As a new CSUN student, you've got enough to think about without having to deal with money issues. To help you get off on the right foot, we've put together this guide that will answer a lot of your questions about paying for your education, setting up a budget and saving money.
You can apply for scholarships on STARS Online, which streamlines the process and matches you with the ones for which you qualify. It allows you to apply for multiple scholarships at once and directly upload transcripts or letters of recommendation.
CSUN offers four types of merit-based scholarships: the Honors at Entrance scholarship, the Matador Scholarship program, the University Scholars award and the Presidential Scholars award.
- The Honors at Entrance scholarship is for first-time freshmen who have been admitted to CSUN’s general education honors program.
- The Matador Scholarship program is for incoming and continuing students who have demonstrated academic excellence and financial need.
- The University Scholars award is for current undergraduate students and new transfers entering CSUN.
- The Presidential Scholars award is a prestigious honor reserved for current undergraduate students with a cumulative 3.5 GPA.
For more information about how to apply for any of these scholarships, check the eligibility criteria.
In order to receive financial aid, you’ll need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. The priority filing period is Jan. 1 through March 2. CSUN’s federal school code is 001153.
Three ways to apply for the FAFSA
Before starting an application, make sure you have all the required documents. After you successfully submit your FAFSA, CSUN may request additional information. Respond to document requests promptly and check the financial aid website for deadlines.
You, and your legal parent (if you’re a dependent student), need to create an Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID before applying. Your FSA ID (which replaced the Federal Student Aid PIN on May 10, 2015) acts as a legal signature; be sure to keep it secure.
After you are admitted to CSUN, the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department will determine your eligibility for aid and the types of awards you may receive. Visit the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department to learn more about financial aid at CSUN.
File your tax return early and take advantage of FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Not only does the tool save you time, it also reduces the chance that your FAFSA will be selected for verification.
File your tax return electronically. This will give you access to the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within three weeks.
Checking Your Financial Aid
For newly admitted students, award notices are typically sent in late April. Remember to check your CSUN email often. This account is the primary way the Financial Aid & Scholarship Department communicates with you.
Your financial aid award is posted as anticipated aid on your My Checklist in the myNorthridge Portal. If you are offered loans, you must accept them through My Checklist. Once you accept your loans, the amount will appear as actual aid on the myNorthridge Portal. In order to remain eligible for financial aid, you must maintain a minimum GPA and meet other requirements.
If money is left over after your aid is disbursed, a check is mailed to the address you have on file at Admissions and Records. Be sure that this address is up to date. To check, go to the right-hand corner of your myNorthridge Portal. Look for My Settings. Roll over this button and a drop-down menu will appear. Select Update My Personal Information.
Where to Stash Your Cash
University Student Union
1. Create a budget.
2. Start a savings account.
The sooner you begin, the easier it’ll be to save. Even setting aside $1 a day can build your wealth.
3. Help the environment.
Reduce your utility bills by using energy-saving bulbs and power strips. Unplug chargers and appliances when you’re not using them.
4. Use discounts.
5. Buy groceries once a week and pack your lunch.
Just don’t shop when you are hungry! You can find cheap and easy recipes via the monthly Student Health 101 e-magazine.
6. Bike or bus it.
Keeping a car on campus means spending money on gas, maintenance and parking. CSUN's public transit station and free Metrolink shuttle both offer convenient on-campus drop-off locations. As a student, you are eligible for a heavily discounted Metro pass. There are several secure bike cages and skateboard racks (in the University Student Union) to lock up your wheels.
7. Take advantage of student services.
Some campus resources are actually paid for by your Campus Quality Fee. Instead of paying for a gym membership, work out at the Student Recreation Center. Klotz Student Health Center and University Counseling offer free and low-cost health care services for CSUN students.
8. Use credit wisely.
Although it’s important to build your credit score, avoid carrying too many card balances. The wrong kind of debt can adversely affect your credit score. Try shopping with cash or a debit card.