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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 offer institutional aid.

All students who 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 the First- Year Key Deadlines

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available to complete in December 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.

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 2021 income information to complete the 2023-2024 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 offer 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 using your FSA ID to make the necessary corrections.

We strongly encourage you to complete CSS Profile by our November 15 priority deadline if you are an Early Decision/Early Action applicant; or, February 1 for regular decision applicants. By completing the CSS Profile, will ensure a timely processing and review for consideration of all institutional aid and estimation of federal and state financial aid eligibility. 

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

We suggest that all SCU applicants complete the CSS PROFILE to maximize financial aid opportunities and consideration for all Santa Clara University aid programs. Of particular importance, the 2024-25 FAFSA form will not become available to applicants until December, 2023. In the meantime, completing and submitting the CSS Profile allows us access to information on which to make SCU institutional awards and offer estimates of federal/state awards.

What is the CSS/Financial Aid Profile?

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

Can I use the CSS/Financial Aid Profile to also apply for federal student aid?

No. The CSS Profile will only help us estimate your eligibility for federal aid at the time of admission. However, to officially apply  for and be granted federal and state financial aid you MUST complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as it becomes available in December. Once received, SCU will update your aid offer to reflect actual federal and state award amounts.

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.

Should I wait until I am admitted to do the CSS Profile?

No, you want to complete the CSS Profile as soon as you complete the admission application. The form is available starting October 1st.

Does Santa Clara require the Non-Custodial form?

Santa Clara does not require the non-custodial parent to complete the form. 


How will you notify my student of his or her financial aid offer?

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 offers 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 offer letter indicates some types of aid are estimated. What does that mean?

Some offers 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 offer?

  • Log into Workday through your MySCU Portal.
  • Click the Finances icon on your homepage
  • Click the Accept/Decline Awards link under the Financial Aid heading
  • Select the Academic Unit and Award Year for the Financial Aid Package and click OK at the bottom
  • Your awards will be listed by term, and you must accept/decline awards for each term separately
  • Once all awards have been accepted or declined, click the OK button

*Note: Grants and scholarships will be accepted on your behalf. You will only be able to accept or decline loans and federal work study.

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.

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.

What is SAP?

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are the standards students must meet to ensure that they are successfully completing coursework and can continue to receive Title IV and SCU financial aid. To remain eligible for Title IV programs and institutional aid, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education regulations.

Who does SAP apply to?

All undergraduate students who are applying for financial aid must adhere to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy across all programs and enrollment levels. This policy holds students accountable for meeting academic progress requirements, regardless of whether or not they have previously received financial aid. If a student fails to meet these requirements, they will not be eligible for financial assistance. 

How often are students evaluated?

Undergraduate students are evaluated for SAP at the end of each term (Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer) after the Registrar has released official grades.


SAP is comprised of three components GPA, PACE and MAX. After the review of all standards at the end of each term, there are three possible outcomes.

  1. PASS: Student Passes SAP, they meet all standards and are in good standing. There is no communication between the Financial Aid Office and the student should this be the outcome.
  2. WARNING: Financial Aid Warning is assigned if a student was previously meeting SAP policy standards, but failed to make satisfactory academic progress for the last SAP review of enrollment. During the SAP warning period, students are allowed to continue to receive financial aid without a written appeal. The student will receive a notification via Workday account notifying them that they have been placed on SAP Warning.
  3. FAIL: Fail status is assigned if a student was previously placed on SAP Warning and fails to meet the standards for the last SAP review of enrollment. Students with this status are not eligible for Title IV and SCU financial aid. The student will receive notification via their Workday account that they have failed to meet SAP standards. It is important to note that students can appeal their SAP status.

Standards Evaluated

Qualitative Standard (GPA). Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher. This cumulative grade point average is 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.

NOTE: Some Santa Clara University aid programs require a higher cumulative grade point average than the federal minimum.

Quantitative Standard (PACE). Students must maintain a cumulative sixty-seven percent completion rate for all units attempted toward their academic programs.

Example of 67% Minimum Pace of Completion Calculation:

SCU Attempted Units


Transfer Units Accepted


Total Attempted Units


Total Successfully Completed 


12 successfully completed units/18 attempted units=0.667 Pace of Completion.


Maximum Attempted Units Allowed (MAX). Students must complete the requirements for their academic programs within one-hundred fifty percent of the minimum units required to complete their academic programs. Units attempted include all units transferred into Santa Clara University from prior institutions that can be used to satisfy students' academic program requirements. Students who have reached their maximum attempted units allowed are ineligible for additional financial aid. Students may appeal for financial aid probation status if they believe their circumstances warrant an exception to this standard.

How are Pass/No Pass courses evaluated?

Unit credit, but not grade point credit, is awarded when the grade of "P" is assigned. Unit credit is not awarded when the grade of "NP" is assigned. A P/NP will be considered when evaluating PACE. 

Transfer Credit

All transfer credits accepted by SCU are included in the attempted and completed calculations for Pace. Transfer credit is not included in the GPA calculation.

Courses Incompletes, Withdrawal, Failures, and/or Repetitions

Incompletes (I), Withdrawals (W), Failures (F), and/or repeated courses will adversely affect a student's completion rate. Students must complete the minimum number of units to fulfill federal, state, and University requirements. Completion rates are calculated cumulatively and will include all quarters that the student was enrolled, whether or not the student received financial aid.


(I) grades are not included in the GPA calculation and are considered a non-completion of attempted coursework (for PACE) until the grade is replaced with a permanent grade and academic progress can be re-evaluated.


Students who wish to withdraw from Santa Clara University during a quarter must complete a withdrawal form and an exit interview in the Drahmann Advising and Learning Resource Center. If the formal requirements for withdrawal are met, the student's registration will be canceled without academic penalty. A withdrawal notation (W) will be assigned for each course from which the student withdraws after the fourth week of the quarter. Students who leave Santa Clara University during a quarter without formally withdrawing are subject to failing grades in all courses in which they were registered and are ineligible for refund of fees.

IMPORTANT: Any student leaving Santa Clara University at the conclusion of any quarter should also complete the standard withdrawal process.

Repetition of Courses

Students may only repeat a course in which they have received a grade of less than C minus (C-). In such cases, only the highest grade for the repeated course will be applied in the GPA calculation. Certain courses, such as special topics courses and performance courses, are repeatable, and students will receive a grade and units for each successful completion.

Appeal Process

There may be extenuating circumstances encountered by a student that may affect his/her ability to be academically successful during an enrollment period. These circumstances include personal injury or illness that occurs during an enrollment period; death of an immediate family member or legal guardian during an enrollment period; or other documented circumstances that were unexpected in nature and beyond control of the student. In these cases, cumulative grade point average or completion rate may decline resulting in the student not meeting the minimum qualitative and quantitative standards previously described. If a student wishes to appeal a financial aid suspension, a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If the appeal is approved, s/he will be placed on financial aid probation (separate from academic probation). Students will be notified of the appeal results in writing. 

Appeal Outcomes

Denied: If a student's appeal is denied, they will receive an email notification through their Workday account. In this case, the student will not be eligible for Title IV aid and/or SCU institutional aid.

Approved: If a student's appeal is approved, they will receive an email notification through their Workday account. The student will be placed on probation. While on probation students will be able to receive Title IV aid and/or SCU institutional aid for the term they are enrolled in as they work towards meeting SAP standards.

Loss of Eligibility 

A student who has lost eligibility to participate in federal, state, and University aid programs for reasons of academic progress can regain that eligibility only by enrolling at Santa Clara University at his/her own expense. The mere passage of time will not restore eligibility to a student who has lost eligibility for failure to make satisfactory academic progress. Students who have been dismissed from Santa Clara University for academic reasons, but who are subsequently re-admitted are not automatically eligible to participate in federal, state, or institutional aid programs and will be placed on financial aid warning. Re-admission decisions are separate from funding decisions.

Regaining Eligibility 

Students who failed to meet satisfactory academic progress and who choose to enroll without financial aid may request a review of their academic record after any term in which they are enrolled without the receipt of financial aid. If the standards are met at the time of review, eligibility may be regained for subsequent terms of enrollment in the academic year.

What is SAP?

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) are the standards students must meet to ensure that they are successfully completing coursework and can continue to receive federal and SCU financial aid. To remain eligible for Title IV programs and institutional aid, students must be making satisfactory academic progress in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education regulations.

How often are students evaluated?

Graduate students are evaluated for satisfactory progress on a yearly basis (end of spring term).

How are Pass/No Pass courses evaluated?

P/NP options may not be available in your graduate programs. Graduate students should refer to their program office for additional guidance.

If your graduate program does have a P/NP option, courses will count toward your total hours for the cumulative completion rate for federal financial aid. However, Pass grades will not count in your GPA calculation. Courses that earn NP grades will count as attempted but not completed, and could impact your eligibility for federal aid.

How are Repetition of Courses evaluated?

Graduate students should contact their program office to discuss their options for repeating courses.

In most cases if repeated courses are allowed, the repeated course is used in the calculation of the student's grade point average (this may not be the case for all programs please check with your program office).

Units are awarded toward graduation only once for each course passed.

What Is PACE?

Pace is a measurement used to define a student’s academic progress towards completing their degree. All students must complete 67% of all credits/competencies attempted.

How is PACE calculated?

Pace is calculated by dividing the total earned credits by total attempted credits.

What is the maximum time frame requirement?

All students are expected to complete their educational program in a timeframe no longer than 150% of its published length. Please refer back to your specific program for published length. 

How do I calculate the maximum time frame?

The maximum time frame requirement is calculated by multiplying the published program length by 150%.  Please refer to your program and department for more information.

Can I appeal my Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status?

Students who do not meet the minimum SAP requirements have the right to appeal when special circumstances exist. Please view the SAP Appeal form on our website for further instructions.

May I appeal the financial aid 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

Please visit our special circumstaces page to file an appeal.

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.

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 offer status, offer 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

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

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 offer?

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 offer.  Sometimes there can be manual adjustments that are not reflected in workday.  You should always confirm your totals with the Financial Aid Office by emailing

Who is eligible for a Federal Work-Study job?

Students who receive a federal work-study offer 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 offer.

How can I utilize my Federal Work-Study eligibility?

You can utilize your award by accepting your offer, 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 for information regarding student employment.  Applying for jobs can be done by using a Single Sign-on to view the Workday tile on My SCU Portal.  Once logged into Workday tile, student job postings can be found under the Career icon under Applications.

How can I get the Federal Work-Study offer 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 to ask if you qualify for Federal Work-Study and to be offered 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% charged to 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 academic 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 currently for the city of Santa Clara is $17.20 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 next year?

No. You do not receive the money until you earn it. If you do not use your Federal Work-Study offer, 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 offer?

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 offer.   Sometimes there can be manual adjustments that are not reflected in workday.  You should always confirm your totals with the Financial Aid Office by emailing

Can my Federal Work-Study offer 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 offer 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 offer 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 offer in a later quarter, please email the Financial Aid Office at to communicate that you are still interested in utilizing your offer, 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 offer 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.

If you have further questions regarding the Federal Work-Study offer, feel free to email the Financial Aid Office through the Enrollment Services Center at

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 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.

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 offer letter with any changes made to your offer 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.

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 offers), Provost Scholars (half tuition offers) and Dean’s Scholarships (offer 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 the SCU's Scholarship and Grants page 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 offers, all offers are fixed amounts and are not indexed to change in tuition, therefore they will not increase annually.

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 ( 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.

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.

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 5.50% for undergraduate students. 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 ( 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 Offer 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 accept or decline a student loan?

Beginning in mid-June, you will be able to access your MySCU portal to accept or decline your awards as outlined in the process below:

Go to MySCU Portal

  1. Within the Workday system, locate and open the Finances app.
  2. Under the Financial Aid section, select Accept/Decline Awards.
  3. Review each award by term and decide whether to accept or decline them.
  4. After making your selections, click OK to confirm.
  5. Take a moment to review your choices, then click DONE to finalize your decisions.
  6. Ensure that all financial aid offers are accepted or declined by mid-July to facilitate billing procedures.

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 for 2020-21 is 5.30% 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.

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 financial aid offer. 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).

Does my enrollment affect my private loan?

Yes. We certify loans based on budgets. Undergraduate students are budgeted to have full-time enrollment, and graduate students are budgeted to have three-quarter time enrollment. If your enrollment is less, your budget will be adjusted and your loans will be reduced if needed.

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 2021-Spring 2022 in July 2021. 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 as soon as you are approved by your lender.

Students who withdraw (officially or unofficially) from the University and who have federal financial aid are subject to the federal regulations applicable to the return of Title IV funds (R2T4). This R2T4 regulation is based on EARNED and UNEARNED aid at the time of total withdrawal from all classes for a term. These regulations assume that a student earns his or her financial aid based on the period of time the student remains enrolled during a term. A student is obligated to return all unearned federal financial aid funds governed under Title IV other than those earned under the college work-study program.


Unearned financial aid is the amount of disbursed Title IV that exceeds the amount of Title IV aid earned in accordance with the federal guidelines. During the first 60 percent of the term, a student earns Title IV funds in direct proportion to the length of time the student remains enrolled. That is, the percentage of time during the term that the student remains enrolled is the percentage of disbursable aid for that period that the student has earned. A student who withdraws after the 60 percent point of the enrollment term earns all Title IV aid disbursed for the period. The amount of tuition and other charges owed by the student plays no role in determining the amount of Title IV funds to which a withdrawn student is entitled. 

Please note this policy is separate and distinct from the Santa Clara University credit balance refund policy

Determination of Withdrawal date 

Students with financial aid who are withdrawing from the university are advised to complete the withdrawal form through the Drahmann Center/Registrar’s Office. 

Official Withdrawal date will be used when a student is considered to have officially withdrawn from the University. The determination of this date will be:

  1. The date a student provided the Registrar’s Office notification (written or orally) that they will be withdrawing from the university. 
  2. Or the date the student began the withdrawal process that is listed on students records held by the Registrar’s Office. 

Unofficial Withdrawal date will be used when a student ceases attending without providing official notification of withdrawal. The determination of this date will be 

  1. The mid-point of the payment period and will be used to recalculate financial aid eligibility.
  2. Or the last date of an academically related activity in which the student participated as stated by the professor of record or authorized departmental representative.


Timeframe for Returns

All funds must be returned to federal programs before funds are returned to state or University financial aid programs or to the student. Title IV program funds will be returned no later than 45 days after we determine a student has withdrawn.


The return of funds allocation will be made in the following order for students who have received Federal Title IV assistance:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans (other than Direct PLUS Loans)
  • Subsidized Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans (if awarded)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a return is required
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants for which a return is required
  • TEACH Grants for which a return is required
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Grants for which a return is required

If a student owes a repayment after the Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) calculation is completed, the student will be notified via Workday account.


Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

Eligibility for post-withdrawal disbursements will be confirmed within 30 calendar days of the date that the student withdrew. The school must advise the student or parent (for undergraduates) that they have 14 calendar days from the date the school sent the post-withdrawal disbursement notification to accept a post-withdrawal disbursement. If a response is not received from the student or parent within the allowed time frame or the student declines the funds, the school will return any earned funds that the school is holding to the Title IV program.


Post-Withdrawal Disbursement Conditions

If a student has accepted Title IV aid by the date of the withdrawal, but the financial aid has not disbursed, the student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. If the amount disbursed to the student is less than the amount the student earned, and for which the student is otherwise eligible, he or she is eligible to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement for the earned aid that was not received. Under these circumstances, a R2T4 calculation must be performed to determine whether the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement. SCU must make this determination within 30 calendar days after the student withdraws.


The following conditions apply when processing a post-withdrawal disbursement:

  1. A student may not owe a prior year balance or fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress according to Santa Clara University and FAO policy.
  2. A student must have accepted aid by the date of the withdrawal.
  3. If, before the student’s withdrawal date a loan offer has been accepted, the loan must also have been originated by Santa Clara University.
  4. In all Title IV loan programs, a promissory note must be signed for a loan to be included as Aid that could have been disbursed in an R2T4 calculation. The signature may be obtained after the student withdraws. However, for the loan to be included as Aid that could have been disbursed, the promissory note must be signed before the school performs the R2T4 calculation.
  5. If the student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement of a loan, Financial Aid Office (FAO) must send notification of post-withdrawal disbursement eligibility to the student within 30 calendar days after the student withdraws. Students will be given a minimum of 14 calendar days to respond to the post-withdrawal disbursement offer.
  6. FAO will disburse any Title IV grant funds a student is due as part of a post-withdrawal disbursement within 45 calendar days of the date FAO determined the student withdrew. The FAO will disburse any loan funds a student accepts by the post withdrawal disbursement deadline within 180 calendar days of the withdrawal date. The school must obtain written permission from the student before loan funds can be disbursed.
  7. A school cannot make a post-withdrawal disbursement to a deceased student or a student who has not signed the loan’s promissory note.
  8. For students who provide notification back to FAO that they want the loan funds prior to the post-withdrawal disbursement deadline, FAO will disburse the loan.


Credit Balance 

Any credit balance resulting from a Return to Title IV calculation will be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after the date of the Return to Title IV calculation is performed.

Repayment of Unearned Aid

Students are responsible for repayment of any funds to our institution that were disbursed to the student for which the student was determined to be ineligible via the R2T4. Arrangements must be made with the Bursar's Office for repayment. 



R2T4 = Return to Title IV. It is the return of unearned disbursed aid received by the student to the Federal Government.

Unearned Aid = Federal aid disbursed/received by the student that exceeds the amount the student earned.

Earned Aid = Federal aid that the student is eligible to receive. 

FAO = Financial Aid Office