AWARD AND PLANNING GUIDE
Bayramian Hall, first floor
(west of the Oviatt Library)
Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Counseling Hours
Monday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
A referral slip is required from the first-floor financial aid window. Visits with a financial aid counselor are limited to 15 minutes. Please have your questions ready.
Please be in line at least 30 minutes before closing; hours are subject to change.
Welcome to the Award and Planning Guide
The Financial Aid & Scholarship Department at California State University, Northridge is pleased to offer you financial assistance. Financial aid is any grant, loan, scholarship or work-study funds used to meet the cost of education. The Award and Planning Guide elaborates on the types of funds available, average costs, and other important information regarding the rules, terms, conditions and procedures relevant to you as a Northridge financial aid student. All disbursed funds are for the support and completion of your academic goals and should be used accordingly.
A financial aid award notice is sent to your CSUN Gmail after you complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your aid eligibility is determined using federally standardized calculations. Your financial aid package is designed to assist you in meeting standard college costs at California State University, Northridge. For specific aid information, please look at your award details on the myNorthridge Portal. If you have any questions about your aid or responsibilities, please contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
Memorandum of Understanding
By accepting any financial aid — scholarships, federal student loan disbursements, payments and otherwise — I certify that I have read the current Award and Planning Guide and authorize California State University, Northridge to automatically transfer, from my financial aid, the amounts necessary to pay tuition and other fees/obligations owed to the university. If I am a recipient of the Cal Grant B Access Grant, I may rescind an authorization by written notification to the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department. I also understand that financial aid award amounts are contingent on availability of funds, which are sometimes subject to change. I also recognize, per Cal State Northridge guidelines, that I may not receive financial aid (Federal Pell Grant, Cal Grant, federal direct loans, Perkins loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study) from another institution while receiving financial aid at Cal State Northridge.
The Financial Aid & Scholarship Department will provide financial assistance and guidance through appropriate communication and learning activities that will empower our students to fulfill their academic aspirations. As members of the university community, we will collaborate with other campus departments and the community through partnerships to provide outreach and access services, scholarship resources, and educational work experiences to our student population. We will strive to teach responsibility through loan counseling and budgeting workshops, while requiring satisfactory academic progress to promote responsible citizenship.
Payments and Refunds: Part One
What is the best way to access my financial aid information?
Your main communication link to the university and the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department is the SOLAR Student Center, which you can reach through the myNorthridge Portal. Log on and make sure you're viewing the "Home" tab. Select the "SOLAR Student Center" icon in the "Quick Link" box.
What does an award summary look like?
To see your award summary, log in to the myNorthridge Portal and select "SOLAR Student Center" from the "Quick Links" box. Under "Finances," select "View Financial Aid" and choose the year you wish to review.
How do I activate my award?
Your grants are automatically accepted on your behalf. If you have been awarded Federal Work-Study, you will be sent a separate email with instructions on how to find a work-study job and earn the funds you have been awarded.
Before you decide whether to accept your loan or loans, use the tools in the "My Money Management" section to determine whether you need these funds, or if you should accept a lower amount of loan funds than the maximum offered.
To receive your loan funds, you must activate your loan by accepting it on the SOLAR Student Center. If you need help accepting your loan, please refer to our loan acceptance tutorial for instructions.
If you need less than the loan amount offered, you may indicate the amount you want in the column labeled "Accepted." You cannot increase the amount since you have been offered the maximum.
If you do not want a student loan, please check the "Decline" box on the "Financial Aid – Accept My Student Loan" page. Loans are not processed without your approval.
How do I receive my funds?
Once your award is activated and you have submitted all required documents and established enrollment in sufficient units to be eligible for a payment, CSUN begins preparing financial aid funds for disbursement. Funds are credited to your CSUN student account usually 10 days before classes start and then weekly thereafter if you have not already been paid. All funds in excess of any University charges, such as registration fees and/or housing charges are refunded to the student via direct deposit through the university's e-refund process. If you do not sign up for an e-refund, a financial aid balance check is mailed to the home address listed on the SOLAR Student Center. If your financial aid is applied towards costs but does not cover all of your charges, University Cash Services will place a charge on your account. You should monitor your student account on a weekly basis. You must use your own money to pay any balance due.
If you want to get your refund quickly and safely, sign up for eRefund. Questions about the charges on your bill or checks lost in the mail should be directed to University Cash Services at (818) 677-8000, option 3. Questions about how your financial aid was applied to your account should be directed to Student Accounting at (818) 677-8000, option 2.
How do I view my tuition charges?
To view your charges, log in to the myNorthridge Portal, make sure you're viewing the "Home" tab and select the "SOLAR Student Center" icon in the "Quick Link" box. Then, select "Account Information" under "Finances."
Your financial aid award amount will show up as "Anticipated Aid" on the myNorthridge Portal. If your anticipated aid is sufficient to cover your charges, then you will not have to pay your fees out of pocket in advance. If the amount is not enough, you will be required to pay the difference from your own funds or risk being removed from your classes. Visit University Cash Services for information on how tuition and other fees are determined and how to pay them. Fees for on-campus parking, a CSUN ID, late registration, orientation, or a student housing deposit are not deduced from your financial aid funds. You may use any funds from your financial aid refund to pay these charges directly.
Payments and Refunds: Part Two
Students may view Cal State Northridge's refund policy online by visiting the University Cash Services website or by calling (818) 677-8000.
What can I use my financial aid money for?
When you signed the FAFSA, you agreed to use financial aid to pay the costs of attending an institution of higher education. Your signature legally binds you to the terms of the "Statement of Educational Purpose." In addition, on your financial aid award notice, the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department lists other provisions related to electronically applying award funds to tuition, fees, campus housing costs and other charges. For more details, please contact the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
What if I'm a scholarship recipient?
Checks made payable to the university, or to both the student and the university, must be processed by the Scholarship office. Funds will not be disbursed prior to the first week of school. Scholarships received during the semester will be processed and disbursed within two weeks of receipt. Unless the donor indicates otherwise, all scholarship checks made payable to the university will be divided into two semester payments. Funds awarded by campus departments, colleges or programs must be coordinated with the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department and disbursed in the same manner as other financial aid. Please be aware that any scholarships or academic awards may reduce your eligibility for other financial aid.
How and when do I pick up an award in person?
There are a few types of awards that must be picked up by the student in person, such as some outside scholarship checks and private education loans. If this applies to you, you will receive a notice in your CSUN Gmail account with instructions on when and where to pick up the check. In these cases, tuition, fees and other financial obligations may not be deducted beforehand — be prepared to settle these obligations when you pick up your check. You must be enrolled in sufficient units to pick up your check at Bayramian Hall 100R. If you do not satisfy these requirements, your aid may be canceled and you must make immediate arrangements to pay any university costs at that time.
What do I do if my home address has changed?
Aid for the current semester is applied to your student account a week before classes (except during summer). Tuition, fees and campus residence costs for the semester are deducted. If there is a balance left over, an eRefund will be issued or a balance check will be mailed to your home address on file. Review your current address on record in the "Personal Information" section of the SOLAR Student Center and make any necessary changes as soon as possible. If you want to get your refund faster, sign up for eRefund.
What Affects Aid
Factors That Affect Aid
Your financial aid may be interrupted or completely cut off based on a number of factors, including drug law violations; enrollment status; changes to your FAFSA after you receive an award; changes to your cost of attendance; satisfactory academic progress requirements; financial aid at more than one school; outside resources; repeat course work; loan entrance counseling and Master Promissory Note requirements; and withdrawal from the University. For further explanation, visit the "What Affects My Aid?" section under "Financial Aid Basics."
For information on program eligibility requirements for students in special groups, such as AB 540, veterans, intrasystem or concurrent visitors, international, resident assistants, credential students, and those approved for a study abroad or exchange program, review the "Special Groups."
For scholarship information, visit the "Scholarships" section.
Eligibility for financial aid is based on enrollment. The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 set rules which require Title IV funds to be returned if a student completely withdraws from a period of enrollment. These rules assume that a student earns their aid based on the time enrolled. Unearned aid, the amount of financial aid received that exceeds the amount the student has earned other than federal work-study, must be returned. Unearned aid may be subject to repayment.
During the first 60 percent of the enrollment period, a student "earns" aid in direct proportion to the length of time they remain enrolled. That is, the percentage of time the student remains enrolled is the percentage of aid the student earns for that period. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60 percent point earns all aid for the period. Check the schedule of classes for exact dates. Read more information about withdrawals.
How is my financial need determined?
Financial need is determined by subtracting your expected family contribution (EFC) from your cost of attendance. The federal government establishes the exact calculations used to determine your family's expected contribution. The amount calculated by the Department of Education is based on the information you provide on the FAFSA. This standardization means your contribution is assessed the same way no matter what school you attend. Actual awards may vary by school because of the differences in cost. Your cost of attendance is based on a federal formula that includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, housing and meals, transportation, miscellaneous expenses and loan fees. Most of these expenses are based on the average expenses of students attending CSUN. You may be able to live less expensively, but you should not expect to live an extravagant life as a student. "My Money Management" provides tools and resources to help you learn to live within the established cost of attendance.
What if I need more money?
Financial aid covers basic costs of attendance and living. Students who plan and budget well can live within the established budgeting guidelines. Although additional loans are available, it is wise to first consider where you can reduce costs. For example, sharing a room, taking public transportation, buying an economical car, choosing a better cell phone plan, making meals at home, and attending free, on-campus entertainment can all greatly reduce spending. Financial aid counselors are available to help you budget your financial aid funds. If you have unusual costs, such as medical or child care, you may discuss it with the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
If you have a special circumstance that changed your financial situation and you need more money, we do have an appeal process. Appeal forms are available after the fourth week of the fall semester. Students with extreme circumstances, such as death of a parent or spouse, are welcome to discuss their financial situation with a financial aid counselor on a walk-in basis. Students are allowed one appeal per academic career.
Scholarships offer another funding option. Off-campus scholarship listings are posted in the hallway outside of Bayramian Hall 140, inside the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department in Bayramian Hall 130, and online under the Scholarships section. If you need assistance looking for scholarships throughout the year, visit Bayramian Hall 130. The university scholarship program application is available online from mid-November until the scholarship deadline each year.
Where do I go for budgeting help?
Living on a budget is not always a simple thing, but it is an important life skill that will make a difference in your future. For additional information, visit the "Money Management" section under Resources.
How do I apply for a Stafford or PLUS loan?
- Apply for financial aid if you have not already done so.
- Accept your federal Direct Stafford loan after receiving a financial aid award notice. You can choose to accept a lower amount than what is offered to you. You can accept your loan online by logging into the myNorthridge Portal and accessing the SOLAR Student Center, or by using a paper loan activation request. PLUS loans must be requested using a paper PLUS loan request form.
- Complete a direct loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- Complete direct loan entrance counseling.
- Enroll half time.
- Accept your loan by the loan acceptance deadline.
If you are a nonresident student applying for federal direct loans, you may wish to research the availability of state grant assistance from your state of legal residence before applying for a loan. View a list of U.S. state agencies that administer grants and take note of each state's deadline.
Financial Aid Repayment
A reduction in units or withdrawal from the university may require you to pay back any financial aid received. Before deciding to reduce units, discuss the possibility with a Financial Aid & Scholarship Department staff member. They will let you know how such changes may impact your financial aid. If you are required to repay financial aid, repayment is due immediately to the university and may affect future enrollment or ability to receive university services.
Students seeking a medical withdrawal must complete the necessary forms at the Klotz Student Health Center. The Financial Aid & Scholarship Department is informed of all approved medical withdrawals. Medical withdrawals should be considered carefully; financial aid repayments may be required for any unearned funds. Please be aware of the following medical withdrawal consequences:
- Your work-study employers will be notified and work-study jobs will be terminated.
- Your tuition fee refund resulting from a medical withdrawal will be used to cover repayment of federal Stafford loans and other aid programs.
- Your satisfactory academic progress requirements for financial aid will be affected since a "W" grade, even in cases of medical withdrawal, will count as units attempted with zero units earned.
For more information, read the withdrawal policy.
Rights and Responsibilities
You have the right to know:
- What financial aid programs are available at California State University, Northridge.
- The application deadlines for each of the available programs.
- The cost to attend Northridge, including tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses, and transportation.
- Every applicant will have his or her application evaluated using the same system of need analysis.
- How your financial aid is determined, including what earnings, parental contribution and other assets are considered in the calculation of your expected family contribution (EFC).
- What portion of your calculated financial need will be met.
- How much of your financial aid is comprised of loans and how much is made up of grants. If the award is a loan, you have the right to know the amount which must be repaid, the interest rate, the amount of each payment and the repayment schedule.
- How your financial aid will be disbursed.
- The repayment and refund policy.
- How the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department determines whether you are accomplishing satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and what happens if you are not.
- The information pertaining to your financial aid is kept confidential.
- A full and clear explanation of financial aid decisions. You may appeal decisions if you disagree with them or if your financial situation changes significantly.
- How scholarships, fellowships, tuition fee waivers, vocational rehabilitation, veterans benefits, residence advisor benefits, stipends and other financial resources will be coordinated with any financial aid you are awarded.
You have the responsibility to:
- Complete all applications and forms accurately by the established deadline.
- Comply with all financial aid application deadlines.
- Provide correct information. Misrepresented information on financial aid applications and forms is a violation of federal law and may be considered a criminal offense.
- Read and understand all documents you are asked to sign and keep copies for your records.
- Accept responsibility for all agreements you sign.
- Return any additional documentation and new information requested by the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
- Notify the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department if you drop below full-time enrollment during any semester. Full-time enrollment is 12 units for undergraduates and 8 units for graduates.
- Notify the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department of any increase in resources, including scholarships, fellowships, stipends, awards, income, assets, parental contribution and other benefits.
- Seek advice from a tax professional to determine if any portion of grants, fellowships or scholarships are considered taxable income.
- Register with the Selective Service when required to do so.
- Read the federal disclosures by printing a paper copy or viewing it online.
- Notify the CSUN Financial Aid & Scholarship Department if you are receiving or plan to receive financial aid at another school. Students who enroll at two or more schools during the same semester or summer term are eligible to receive financial aid at only one institution for that term. If you wish to decline your financial aid at Northridge, you must submit a Status Change Notification form. Students who receive federal financial aid at two or more schools for overlapping enrollment periods may be subject to a reduction of financial aid at one or all schools. Any reduction of financial aid could result in holds on future enrollment and a balance due to Northridge. Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOG) does not impact federal aid at Northridge.
When you accept Stafford or Perkins loans, it is your responsibility to:
- Complete loan entrance counseling and sign an electronic Master Promissory Note.
- Complete loan exit counseling for Stafford and Perkins loans before you graduate, transfer, drop below half-time enrollment or withdraw from Northridge.
- Notify your lender or loan servicer when your address, phone number, email or name changes.
- Repay the loan you have borrowed according to the terms of repayment, or make timely arrangements for forbearance, deferments, or alternate payment plans with the holder of your loan when you are unable to meet repayment terms.
When you receive Federal Work-Study, it is your responsibility to:
- Find a work-study job through the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department.
When you are hired for a federal work-study job, it is your responsibility to:
- Complete the necessary hiring forms.
- Adhere to the arranged work schedule.
- Correctly report the hours you work.
- Keep track of your fall semester earnings to ensure you don't earn more than half of your academic year award in the fall semester.
- Carefully monitor your earnings so you do not exceed your award for the academic year.
- Remain enrolled at least halftime while employed as a work-study student.
|Admissions and Records
For questions regarding expected graduation date, enrollment verification, grades, transcripts, withdrawals, adds and drops
|General campus information
For phone numbers of other campus departments
For questions regarding charges on your student account, previous semester outstanding balances and tax information on Form 1098T
|(818) 677-8000, option 2|
|Klotz Student Health Center
For questions regarding medical withdrawals and vaccination holds
|Student parking information
For questions regarding student parking fees, bicycle registration, parking lot maps, parking permit dispenser locations, parking enforcement and traffic safety
|University Cash Services
For questions regarding payments received and checks disbursed
|(818) 677-8000, option 3|
Helpful Web Resources
- Apply for Financial Aid
- California Loan Guarantor
- California Student Aid Commission
- California State University, Northridge Main Page
- Department of Education Website for Students
- Direct Loan Entrance Counseling
- Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
- Education and Career Information
- Financial Planning and Debt Management
- Information on All California State University Campuses
- IRS Online Forms
- Loan Deferment Information
- Obtain a PIN Number for the Electronic FAFSA
- Selective Service Registration
- Scholarship Scams
- State Grant Information
- Status of Your Current Loan
- Taxpayer Benefits and Lifetime Learning Credits
- Loan and Pell Grant History