Financial aid is funding provided by federal and state governments and the University of California to help pay your educational expenses. The Financial Aid Office awards aid for periods of enrollment during the 9-month academic year (although UC summer session aid is also available).
Financial aid usually falls into two categories:
- Gift aid: Grants and scholarships that don't have to be repaid
- Self-help aid: Loans that must be repaid and work-study funds that must be earned
Your own financial aid awards are based on these factors:
- Your status as either an undergraduate or a graduate student
- The date you filed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (by March 2 for priority consideration)
- Your financial need (read more about need and how UCSD determines financial aid awards)
- Fund availability and individual program requirements (read more about award packaging for undergraduates and graduate students)
- Your eligibility (read more about eligibility requirements for undergraduates and graduate students)
Types of aid:
Grants are gift aid (financial aid you don't have to pay back) based on your financial need.
Loans are self-help aid (financial aid you must repay with interest) available under varying terms and conditions.
Scholarships are gift aid (financial aid you don't have to pay back) awarded on merit, academic excellence, and additional criteria, such as financial need or leadership.
Work-study is self-help aid (money you must earn) offered through federal- or state-subsidized student employment programs.
Aid for programs abroad, exchanges, and internships
Financial aid is available for study abroad programs, exchange programs, and internships during both the summer and the regular academic year. Aid is also available for a number of exchange programs.
Summer Session funding
UCSD's Summer Session is considered an addition to the academic year and has a separate application process. Apply early because these funds may be limited.
Federal and state programs offer educational benefits for veterans and their eligible family members. The Veterans Administration office (VA) and the California Department of Veterans Education (CDVA) process these benefits.
Aid and benefits from outside programs
You may qualify for educational funding outside UCSD, including:
- Military tuition assistance (active duty personnel)
- ROTC funds
- Prepaid educational savings plans and trusts
- Tuition benefit plans
- Vocational rehabilitation funds (California Department of Rehabilitation)
Aid for international students
Many graduate departments award limited funding to international graduate students. Both undergraduate and graduate international students can check these sources:
- Finances for international undergraduate students
- Outside agency scholarships for international students
- Scholarships on FASTWeb, a free online scholarship search
- UCSD International Center, which provides advice and resources