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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Financial Aid – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – Students are encouraged to submit a financial aid application every year. The following FAQs are available to assist students during their time at CSULB.

 

When Should I Apply for Financial Aid?

You should apply for financial aid every year.

  • The new financial aid application becomes available each October 1st (for the next academic year).
  • The priority filing deadline for the new application is March 2nd (10 pm west coast time).
  • Complete your aid application for each new academic year any time between October 1st and March 2nd to be considered for the greatest number of aid programs.
  • You must file by the priority deadline to be considered for CSULB or California State financial aid.

Do I Have To Be Admitted To Apply For Financial Aid?

No!  You do not have to wait until you’ve been admitted to complete the FAFSA or DREAM Application.   In fact, if you wait until you've been admitted to apply, you may miss the March 2 priority filing date to qualify for CSULB & California State Grant.

  • You can complete the FAFSA or DREAM Application regardless of your admission status
  • You must have an admission application on file with CSULB before we can begin processing your aid application
  • You must admitted to CSULB before we can award you financial aid
  • You must be enrolled in classes at CSULB before we can release your aid

Can I Apply For Financial Aid After The Priority Deadline?

You can apply for financial aid at any time – through the end of the academic year.   When you file your application may impact the type of aid you are awarded.

The awarding of CSULB and California State aid is based on meeting the priority deadline.  If you missed the priority deadline, you will not be able to be awarded from these programs.

  • FAFSA Applicants:   Federal Grants & Federal Loans are available – regardless of when you apply.
  • DREAM Applicants:  You may still want to complete the DREAM Application even if you missed the priority deadline as some scholarships or private loans may require you to have completed the application.

What Does Pending Financial Aid Mean?

Pending Financial Aid is the amount of aid CSULB expects to credit to your student account; it’s displayed on MyCSULB (and your bill) so that you can see how much aid is expected for the semester, and how much you will need to pay toward your account balance.  Your financial aid awards will show as Pending Financial Aid until the funds have been released; the Pending Aid will postpone (or defer) the required payment of your fees:

  • If your pending financial aid is greater than your tuition and fee charges, you do not need to make any payment towards your tuition and fees prior to your aid being released.
  • If you have signed up for an installment plan – you are still required to make any payments that are due until your financial aid is released.  Pending financial aid does not defer your installment plan payments
     

Pending Aid / financial aid cannot be used to pay your enrollment deposit, or your SOAR fee.

What If My "Pending Financial Aid" Does Not Cover My Charges?

If your pending financial aid does not fully cover your tuition and fees, you must pay the difference out of pocket by the fee payment deadlines to avoid being dropped from your classes.

  • If you have signed up for an installment plan – you are still required to make any payments that are due until your financial aid is released.  Pending financial aid does not defer your installment plan payments
  • If you have questions regarding your balance, please contact Student Financial Services in Brotman Hall, or at (562) 985-8280 (select option 4).
     

Financial Aid cannot be used to pay your enrollment deposit, or your SOAR fee.

Is Parent Information Required On My Application?

If you are pursuing an Undergraduate Degree or a Teaching Credential, and you are considered a “dependent student” for financial aid purposes – you will need to report parent information on your application.  For more information on determining if parent information is required on your application take the “Am I Dependent or Independent?” quiz from FinAid.org

What Do I Do If My Marital Status Changes?

If your marital status changes after you file your FAFSA or DREAM Application, you must speak to our office to determine whether an update to your application is required (our office will make the update – if approved).

Note:  Most information on the application cannot be updated because it must be accurate as of the day you originally signed your FAFSA or DREAM Application.  There are a few exceptions – contact our office if you feel a change is required.

What If My Financial Situation Changes?

Admitted & Current CSULB students who can document a significant change in income or resources should contact our office for information about submitting an Income Revision Appeal.

Our counselors can help with the appeal process that allows us to evaluate the impact of your special circumstances on you & your family’s ability to pay for college.

The appeal process is available beginning in February – prior to when the awarding process begins. You do not have to have been awarded in order to submit an appeal; however, if your application has been selected for verification by either Federal Student Aid or the California Student Aid Commission, you must first submit all required documents before your appeal can be reviewed by our office.

Do I Have to Be Enrolled Full-Time To Receive Financial Aid?

No. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive most types of aid; however some awards may be reduced if you are enrolled less than full-time. Your official enrollment will be verified at university census (approximately the end of the 4th week of each semester).

At CSULB, full-time and half-time enrollment for financial aid is defined as follows:

  • Undergraduate and/or Credential Students
    • Full-time = 12 units (or more)
    • Half-time = At least 6 units
       
  • Master’s Degree Students
    • Full-time = 8 units (or more)
    • Half-time = At least 4 units
       
  • Doctoral Students
    • Full-time = 6 units (or more)
    • Half-time = At least 3 units

What Happens if I Add a Class After My Aid Has Been Released?

Changes in enrollment may result in a change to your tuition & fees or to your financial aid eligibility.

  • If you add a class after your aid has been released, you will be responsible for paying any additional tuition and fees.
    • If the additional course increases your eligibility for aid, the additional funds can be applied to your tuition & fees.
    • If there is no increase in aid eligibility – you will need to pay the additional tuition & fees yourself.

If I Withdraw From A Class Will My Aid Be Impacted?

If you withdraw from one or more classes during the semester an adjustment of your awards may be required.If your aid is adjusted – you may have to repay some (or all) of the aid you already received.

Dropping a class can also impact your eligibility to receive aid in future semesters.Review our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) page for more information.

You should always contact our office, before dropping a class, to determine what impact your decision may have.

Is There Financial Aid Available During the Summer?

Summer is considered to be the end of the academic / aid year; as a result, there is limited funding available for current CSULB students attending the Summer semester.

Summer financial aid funding is limited to federal and private loan programs only. Eligibility for federal loans will depend upon your remaining/unused loan funds from the Fall and Spring semesters. Private loan eligibility will vary from program to program.

Financial Aid Available for Summer Semester

  • Federal Direct Student Loans: Undergraduate and graduate students may be eligible if they have not used their annual (or lifetime) limit for their grade level during the current academic year.
  • Federal Grad PLUS Loans: Students enrolled in a Graduate Degree program may apply for a Summer Grad PLUS Loan to help with the cost of attending classes in summer.
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Parents may apply for a Summer Parent PLUS Loan to help undergraduate students with the cost of attending summer session.

As a reminder, you must be enrolled at least half-time during the semester in order to receive aid.

What Should I Do If I Am Starting a New Program?

If you are starting your program in the fall semester, you should submit your financial aid application by the March 2nd priority deadline and complete any documents requested from our office.

If you are starting your program in the spring semester, you should submit your application as early as possible. You should also notify our office if you are graduating from one program at the end of the fall semester and starting a new program in the spring.  

Can I Receive Some of My Spring Aid During the Fall?

Financial aid is awarded based on your planned attendance.If you will be attending both Fall & Spring semesters, your aid must be split between the two semesters.

  • If you will be graduating at the end of the Fall semester you can have us re-award your aid based on Fall only enrollment (once your Fall graduation date is approved by CSULB).
  • If you were originally offered aid for the fall and spring semesters and end up not attending the fall semester, notify our office so we can re-award your aid for the spring semester only.
     

What Do I Do If My Loans No Longer Appear on MyCSULB?

Any loans that you have been offered will show on MyCSULB until:

  • You decline the loan offer
  • You pass the deadline to accept your loan offer
  • Your loan offer is cancelled (by our office)
     

If you would like to accept a loan offer, but the loans no longer appear on MyCSULB, you may be able to have them re-offered.  Contact our office via phone at (562) 985-8403, or in-person at the Financial Aid Windows in Brotman Hall and ask about the availability of the Award Adjustment Request form.

What If I Plan to Take a Leave of Absence?

If you take an approved Leave of Absence from CSULB, notify our office so that we can re-award your financial aid based on your actual expected enrollment (Fall only, Spring only, or Not Attending).

In addition, when you are enrolled less than half-time, the grace period on any education loans you have borrowed will begin.If you do not enroll for at least half-time study before the end of your grace period, your loans will enter repayment.

If you plan to attend another school, aid that has been awarded and/or received at CSULB for the semester could impact your ability to receive aid at the other school.  

What If I Am Going to Be Enrolled Less Than Half-Time?

An enrollment status of at least “half-time” is required in order to receive funds from California State & CSULB aid programs, as well as most Federal aid programs.

  • If your enrollment for a semester never reaches half-time status – your aid will not be released.
  • If you drop below half time status after aid has been released, you may be required to return some (or all) of the funds.
     

In addition, when you are enrolled less than half-time, the grace period on any education loans you have borrowed will begin.  If you do not enroll for at least half-time study before the end of your grace period, your loans will enter repayment. 

If you plan to attend another school, aid that has been awarded and/or received at CSULB for the semester could impact your ability to receive aid at the other school.   

Can My Aid Be Transferred to Another School?

Financial Aid funds and information is not transferred from school to school. Each school will determine your eligibility for assistance.

  • If you need your financial aid information (FAFSA or DREAM Application) sent to another school, you must add the school code to your current aid application. 
  • If you are leaving in the middle of the academic year, you must cancel your financial aid here in order to be awarded funds at another school.   Contact our office to complete an Award Adjustment Request Form to cancel your financial aid at CSULB.