FAQ

Applying for Aid 

How do I apply for financial aid and what forms should I submit?

The FAFSA and CSS Profile are the financial aid applications that should be completed to apply for federal, state, and institutional aid. By completing the FAFSA, you will be considered for federal and state aid such as Pell Grant, Cal Grant (California students), Federal Work-Study, and federal student loans.

The CSS Profile is only completed by incoming freshmen and is used to award institutional aid.

All students that complete the Common Application to apply for admission to Santa Clara University are considered for merit scholarships. You do not need a separate application to apply for merit scholarships.

What is the deadline to apply for financial aid? When can I start applying for financial aid?

For important deadlines, please visit https://www.scu.edu/admission/undergraduate/key-deadlines/

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available to complete as early as October 1 and should be received by the Federal processor on or before February 1.

For California state students, the deadline to submit the FAFSA to be considered for Cal Grant is March 2.

The deadlines for the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE are November 15 for Early Action/Early Decision or February 1 for Regular Decision Applicants.

FAFSA

What documents and information do I need to complete my FAFSA?

In order to complete your FAFSA, you and your parents will each need to get an FSA ID to access and sign your FAFSA. You will need the following information for yourself (and your parents if you are a dependent student) to answer the questions on the FAFSA:

  • Social Security number
  • Alien registration number, if you are not a U.S citizen
  • Driver’s license number, if you have one
  • W-2 Forms
  • Federal income tax return
  • Current bank statement and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments
  • Records of other untaxed income received, such as Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), welfare or veteran’s benefits
  • Business or farm records, if applicable

Use income records from two years prior to the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid. For example, use 2016 income information to complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA.

Which parent's financial information should I use on the FAFSA?

It does not matter who claimed you as a tax exception. For divorced or separated parents: Give answers for the parent you lived with the most during the past 12 months. (If you did not live with one parent more than the other, then answer for the parent who provided the most support during the past 12 months (e.g. money, gifts, loan, housing, food, clothes, medical, expenses). Child support payments from your other parent will be taken into consideration. If you have a stepparent in your household, their income information must also be provided.  We realize that these situations can be sensitive and complicated. (Please feel free to discuss your individual circumstances with one of our counselors. All information will remain confidential).

For FAFSA, the following people are not your parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians or older brother or sister.

I completed the FAFSA over a month ago but I have not receive anything back. What should I do?

If you are an incoming freshman, financial aid award letters will be sent to all admitted students within approximately two weeks of your acceptance notification.

If you have not received a Student Aid Report from the federal processor within 5 weeks of filing your FAFSA, you can call the federal processor at 1-800-4-FED-AID. You will need to provide your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.

What if I made a mistake on my FAFSA? How can I fix it after I receive aid and what does it mean?

If you make a mistake on your FAFSA, you will need to login to fafsa.gov using your FSA ID to make the necessary corrections.

CSS Profile

What is the CSS/Financial Aid Profile?

CSS/Financial Aid Profile is the financial aid application service of College Board. Santa Clara University uses the information collected on the CSS/Financial Aid Profile to determine eligibility for non-federal student aid funds.

How much does the CSS/Financial aid Profile cost?

All students are charged $25 for the initial application. This covers the cost of creating your CSS/Financial Aid Profile and the first school report. Your will be charged $16 for each additional college or program to which you want information sent.

How do I receive a CSS/Financial Aid Profile waiver?

All waivers are processed by the College Board. When you complete the “Personal Data” response, the College Board (CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE) automatically determines waiver eligibility.

What is Santa Clara University’s CSS/Financial Aid Profile school code?

Santa Clara University’s CSS/Financial Aid Profile school code is 4851.

Do I have to complete the CSS/Financial Aid Profile?

If you feel that you may not be eligible for Federal or SCU aid, then it is your choice to not complete these forms because it is not requirement to be considered for merit aid, however, we do highly suggest that students complete these forms. Merit-based scholarship are not guaranteed, but they are available to any student who shows academic worthiness. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any further questions.

Award Letter

How will you notify my student of his or her award?

All students (except for new students who have not registered for classes yet) are assigned a university e-mail account. Most of our communication with your student will be done via this university account, including notification of the financial aid award. Students will receive an e-mail with directions on how to access their awards online to accept or decline them. If they want a paper copy of it there is a printable version they can download. For new students who have not registered yet and have provided an e-mail address on their admission application, we will be using that e-mail address to communicate with them until they are assigned their university e-mail account.

My financial aid award letter indicates some types of aid are estimated. What does that mean?

Some awards are offered before final confirmation of your eligibility or before we have the opportunity to verify some of the information you provided on FAFSA. An estimated award represents our best judgment of your financial aid eligibility. However, an estimated award is subject to change.

How do I accept my award?

  • Go to www.scu.edu/ecampus.
  • Type your user identification number and your password in the campus login box. If you forget your password, select “Forgot your password?” for assistance.
  • Locate the “Financial Aid” tile.
  • Now select “ Accept/Decline Award”.
  • You will be prompted to “accept” or “decline” terms of use.  In order to proceed, please “accept” the terms. This does NOT accept or decline your award yet.
  • Click on the pencil icon on the left hand side of your screen to view and accept or decline your award.

When will my funds disburse?

Federal regulations prohibit us from distributing funds to a student’s account any earlier than 10 days before the start of classes each term. Once aid is disbursed to the account, it will pay any tuition charges. Tuition is paid each term; likewise, a third of the student’s financial aid is available each term. Any excess will be refunded to the students to be used for other educational expenses such as books, rent, food, etc.

Academic: Issues/Classes

What happens if I have academic or other problems and have to drop classes or drop out of school entirely?

If you have to drop a class, it may affect your eligibility for financial aid for the current term or future terms. If you have to drop out or withdraw from school, you may be expected to repay a portion of the financial aid that was distributed for that term. If you withdraw, some of the funds paid to the school for your fees, tuition, or other charges may be refundable. If you receive financial aid, refunds must first be returned to the financial aid programs according to federal regulations and other program guidelines. Check with the Office of Registrar about procedures for withdrawing.

Award Adjustment/Award Appeals

May I appeal the award offer?

Santa Clara University does not hold either need-based or merit-based scholarship/grant funds in reserve for appeals. All available funds are offered at the time of initial award. Very few appeal requests are granted. To be considered for appeal funding there must have been a significant change in your financial circumstances since the time you filed your FAFSA. The change in circumstances must be documented (for example, ongoing unemployment or excessive medical expenses not covered by insurance). Santa Clara University will not grant an appeal on the basis of higher award offers from other schools. If you choose to submit an appeal based on changed circumstances, it will be reviewed once all proper supporting documentation is received and, if additional funds are available, you will be notified as soon as possible. Please note that an appeal is not a guarantee of additional funds and it may not be possible to let you know the decision prior to the next payment due date (or May 1 deposit deadline for incoming freshmen), therefore, it is advisable to base all decisions on your current award. Information on what types of appeals will be considered by the Financial Aid Office can be found on our website at www.scu.edu/financialaid.

Eligibility

If I do not qualify for need-based aid, what options are available?

If you are not eligible for need-based financial aid, many options are still available. One is to look for merit-based scholarships based on academic or other talents. Additionally, you may consider borrowing through the unsubsidized loan program or having your parents borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS program.

FERPA

What is Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA)?

The family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C., 1232g: 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. This law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education record. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. This is known as being an “eligible student”.

The financial Aid Office is limited to what a student information can be released to parents of all eligible students. The Financial Aid office may not release a student’s award status, award amount and disbursement information of students fund without consent from the student.

For additional information on the FERPA, please visit Santa Clara University’s FERPA Web site at www.scu.edu/ferpa

Independent Students

Who is considered an independent student?

Independent student status for financial aid purposes is very specific and not easy to obtain if you are under age (under the age of 24).   In order to be considered as an independent student for financial aid purposes, you must meet at least one of the following criteria and have supporting documentation:

  • Be over 24
  • Married as of the date you complete the FAFSA
  • Have children who receive more than half their support from you
  • Have dependent(s) other than your spouse or children who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you
  • Have no living parents (biological or adoptive) when you were age 13, even if you are now adopted
  • If you were (or are) in foster care or a ward of the court at any time from the age of  13 or older (even if you are not anymore)
  • If you are a self-supporting unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • A veteran of the U.S Armed Forces, or you attended a service academy and were released under a condition other than dishonorable
  • Currently serving on active duty (other than training) in the U.S Armed Forces

Federal Work Study

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a federally subsidized hourly wage job program that provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.  The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.  Santa Clara University receives an annual allocation of FWS funds from the U.S. Department of Education. 

What is the difference between a federal work-study student and a regular student employee?

The difference between a federal work-study student and a regular student employee is the source of their funding.  A regular student employee is paid from the hiring department’s budget.  A federal work-study student is paid by a combination of federal funds and University funds. 

How can I find out the balance of my Federal Work-Study award?

Student employees are responsible for tracking his/her total wages to ensure that the wages do not exceed the Federal Work-Study allotment.  To determine the remaining balance, sum up the gross pay for all the paychecks in the program year and subtract it from your Federal Work-Study award.  You can always confirm it with the Financial Aid Office by emailing Onestop@scu.edu.

Who is eligible for a Federal Work-Study job?

Students who receive a federal work-study award in their financial aid package.
Students must:
-Be an undergraduate or graduate student
-Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
-Demonstrate financial need
-Complete the verification process
-Meet and maintain eligibility for financial aid

*Due to limited funding, not all students who are eligible will receive this award.

How can I utilize my Federal Work-Study eligibility?

You can utilize your award by accepting your award, inform your supervisor of your work-study status, complete the hiring forms with the Student Employment Office, and start earning your paycheck.

Why should you care about having Federal Work-Study?

-  The subsidy makes you a highly sought-after employee.
-  Work-study earnings are not counted as additional income and therefore, do not count against your aid eligibility when you fill out next year’s FAFSA.
-  Work-Study gives you the opportunity to earn part of your college costs rather than increase your loans.

How do I find a Federal Work-Study job?

Students are not placed into a job.  It is the student’s responsibility to find a FWS job.  Please visit the Student Employment web site at https://www.scu.edu/hr/student-employees/ for information regarding student employment.  Applying for jobs can be done by logging into Handshake. 

How can I get the Federal Work-Study award if it is not in my financial aid package?

You must have a job or be actively looking for a job.  You can email your request to the Enrollment Services Center at OneStop@scu.edu to ask if you qualify for Federal Work-Study and to be awarded Federal Work-Study if there are additional funds available.

What does my Federal Work-Study dollar amount mean?

If you have been offered $2,500 in Federal Work-Study, this is the total maximum amount you can earn in a Federal Work-Study job.  This total amount includes both the Federal Work-Study share and the employer/department’s share.  Anything that is earned over the $2,500 limit is 100% owed by the department/employer.

When can I begin Federal Work-Study employment?

Your financial aid offer may split your Federal Work-Study award evenly for three quarters, but you can earn any or all of that amount at any point during the award year (starting July 1st until the last day of spring quarter).

Can I work more than one job simultaneously?

As long as you do not earn over your award amount, you can split your time between two or more jobs.  Students must also adhere to the student employment policy of not working more than 19 hours per week during the academic term; not more than 40 hours per week during the summer break; and not more than 8 hours per day.  The more you earn/work, the faster you will reach your award limit. 

How much does a Federal Work-Study job pay?

The employer sets the wage rate.  The minimum wage for the city of Santa Clara is $13 per hour.  Pay rates vary depending on the type of job and skills required, but must be at least minimum wage.

With Federal Work-Study, can I work in the summer? 

Yes. You can work using next year’s Federal Work-Study award starting July 1st.

How do I get paid?

You are paid directly in the form of a paycheck twice a month for the number of hours worked.  Federal Work-Study earnings/ funds are not credited to a student account.       

Is my paycheck taxable?

Yes. Federal Work-Study earnings are subject to federal and state income taxes. Student workers are exempt from FICA (Social Security, Medicare, and State Disability Insurance Tax) during academic terms.  During the summer months, students’ earnings are subject to all taxes.

If I don’t work or utilize my Federal Work-Study, can I use it near year?

No. You do not receive the money until you earn it. If you do not use your Federal Work-Study award, it is less likely you will receive it as part of your financial aid the next year.  You may not carry forward unearned Federal Work-Study into the next academic year. 

Can any employer be a Federal Work-Study employer?

Any employer on-campus can be a Federal Work-Study employer.  Off-campus employers must set up a contract with the Financial Aid Office.  Off-campus positions must also meet the Federal Work-Study regulations before the contract can be set up.

Can I keep working if I’m not enrolled or if I graduate?

No, not as a Federal Work-Study student employee.  If you withdraw, graduate, or are dismissed, you cannot continue in a Federal Work-Study position.  If an employer wants to keep you and pay 100% of your earnings without the Federal Work-Study subsidy, that is okay.  That is not consider Federal Work-Study employment.  You must notify your employer of your change in enrollment.

How can I find out the balance of my Federal Work-Study award?

Student employees are responsible for tracking his/her total wages to ensure that the wages do not exceed the Federal Work-Study allotment.  To determine the remaining balance, sum up the gross pay for all the paychecks in the program year and subtract it from your Federal Work-Study award.   You can always confirm it with the Financial Aid Office by emailing Onestop@scu.edu .

Why does my disbursed earnings show less than what I actually earn?

Your earnings are split evenly based on the number of quarters the Federal Work-Study is offered.  If the award is offered Fall, Winter, and Spring, the award dollar amount offered as well as the earnings will be split evenly by three quarters.  To determine your earnings, please sum up all the earnings under disbursed category.

Can my Federal Work-Study award be cancelled?

Yes. Students must start earning and receive a paycheck by November 15 to remain eligible. If no earnings are reflected in the student payroll system by this date, the Federal Work-Study amount will be deleted from your award and offered to other students who have the need and who plan to use it.

What if I would like to utilize my Federal Work-Study award in later quarter or have been unsuccessful in finding a job?

If you are planning to study abroad in the Fall quarter or plan to utilize your award in a later quarter, please email the Financial Aid Office at OneStop@scu.edu to communicate that you are still interested in utilizing your award, but that it would be for a later quarter.

Will I receive the same amount of Federal Work-Study next year?

Federal Work-Study is not guaranteed year to year.  Factors such as family income or financial need, whether you utilize the work-study funds in the prior year, and how much funding our
school receives that year plays a part in determining how much Federal Work-Study you will receive.

What if I earn all my Federal Work-Study award before the award year is over?  Can it be increased?

An increase is not guaranteed.  It depends on the availability of funds and the student’s eligibility.  Please be sure to track your award carefully and plan your schedule with your employer.

Financial Aid for Summer

Can I receive financial aid for attending during the summer?

Yes, but there are limited funds available for summer enrollment periods. Most students use all their aid eligibility during the regular academic year and have little or no remaining eligibility for the summer. If you are interested in financial aid for summer courses, please email OneStop@scu.edu and ask what aid you may be eligible for, but be prepared for the majority of the aid (if not all) to be loans such as Parent PLUS or alternative loans.

Outside Scholarship

What should I do with my outside scholarship checks?

If you are receiving any financial aid from our office, you will first want to contact us directly with the amount of your scholarship. Outside monies may affect your original award, so we would like to inform you of any changes as early as possible. You can expect to receive a revised award letter with any changes made to your award caused by outside scholarship.

After contacting the Financial Aid Office, please mail the scholarship check(s) to Santa Clara University, Financial Aid Office, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053.

SCU Scholarships

Does Santa Clara University offer Merit Scholarship? Are any other university scholarships offered?

Yes. Santa Clara University currently awards merit scholarships to students. Presidential Scholars at Entrance (full tuition awards), Provost Scholars (half tuition awards) and Dean’s Scholarships (award amounts vary).

Santa Clara University also awards scholarships for exceptional ability for performing arts talent such as athletic, music, and theater and dance. There are also university-funded grants that are a personal recognition award such as our SCU Need-Based Grant, SCU Incentive Grant, Jesuit Ignatian Grant, and others (please visit https://www.scu.edu/financialaid/types-of-aid/scholarships-and-grants/ for more information).

Will my SCU aid increase each year?

With the exception of the Santa Clara University Presidential at Entry and the Provost Scholarship awards, all awards are fixed amounts and are not indexed to change in tuition, therefore they will not increase annually.

Undocumented Students

What does it mean to be undocumented?

If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and do not currently possess a green card, visa or other legal documentation, you are considered an undocumented immigrant.

If I am undocumented, can I go to college?

Yes. Undocumented students can go to Santa Clara University if they meet admissions requirements.

If I am undocumented, can I receive financial aid?

Undocumented students are not eligible for state and federal financial aid, but California students can complete the California Dream Act Application to qualify for state aid.  Please contact our office for additional information.

Where can I go to find out about scholarships for undocumented students?

Visit the MALDEF Website (www.maldef.org) to find a list of scholarships that do not require you to be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, and do not ask for social security number.

Study Abroad

If I currently receive financial aid, does that mean I would receive financial aid for study abroad?

Students can usually apply their current financial aid (including loans) to assist in covering the cost of studying abroad. Make sure your FAFSA is up-to-date for the period when you wish to study abroad. In most cases, the Financial Aid Office can adjust your student budget to reflect additional reasonable costs for foreign study and you and/or your parents may be able to get additional loan amounts or scholarships to cover those additional costs.

Loans

What is the difference between a grant and a loan?

Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid. Gift aid is free money that does not have to be repaid while loans are considered self-help programs. Loans have to be repaid by the borrower.

What is the Federal Direct Loan Program (subsidized and unsubsidized)?

The Federal Direct Loan program is one of the Federal Student Aid programs of the U.S Department of Education, which provides students with a simple, convenient and flexible way to borrow money to pay for education after high school. Students do not borrow from banks. The federal government raises the loan funds through its regular Treasury bill auctions. Federal Direct Loans are loans made with federal capital and owned by the federal government. Loan repayment are made to the government and Federal Direct Loans are never sold. Since borrowing is direct through the federal government, borrowers make loan payment to the U.S Department of Education for the life of their loans.

The Federal Direct Loan- Subsidized and Unsubsidized interest is currently at 4.45%. Both Federal Direct Loan- Subsidized and Federal Direct Loan- Unsubsidized allow you to defer payment until you graduate or drop below half time status; you must be enrolled at least half time status to qualify for this loan. The federal government pays the interest on your Subsidized Federal Direct Loan while you are enrolled or in your grace period. You are responsible for paying the interest on an Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan while you are enrolled, although you have the option to defer interest payments and add the interest to the principle of the loan at repayment.

What is the difference between Federal Direct Loan subsidized and unsubsidized?

The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is based on need, and the government pays the interest while the students is still enrolled at least at a half time basis and during the grace period. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not need based, so it is available to students regardless of financial need. While the student is still in school, the interest accrues and is capitalized or added to the principle if the recipients chooses not to make payments upon the interest. However, students may request to make interest payments while still in school. Most students will begin repayment six months after leaving Santa Clara University or dropping below half time status.

How do I apply for a loan?

Student loans are vital resources that help pay for college. The application process for financial aid is not intended to be difficult, but can still be overwhelming at times. To ease the stress by applying online.

Federal Loans

  • File for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the U.S Department of Education Web site (www.fafsa.ed.gov). Be sure to include Santa Clara University FAFSA school code – 001326
  • Be sure to print your Student Aid Report for your record.
  • A Financial Aid Award letter will be sent to you by e-mail explaining your aid eligibility by Santa Clara University Financial Aid Office, which may include the Federal Direct Loan.

What is the Master Promissory Note?

The Master Promissory Note (MPN), is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). The MPN is valid for up to 10 years from the date you sign it, provided the first disbursement of this loan is made within twelve months of the signature.

How do I decline a student loan?

Go to www.scu.edu./ecampus

  1. Type your user identification number and your password in the ecampus login box. If you forgot your password, select “Forgot your password?” for assistance.
  2. On the left side under “ My Menu” select “Financial Aid”
  3. Now select “Accept/Decline Award” or “View Financial Aid”
  4. Select the year you wish to view: Aid Year 2019

Your e-campus account was created when you applied to Santa Cara University. You can find your user ID number on your admission letter. New password will be sent to the e-mail account on record.

Parent PLUS Loan

What is the William D. Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loan? How does my parent apply for a PLUS Loan?

The William D Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program is available to assist parents or stepparents of dependent students in obtaining funds to pay for their student’s educational costs. The parent is the borrower, and the loan funds are disbursed directly to the school on behalf of the student. The Department of Education is the lender for these long-term, low-interest loans.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan requires a credit check, but they are not based on family income/assets. The parent borrower can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid the student receives. Parent borrowers must be a U.S citizen or eligible not-citizen in order to qualify for Federal Direct PLUS Loan. The student must be a dependent and enrolled at least half the time. Generally, if the student is under 24 year old, has no dependents, is not married or a veteran of the U.S Armed Forces, he or she is considered to be dependent. The interest rate is currently 7% for parent PLUS loans.

Eligible parents can apply for the William D. Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loan each academic year by completing the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application and Master Promissory Note (MPN) on our Financial Aid Web site after July 1st for the proceeding aid year. Parent borrowers must complete their own MPN.

If a Parent took out the Federal PLUS loan and they would like to do the same for the following year do they need to reapply?

If parents want to take the loan out again, they will need to re-apply for it. This loan needs to be renewed every year. Applications open each year on July 1st.

Private Loans

How do I choose a lender?

We highly suggest that students research a variety of lenders to see which lender best fits their needs. You can use Google to search and compare the lenders, or you can also start by asking your bank if they offer student loans.  Often times, if you already bank with the lender they can offer discounts or special interest rates.

After I apply for a private loan how will the school be notified?

Once you are approved by your lender they will send a certification request to our school. We typically receive them within 24-48 hours after you were approved. Our loan processor will determine if you are eligible to borrow the amount requested and proceed with the certification process.  If you are eligible, the loan will be added to your award. If you are not eligible, the loan process will contact you through email. You can borrow up to your cost of attendance minus any other aid.

Once the private loan is showing on my award when will it disburse into my account?

We disburse private loans on the 1st day of each quarter for loans that have been certified two weeks prior. Please keep in mind that after we certify a loan, it takes approximately 10 business days for us to receive the funds from the lender. It is encouraged to apply for a loan before the payment deadline each quarter in order to avoid late fees and avoid a delay in receiving a refund (if applicable).

Can I apply for a loan to cover my full program length?

Unfortunately, no. A separate loan is needed for each academic year. We will begin certifying loans for Fall 2018-Spring 2019 in July 2018. A separate loan is needed for Summer since it is a trailer to our academic year. Summer loans are certified beginning in April. 

Can I adjust the amounts of my private loan for each quarter?

Yes, as long as it does not exceed your quarterly budget. Unless indicated otherwise, we will split the loan amount equally among the three quarters (Fall, Winter, and Spring). If you would like to split the amounts differently, please send us your request to OneStop@scu.edu as soon as you are approved by your lender.