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Types of Financial Aid

Read about the different types of financial aid available to UC San Diego students, and link to details about each.

Financial aid is funding provided by federal and state governments and the University of California to help pay your educational expenses. The Financial Aid and Scholarships 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:

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.

Veterans benefits

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:

Aid for international students

Many graduate departments award limited funding to international graduate students. Both undergraduate and graduate international students can check these sources: