Make sure your student is checking their email regularly to see if we have contacted them, especially during spring and summer as we are reviewing applications and sending out requests for information
  • Talk about their financial aid award package to see if additional funds are needed based on their cost of attendance
  • Make a budget to ensure your family is prepared for any expenses as needed

After a student registers for courses, tuition and campus fees are calculated by Student Financial Services and typically require a full payment by the published due date. 

Every student receives email notification of outstanding University charges/balance due – until all charges owed to the University are paid. Students should also check their MyCSULB Student Center to find out their balance and the due date.

Even if your student has financial aid, they will receive a notification of outstanding charges. This is to ensure that all students remain aware of the cost of their tuition and fees – even if they have financial aid awards covering those costs.  For those with financial aid, an “Anticipated Aid” amount will display. If your student’s anticipated aid is greater than tuition and fees, no payment will be due until financial aid is released at the beginning of the semester.

Probably the biggest question every student (or parent) has is: “When, and how, do I get my funds so I can pay my fees?

Financial Aid and Scholarships works with Student Financial Services to pay accepted financial aid awards to students. These payments are called “disbursements” and begin the week before classes start each semester.

Once financial aid funds are released, Student Financial Services will credit any financial aid funds against:

  • Outstanding Tuition and Fees Balance (even if enrolled in Installment Plan)
  • Outstanding Housing Balance (even if enrolled in Installment Plan)

Housing Charges: You can have financial aid funds (including the PLUS Loan) applied towards housing charges; however, you must enroll in the Housing Installment Plan. Please contact University Housing Services for more details.

Any financial aid in excess of tuition and fees will be automatically applied to a student’s housing charges – even if they have already signed up for a Housing Installment Plan.

Financial aid funds are first applied toward any outstanding University charges, including installment plans. Any remaining funds will then be issued through the refund process. 

  • Any excess credits for student awards will be issued as a refund via eRefund (for those who have signed up) – to the student – as early as 1 week prior to the start of classes
  • If a student has not signed up for eRefund, they will have excess funds processed as a paper check and mailed via USPS beginning the first week of classes to the home address provided to the University
  • Any excess funds from a Parent PLUS Loan will be issued as a paper check to the Parent Borrower – and will be mailed to the parent via USPS