Skip to main content

Financial Aid FAQs

Do I have to file a FAFSA?

Students who want to be considered for federal student loans, grants or work-study must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA results are used to determine a student's eligibility for federal student aid.

When should I submit my FAFSA?

The priority date for submitting the FAFSA is March 1. There is no deadline for submitting the FAFSA. The SDSU school code is 003471. Whenever possible please use FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide tax information.

How do I accept or reject my financial aid award?

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, to accept or reject your federal financial aid award you can log onto your Self-Service portal. You can also accept or reject your awards by coming into our office or sending an email. Please be sure you include specific information in your email such as your name and student ID number, as well as the specific amounts you are requesting and what semester(s) it is for. 

What if the information on my FAFSA does not accurately demonstrate my family's true financial status?

Students with special circumstances should meet with a Financial Aid Counselor to discuss their family's situation to determine if adjustments can be made.

What happens if I am selected for verification?

One out of every three students who fills out the FAFSA is selected for verification. If you are selected, you will receive a verification letter asking you to complete the Verification Form and provide additional tax documentation. Returning these forms quickly will speed up the awarding process.

The amount of aid listed on my Award Letter is not enough to cover my educational costs. Is there any additional funding available?

The parent of a dependent student may borrow a Federal PLUS Loan to cover any costs not met by the aid awarded to the student. Students can also apply for alternative/private education loans, but a cosigner will usually be required.

What is the difference between a Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan?

The federal government pays the interest on Subsidized Direct Loans while the student is in school and during qualified deferments. Interest on Unsubsidized Direct Loans is not paid by the federal government at any time. For the 2019-2020 school year, the Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loans have a 4.53 percent fixed interest rate. Loans with a first disbursement date on or after October 1, 2018 have a 1.062 percent origination fee. Loans with a first disbursement date on or after October 1, 2019 have an origination fee of 1.059 percent.

What is a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Loan Counseling?

The Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling must be completed by new Federal Direct Loan borrowers prior to the disbursement of Federal Direct Loans. The MPN is a legal document that obligates students to repay their Federal Direct Loans. The MPN will ask you general contact information and you will agree to the terms of the loan and electronically sign the document. Entrance Loan Counseling is an information session that explains your responsibilities and rights as a student borrower. It is designed to help students be familiar with what it means to take a loan and what they can expect when they are paying on the loan in the future. You will complete these items at They will take about 30 minutes to complete. 

What happens to my federal financial aid if I withdraw?

If students withdraw (officially cease attendance in all classes) from the university, they are subject to a return of Title IV (federal aid) calculation. Students who withdraw before completing 60% of the semester will be required to return a portion or all of their financial aid. Attendance will be verified for all classes a student is enrolled in. Lack of attendance may affect the amount of aid that is returned. 

What happens to my federal financial aid if I drop a class?

If a student drops classes before the add/drop-with-refund date, and the student drops below full-time enrollment, their federal financial aid could be affected. If a student drops classes after the add/drop-with-refund date the disbursed aid remains unchanged. Any time a student drops below half-time enrollment, the student could enter the grace period or repayment period on their loans. Students should always review the satisfactory academic progress standards when dropping classes as federal aid could be affected for future semesters.

What is SDSU's Cohort Default Rate?

For information on SDSU's Cohort Default Rate, please visit this page. SDSU's Cohort Default Rates are well below the national average. For the last six years SDSU's rates have ranged from 3.8 to 4.8 percent.