FAQs for Prospective Students

Q: When will I receive my conditional aid offer? 

A: Due to the federal processing delay of financial aid applications, prospective students should anticipate receiving UCSC conditional aid offers from May 2 through May 15. You can also get a financial aid estimate using our UCSC Financial Aid Calculator, which will be available at the end of April 12. 

Q: How will I be able to access my conditional aid offer? 

A: The "Understanding Your Conditional Aid Offer" video will help you better understand your Conditional aid offer, and it provides step-by-step instructions on how to access it.

Q: Will there be a delay in receiving my financial aid? 

A: The 2024-25 FAFSA delays are expected to impact aid disbursements. Financial aid disburses 10 days before the start of each quarter for enrolled students, provided there are no outstanding items, such as verification documents, to submit. 

Q: When do I receive my official aid offer? 

A: Students who have completed the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) are notified via email when their official aid offer is posted to their MyUCSC student portal. Official aid offers are made available throughout the months of June-September. To receive your aid offer on time, complete all financial aid-associated items on your list of tasks on your MyAid Verify account by the due dates if requested. Your official aid offer may differ from your conditional aid offer if the information on your initial financial aid application was incorrect, incomplete, or did not accurately reflect your family’s ability to contribute.

Q: How is Financial Aid Determined? 

A: Types and amounts of financial aid are determined by comparing the Student Aid Index (SAI), as determined by the FAFSA or CADAA, with the estimated cost of attendance at UCSC. When the SAI is lower than the estimated cost of attendance, the student is eligible for more need-based aid, such as grants, scholarships, and work-study. Students who are not eligible for need-based aid will still be eligible for other types of aid, including loans and scholarships. Almost every student will have some form of loan in their Financial Aid Award Letter.

 Q: How much does it cost to attend UCSC?

A: To view the estimated cost of attendance for undergraduate and graduate students at UCSC, please visit our Cost of Attendance page. The Cost of Attendance includes direct and indirect costs and is based on a nine-month academic year. 

Q: Will I be charged for non-resident supplemental tuition? 

A: Most students who live in another state are considered "non-California resident" students and will incur higher University fees. The amount of loans in a non-California resident's Financial Aid package will increase to cover their increased costs. However, under AB 540 legislation, students enrolled or in the process of enrolling at a University of California campus after January 1, 2002, who attended a high school in California for three or more years and who graduated from a California high school (or attained the equivalent), may qualify for an exemption from the nonresident tuition. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students are eligible to apply for this exemption. For more information, visit the Registrar's Website.

Q: How do I calculate my bill? 

A: Students are billed  tuition and fees and on-campus housing on a quarterly basis. After reviewing and accepting the financial aid offer, students can calculate how much they will owe for the term after the aid credits the student account. This video provides instructions on how to calculate your bill every quarter.

Q: What if my Actual Educational Costs Exceed the Estimated Expenses? 

A: If a student believes the cost of attendance used to determine their Financial Aid eligibility was insufficient, they may request to increase their budget (and aid eligibility) with a Cost of Attendance Appeal. Typically, budget increases are funded with additional loan eligibility.

Q: What if extraordinary circumstances have reduced my ability to pay for college? 

A: Newly admitted students cannot formally appeal until after committing to UC Santa Cruz. Alternatively, you may contact our office for an updated estimate if you have the following information: adjusted gross income estimate for the current calendar year, updated wages for each parent for the current calendar year, any updates on untaxed income, and current assets. An adviser will be able to provide an updated verbal estimate.

Q: How will the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office Contact Me? 

A: Our office will usually contact you through your university email account. Please check your email frequently to ensure you are receiving all the important emails we send you.  

Q: What is the Better FAFSA?

A: The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), branded as the "Better FAFSA," includes the most significant changes to the form and process in decades. The Better FAFSA will translate to a shorter and simpler form, increased eligibility for Pell Grants, and reduced verification, allowing more students access financial aid they need to attend college.

 Q: How do I apply for financial aid? 

A: To apply for Financial Aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or CA Dream Act Application (CADAA). Priority filing deadlines are March 2 of each year. The priority filing deadline for the 2024-25 academic year has been moved to May 2, 2024. This video will provide you with information on the costs of attending UCSC, how to apply for financial aid, and the types of aid available to pay for college.

Q: Am I eligible for Financial Aid? 

A: To be eligible for aid through the FAFSA, you must:

To be eligible for aid through the CADAA you must:

  • Not be eligible to file the FAFSA
  • Be eligible for AB 540
  • Be in a degree-seeking program

The following students are not eligible for Financial Aid:

  • Students who have defaulted on a prior student loan or who owe a repayment of aid to the U.S. Department of Education. 

Q: What is the Student Aid Index (SAI)? 

A: The SAI is a figure used to determine your student's need-based Financial Aid. It is calculated based on the information you provided on your FAFSA. 

Q: When will I be able to make corrections to my FAFSA? 

A: FSA has announced that students will be able to make corrections in mid-March 2024. Students and families can visit the FSA website for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of making corrections.