Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions at UCI


Search our FAQs to better understand the entire financial aid process, from FAFSA to direct loans to DEFT and more.

FAQs at UCI


You asked, we answered. Search our FAQs for all our financial aid questions, and contact our office if you have a question that isn't answered below.

Financial Aid Q&A webinars


Watch the Office of Financial Aid tackle your questions.

6/4/2020: Q&A webinar #1 - Watch

6/12/2020: Q&A webinar #2 - Watch

6/16/2020: Q&A webinar #3 - Watch

Student FAQs


These are the most common questions from UCI students.

Basic Questions about Financial Aid


Get your basic questions about Financial Aid answered.

Eligibility for Financial Aid


Get your questions answered about your eligibility.

Disbursement of Financial Aid


Get your questions answered about the disbursement of financial aid.

All about Loans


Have questions about loans? We've got you covered.

Enrollment Questions


View our most common questions surrounding Enrollment.

Student FAQs


These are the most common questions from UCI students.

Basic Questions About Financial Aid

What is financial aid?
A. Financial aid is money set aside by the Federal Government and State of California to help families pay for a college education. Financial aid can come in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study jobs, or loans.

How do I apply for financial aid?
A. You can apply for financial aid every year by completing the FAFSA or California Dream Act application To be eligible for the best financial aid, you must submit your application prior to March 2nd each year.

What is the FAFSA?
A. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to applying for financial aid, including loans, grants and work study. It does not cost anything to apply for financial aid. Please visit studentaid.gov/sa/ UCI's school code is 001314.

Will financial aid pay for all of my expenses?
A. Financial aid is intended to bridge the gap between what you and your family can afford to pay for college and the cost of college. Except in cases of exceptional need, it typically covers only a portion of the cost of college expenses. Visit our Cost page to get a breakdown of UCI's costs.

Will my financial aid be renewed every year?
A. You must reapply for financial aid each year, the application cycle opens on October 1st and ends on June 30th. Although is highly recommendable that you submit your application by March 2nd, which is the priority deadline for many programs.
The composition of your aid "package" may vary depending on the income and assets that you report on your application and the funds available in individual aid programs.

I am an out-of-state student, can I receive financial aid?
A. Non-resident students incur higher costs of tuition, and funding is very limited. While federal financial aid in the form of Pell and loans may help offset these higher costs, you are likely to still have to cover much of the additional cost.

Are non-US citizens eligible for federal financial aid?
A. If you are not a US citizen, you still may be eligible for federal financial aid if you are determined to be an eligible non-citizen. Review the eligible noncitizen criteria https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements

Do my parents need Social Security Number?
A. No. Since your parents’ citizenship doesn’t affect your ability to complete the FAFSA form, they don’t need SSNs. If your parents don’t have SSNs, they must enter 000-00-0000 when the FAFSA form asks for your parents’ SSNs

I am not US citizen and do not meet the eligible noncitizen criteria, am I eligible for federal student aid?
A. No. You are not eligible for federal student aid. However, you may be eligible to apply for financial aid with the California Dream Act Application California Dream Act application and the requirements for AB 540 Exemptions and waivers https://www.ucop.edu/residency/

Are international students eligible to receive state or federal financial aid?
A. No. International students are not eligible for federal and state financial aid programs. There are, however, a number of privately funded scholarship programs for International students. One useful online resource for International student scholarships is https://global.uci.edu/students-and-alumni/international-students.php and www.iefa.org.

I only want to apply for a scholarship. Do I have to fill out the FAFSA?
A. No, it is not required for most scholarship recipients. However, you should still fill one out to qualify for need based scholarships.

Can my parents contact you about my financial aid?
A. Yes, but you will need to first fill out a Consent for Release of Information form. View and print the PDF.

Eligibility for Financial Aid FAQS


Want to know if you're eligible for certain types of financial aid?

How do I know if additional documents are needed from me or my parents?
A. You can login to MyAid and view the “My Aid Application Status” tab, follow the instructions on how to upload documents.
If you find nothing is listed in this section, it means that your file is complete. If we need something, we will send you an e-mail. Please check your UCI email often.

The Office of Financial Aid has asked me for an IRS Tax Return Transcript. What is this?
A. This is part of the application verification process for student aid. You can access at www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript (Note than an IRS Tax Account Transcript is not the same document and will not meet this requirement.),follow the instructions here {provide hyperlink for IRS video}

When can I expect to see my financial aid awards?
A. If you are an entering undergraduate student, you should expect to see your financial aid awards prior to SIR deadline.
For all other students (continuing undergraduate and Graduates) awards are generally made available in July-August.

How do I know what type of financial aid am I eligible?
A. You can login to MyAid  and view the “My Aid Awards” tab; you can also print your award notification under “Print My Forms”

How do I accept my financial aid?
A. Log in to MyAid, select “MyAid Awards”, you will be given the option to accept or declined awards your awards, make sure you navigate to the financial aid page where you will accept the “Terms and Conditions

Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid?
A. No. You do not have to be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid. Although some grant programs require students to be enrolled full-time in order to be eligible 100% of the award, you can refer to Enrollment requirements .

Why is my Cal Grant unconfirmed?
A. At the starting of the awarding cycle, all Cal Grants are unconfirmed, if you have been awarded a Cal Grant by the California Student Aid Commission, you can expect to be confirmed automatically in min-June, no further action is needed from you. You can check your eligibilityhttps://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/
If you are not eligible to receive a Cal Grant, your financial aid award will be revised to replace the Cal Grant amount.

How do I apply for the UC Blue & Gold Opportunity Plan?
A. We will determine your eligibility through the information presented on your FAFSA or California Dream Act Application. Eligibility for the Blue and Gold Program is assessed around November: if eligible, you will be awarded and will be informed via UCI e-mail. You can review the eligibility at {use hyperlink for B&G here}
Note: if you are receiving Cal Grant, then you will not receive a Blue and Gold award since your tuition is already being covered by Cal Grant.

I’m not sure about student loans, can I accept it at a later date?
A. Yes, you have the option to decline your loan now and accept it later or not accept them at all. You can also choose to accept only a portion. You can accept your student loans up until just before the end of the school year, permitted that you are enrolled. 

What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and when do I have to pay it?
A. This dollar amount appears on the SAR (Student Aid Report) you receive from completing a FAFSA. You do not need to pay this amount up front. It is merely an estimate in how much your family is able to contribute towards your education for the academic year. If you don't believe that you have the financial means to contribute this amount, you will be offered loans to cover this portion.

Where can I look for scholarships?
A. There are many scholarship resources available; you just need to spend the time to look for them. A good place to start is UCI Scholarship site.

I am expecting to receive a scholarship that is not listed on my financial aid award. What do I need to do?
A. Report your scholarship to us by logging in to My Aid: https://www.ofas.uci.edu/visualaid/ and report under the "Report My Changes" tab. When revising your aid, we always try to reduce your loans first, unless the scholarship has specific restrictions.

Disbursement of Financial Aid FAQS


Want to understand the types of financial aid available?

What is a Direct Student Loan?
A. The Direct Student Loan is an educational loan provided by the Federal Government. There are two types: subsidized and unsubsidized. As a student loan borrower, you may be eligible for one type or a combination of both. Find more information at https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized

What is a Direct Parent PLUS Loan?
A. The Parent PLUS Loan is an educational loan provided by the Federal Government to parents of undergraduate dependent students. To be eligible for a PLUS Loan, parents must pass a credit check and must be either: a U.S. citizen or national, a U.S. permanent resident or eligible non-citizen. Find more information at: https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/plus/parent 

What is a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?
A. The Graduate PLUS Loan is an educational loan provided by the Federal Government to to eligible graduate or professional. Find more information https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/plus/grad

When is my accepted financial aid applied to my fees?
A. Your financial aid is applied to pay your fees about one month before the fee payment deadline. The remainder of your aid, if any, will stay in your Zot Account until the beginning of the term when funds are disbursed. https://fs.uci.edu/student-billing/zot-account-basics.php 

What if my financial aid does not cover all my fees?A. If your financial aid is not enough to cover your fees, you can pay the difference with your own resources or take advantage of PACE is a payment plan that allows you to spread the costs of your registration fees over the quarter in three monthly installments. https://fs.uci.edu/student-billing/pace-payment-plan.php

What is DEFT, and is it mandatory?A. DEFT allows you to choose how you want your financial aid remainder to be disbursed: mailed paper check, or direct deposit. You can enroll for either of these in your Zot Account at: https://fs.uci.edu/student-billing/direct-deposit-deft.php, you choose a method to receive your funds.

I have already signed up for DEFT. When will I receive my remainder?
A. If all your fees are paid and there is a remainder, then you can expect a disbursement at the beginning of each term.
br>Direct deposit refunds are faster and more secure, paper check refunds usually take about a week or more to receive.

 

All about Loans FAQS


Want to know the ins and outs of borrowing?

Do I have to accept my loans to receive my grants?
A. No, you can choose to decline your student and/or parent loan and keep your other aid.

Can I accept my loans at a later date? 
A. Yes. You may accept all or a portion of your loans at any time throughout the academic year; you have until mid-June. However, if you need them to help you pay fees, they must be accepted a lot sooner

I accepted my loans, but I have not received the funds. Is something wrong?
Once you accept student or parent loans, check My Aid.
Then “My To-Do List” to be sure you completed all the requirements. 

How will I know when my parent PLUS loan has been processed?
A. The Department of Education will notify your parent via email if the loan was approved or denied. Be sure that your parent followed all the steps {insert hyperlink for instructions PDF}

My parent PLUS loan is denied, what other options do they have?
A. Your parents can obtain an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the parent PLUS loan if your parent does not repay it. Read more information https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/plus/parent 

My parent do not have a cosigner for their PLUS loan, what other options do I have?
A. Most dependent students will be eligible for additional unsubsidized student loan. You can submit a request {provide link for request form} to our office to let us know of the denial and to request the additional unsubsidized loan money.

I accepted my University or Hawk loan, what is my next step?
A. You will receive an e-mail from Heartland ECSI with instructions and a PIN to access your documents. For more information https://heartland.ecsi.net/

Do I use my DACA Social Security # for my Dream Loan?A. No, You must use your California Dream Act ID and not your DACA SSN.

My parent do not have a cosigner for their PLUS loan, what other options do I have?
A. Most dependent students will be eligible for additional unsubsidized student loan. You can submit a request {provide

I am a Graduate/Professional student, how do I apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan?
A. If you have an unmet need and would like to apply for a Graduate PLUS loan, go to MyAid and on the “Report my Changes” request this loan. The staff will revise your award and send you an e-mail when your loan is ready to be accepted.

How will my private loan be disbursed?
A. Our office will certify your private loans application and will request to be disbursed in 3 quarterly payments; one third of the loan amount, at the beginning of each quarter.
Loan will be credited to your Zot account and will pay any outstanding balances first then will disburse the remainder to you. 

How do I cancel a loan?
A. If you wish to cancel a recently disbursed loan, please complete the Loan Cancellation Request Form found on our website here: https://ofas.uci.edu/resource-center/forms-and-appeals/index.php

How do I know how much I owe in student loans?
A. UCI provides you with a loan history of all the loans that you have accepted and we have disbursed since you entered UCI. You can view your outstanding balances by logging into MyAid then look for the “My Student Loan History” tab. If you have borrowed in other college/universities, for a full list of federal loans, visit https://studentaid.gov/h/manage-loans

Enrollment Questions


Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid?
A. No. You do not have to be enrolled full-time to receive financial aid. Although some grant programs require students to be enrolled full-time in order to be eligible 100% of the award, you can refer to Enrollment requirements .

How does part-time enrollment affects my financial aid?
A. If you have been granted official part-time status, the Registrar's Office will notify us. Your financial aid will be revised to reflect part-time status for the term and any remaining portion of the academic, if you change cancel your official part-time status, be sure to inform us. You can refer to Enrollment requirements.

What if I have to withdraw from a term?
A. Depending on the date of your withdrawal, you may have to return all or a portion of your financial aid for the term. You should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before you decide to withdraw just so you will be aware of the consequences.