Apply for Financial Aid

December 16, 2015

By Financial Aid and Scholarship Office 831-459-2963


A variety of aid is available for all income levels. Whether or not you believe  you are eligible, we encourage all students to apply for financial aid each year. Applying begins with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at for most students. If you are not eligible for federal aid and attended a California high school for at least three years, you may be eligible to complete the California Dream Act Application at Applying for financial aid is free.


The 2016-2017 financial aid applications are now available. The priority deadline to receive consideration for need-based state and/or institutional aid is March 2nd. The information you provide is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used by UC Santa Cruz to determine your eligibility for financial aid. You can apply for financial aid before admissions decisions are determined and before your tax returns have been filed.

Application Tips

  • Apply early! Applications become available early January for the upcoming academic year. Re-apply every year
  • Submit your application by March 2 for priority consideration
  • Include the UC Santa Cruz Code: 001321
  • Select the correct aid year on your financial aid application when applying (i.e., 2016-2017 for Fall 2016 admission)
  • Submit any requested financial aid documents to our office by June 1 for entering and continuing students, and July 1 for transfer students. Check your UCSC “To-Do List” on your student portal to make sure you submit any requests or clear any FAFSA rejects
  • Some people may not have filed their federal income tax returns by March 2, but it is crucial to file your financial aid application by the March 2 priority filing date using estimated financial information 
  • We recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA with your actual tax numbers. You may need to verify your tax information with an IRS Tax Transcript if you are eligible, but do not use the data retrieval tool

Questions About Applying?

For help with your FAFSA, call 1-800-4FEDAID (1-800-433-3243); Mon–Fri: 8:00 a.m.–12:00 midnight Eastern Time or Sat: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Or, you may contact our Financial Aid & Scholarship Office.

Additional Resources

7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA Tutorial

How to Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to Update Your FAFSA

FAFSA Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

The California Dream Act Application

FAFSA Tips for Applicants in Unique Situations