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How UCSD Determines Financial Aid Awards

Learn about UCSD's philosophy and practices for awarding financial aid.

UCSD awards financial aid based on need. Need-based financial aid reduces barriers to higher education for students and families who could not otherwise afford college costs. This need-based packaging philosophy assures that:

  • Students with similar circumstances are treated equally.
  • "Need" is the only criteria used to award most undergraduate financial aid (only about 4% of total financial aid funds available are not based solely on need)

Financial need is the difference between UCSD's budget (estimated cost of attendance) and your expected family contribution:

Cost of attendance minus your expected family contribution equals financial need

Note: Non-California Residents pay Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (currently estimated at $28,992 annually) in addition to charge paid by in-state students. The university is unable to provide university grant support for this additional tuition cost included in the financial need. Federal loans, which must be repaid by you or your family, may help cover some or all of this cost. Any remaining amount remains the family’s responsibility.

Your expected family contribution (EFC) is determined by the U.S. Department of Education's Central Processing System, using formulas determined by Congress and written into public law. Your own EFC is calculated based on the information you provide in your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Please note:

Paying for your education is a partnership among you, your parent(s), UCSD, the state of California, and the federal government. To help achieve the goal of equity, the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office assumes that:

  • Parents of dependent undergraduates will contribute to their child's education to the extent of their ability.
  • All students will work and/or borrow to help finance the costs of attendance. A set amount of self-help (which may include loans and work-study) is included in every student's package before campus-based grants are awarded. The set amount of this self-help increases as you progress in your education.
  • You and your family will pursue and obtain any outside financial aid for which you qualify, including veterans benefitsROTC funds, and outside agency scholarships.