financial aid basics
FINANCIAL AID PROCESS
Bayramian Hall, first floor
(west of the Oviatt Library)
Monday: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
On June 3 and 17, and July 15, we will be open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, July 3, we will be open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.Counseling Hours
Monday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
(referral slip required from the first-floor financial aid window)
Please be in line at least 30 minutes before closing; hours are subject to change.
Submit the FAFSA to receive federal aid, or money from the government, in the form of grants, loans and work-study. Apply separately for Northridge and outside scholarships.
- Am I eligible for federal aid?
- Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year in order to receive federal grants, loans or work-study. All California state aid eligibility is based on information from the FAFSA.
- Cal State Northridge receives FAFSA data once a week and sends an application acknowledgment email to your CSUN Gmail when your FAFSA has been updated in the financial aid system.
- The California Student Aid Commission requires GPA verification and a FAFSA for first-time Cal Grant recipients by March 2.
- Scholarships are widely available and require their own application process.
- California State University reserves the right, even after initial payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees without notice until the date of instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may increase when public funding is inadequate. The California State University makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum, but all California State University listed fees should be regarded as estimates subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees. Cal State Northridge will always try to award up to your cost of attendance.
- State university fees are your tuition and fees for being a student. These fees are determined by the state of California.
- Campus-based fees are campus charges such as health fees, Associated Students fees, etc. These fees are determined by Cal State Northridge.
For a quick overview of what happens after you've applied for financial aid, check out What Happens Next at Cal State Northridge.
Approximately 20 percent of financial aid applicants are selected for a process that verifies information submitted on the FAFSA. The verification process must be completed before aid is awarded. It is your responsibility to check your CSUN email regularly for a notice requesting documents. If you receive the email, follow the steps below.
Also, to avoid delays stemming from missing information and inaccuracies, make sure you read and follow the directions in the Verification Guide. You can find the Verification Guide by going to Resources, choosing "Verification Guide" and selecting the "2012-2013 Essentials" tab. From April to August, the verification process may take up to 12 weeks. Do not submit any verification documents unless they appear under your To-Do List on the portal.
- Document requests appear in your To-Do List.
- A To-Do List email with a reminder of requested documents is sent. Below is a sample list of documents you may be asked to submit:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship status. If you became a U.S. citizen after you received a Social Security card, provide the Social Security Administration with an updated U.S. citizenship status and request a duplicate Social Security card.
- Dependent or independent student verification worksheet.
- Signed copy of parents' IRS tax transcript (Form 1040).
- Signed copy of student or spouse's IRS tax transcript (Form 1040); if separate returns are filed, submit copies of both.
- Proof of registration with the Selective Service
- A legible copy of a valid driver's license or state photo identification card.
The amount of financial aid you receive is based on federal formulas that calculate the need for taxpayer-funded student aid programs. In determining your award, federal and state regulations consider any resources you may already have to cover the costs of education.
All colleges and universities are required to have coordination of aid and policy items in place to ensure compliance with these regulations.
Other than employment, you must report any resources you receive during the school year. Similarly, all university departments and any of their auxiliaries must notify the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department of payments or benefits, outside of employment, provided to you. Failure to do so, or late notification, puts you at serious risk for financial aid overpayment, which can lead to a reduction or cancellation of awarded funds. Eligibility for future financial aid may be affected.
All university campus departments and university auxiliaries, including Associated Students, CSUN Foundation, University Corporation and University Student Union, are required to report student resources to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. Any other kind of direct payment or benefit to the student must be reported. This includes book allowances, fee payments, fellowships, grants, scholarships, stipends and waiver of payments.
Again, employment does not need to be reported.
If you are subject to award revisions, you should visit the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to discuss the impact on your award, and explore financing options with a financial aid counselor. Every effort will be made to protect your financial aid eligibility and ensure there are sufficient resources to meet the costs of attending the university.
Fall 2012 Disbursement
The first fall 2012 financial aid payment is scheduled to begin on Aug. 17, 2012. This process involves four departments and takes approximately five to six days to complete. While the process takes place, you will see changes in your financial aid and student accounts.
As your aid is moved from your financial aid award to your CSUN student account, your fall anticipated aid will disappear. There will be a short period when you won't see your anticipated aid and your charges will still be showing.
After your aid has moved to your CSUN student account, it will first pay your tuition and campus fees* then any fall 2012 charges related to your on-campus housing/campus meal plan.
Please be aware that financial aid does not pay the orientation fee. You must make a separate payment for this charge.
Any remaining financial aid funds will be refunded to you at the end of the process. Please make sure you sign up for eRefund by Aug. 15, 2012 in order to receive any leftover funds that may remain.
Please allow all of the processes to complete before you contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department, University Cash Services or Student Accounting.
What you can do to make sure the process runs smoothly for you:
- Sign up for eRefund, if you have not done so already. If you signed up in the past but have changed your bank information, please update your records at Cal State Northridge immediately. For instructions on how to update your information, see question seven on the eRefund FAQs.
- By Aug. 16, make sure you're enrolled in all of the classes you intend to take fall 2012. If you change your enrollment after the payment of financial aid has been made to your student account, your aid may be adjusted. If your aid is reduced, you will be responsible for payment to the university.
- If you accept a direct loan offer, you must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete Loan Entrance Counseling before the loan funds can be released. The MPN only needs to be completed once, but Loan Entrance Counseling must be completed every year.
- Review the financial aid award information on your portal. If you are receiving aid from another source — a full or partial fee waiver, scholarship, academic/athletic award, or stipend — that is not recorded in your financial aid awards, you must report that resource immediately to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. It may reduce your financial aid.
*The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Tuition fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after initial tuition fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed tuition fees, without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU-listed tuition fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees.
Know when to expect funds and what is expected of you.
Financial aid awards are computed weekly for students who have completed the requested documentation and have met all other aid eligibility requirements. By the end of April, the department starts awarding new students for the upcoming fall. The department starts awarding continuing students in late June.
Award notifications are emailed every week and will direct you to more detailed award information on the myNorthridge Portal.
- If a change is made to your award, a revised financial aid award email will be sent.
- After you're awarded, the amount will show as anticipated aid. If you're awarded student loans, you must accept the loans on the myNorthridge Portal for it to show as anticipated aid. Grants are automatically accepted and show as anticipated aid when awarded. Before releasing funds, we make sure:
- We begin disbursing funds 10 days prior to the start of each term and continue weekly.
- When we disburse funds, your anticipated aid becomes actual aid to pay off your charges. If there is a credit balance, a Financial Aid Balance Check or an e-refund will be processed. Checks are mailed directly to the address on file with Admissions and Records. Checks may NOT be picked up in person. E-refund allows for the excess financial aid funds to be deposited directly to a designated bank account.
Beginning with the fall 2012 term, financial aid balances will be paid through this electronic funds transfer. Make sure you're ready by signing up for e-refund now.
The disbursement process happens weekly. It involves four departments and takes approximately five to six days to complete. As aid is moved from your financial aid award to your Northridge student account, your anticipated aid will disappear. There will be a short period when you will not see your anticipated aid, but charges will still show. After aid is moved to your Northridge student account, tuition and campus fees will be paid first, followed by any charges related to on-campus housing and/or a campus meal plan. Any remaining financial aid funds will be refunded at the end of the process.
Please allow every process to complete before contacting the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department, University Cash Services or Student Accounting with questions or concerns.
- The Award and Planning Guide is updated every year and explains in detail what a financial aid award means.
What you can do to make sure the process runs smoothly:
- Sign up for e-refund. If you signed up in the past but have changed your bank information, please update your records immediately by visiting the myNorthridge Portal and going to the "Financial Matters" tab. Under "My Financial Obligations," select "e-refund" and choose "Change Account." Update your bank information; agree to the acknowledgement and select "Save."
- Enroll in classes you intend to take. If you change enrollment after a financial aid payment has been made to your student account, your aid may be adjusted. If your aid is reduced, you will be responsible for payment to the university.
- Review the financial aid award information on your portal. If you are receiving a full or partial fee waiver, academic or athletic award, scholarship, or stipend that is not recorded in your financial aid awards, you must report that outside resource immediately to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. It may result in a reduction of financial aid.
- Sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you accepted a direct loan offer and, if required, complete loan entrance counseling. This must be done before the loan funds can be released.
Please keep in mind the following Northridge policies when applying for financial aid:
Release of Information: A release form must be on file if the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department is to release student information to the parent or parent information to the student. Please read the confidentiality policy, download the Authorization to Release Information form, and submit. This authorization must be filled out yearly.
Confidentiality Policy: All confidential information in a student's financial aid record is protected under the various provisions of law as listed in the California State University, Northridge catalog.
Should one wish to disclose university records to a third party, an "Authorization to Release Information" form is required. This form is only effective with the office to which it was submitted. All students must provide this release for their parents or stepparents, and married students for their spouse. Parents and stepparents with a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) must provide this release to discuss parental loans or income information they provided for their Northridge student.
Authorizations are valid for one person at a time. You must fill out multiple forms if you'd like to release your information to more than one person. You cannot, for example, complete a form for the "Smith family."
Forms should be submitted in person at the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department office, on the first floor of Bayramian Hall in the Student Services Center. You will be asked to provide identification. If you choose to submit your form by mail, additional steps are required. Forms submitted by mail must be notarized originals. Forms may not be faxed.
Authorization to release information may be revoked at any time and will automatically expire at the end of each Cal State Northridge academic year. Terminations before the end of an academic year must be in writing and submitted under the same security rules as listed above.
For more information, read about student identity theft and misuse.
Domestic Partner Rights: The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, or AB 205, extends new rights, benefits and obligations to individuals in registered domestic partnerships. The provisions of the act apply to state and institutional financial aid only, and not to federal aid.
AB 205 extends the rights and duties of spouses to couples registered as domestic partners with the California Secretary of State.
If you or your parents are in a registered domestic partnership at the time you file your FAFSA, you are required to contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to ensure compliance under AB 205. Students in a registered domestic partnership will be treated as married students in determining state aid eligibility, and parents in a registered domestic partnership will be treated the same as students with married parents.
Less Than Full-Time Enrollment: Financial aid awards are projected at full-time status. The amount actually disbursed to your student account may change depending on the number of units you are enrolled in. This may show as less than your award amount.
Satisfactory Academic Progress: Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained in order to continue eligibility for financial aid. Read more about the policy by visiting the Satisfactory Academic Progress page.
Withdrawal Policy:There are consequences to withdrawing from part, or all, of your course load, even for medical reasons. Read more about the withdrawal policy.