Step 3—Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships

Make a Plan

It's time to decide how you and your family will finance your SDSU education. Take into account your overall cost of attendance, which includes basic tuition and fees, housing, transportation, books, and personal expenses. By combining grants, loans, scholarships, part-time employment, savings, and contributions from your family, you can make this investment affordable.

Estimated Costs of Attendance

For the most up-to-date information regarding tuition and fees refer to the Student Account Services website.

Undergraduate Estimated Costs for 2017–18

Basic Tuition and Fees $7,184 $7,184
Nonresident Tuition* 0 $11,160
On-Campus Food and Housing** $15,966 $15,966
Total*** $23,150 $34,310

* Nonresident tuition is based on 15 units each semester at $372 per unit.

** Freshmen from outside SDSU's local admission area are required to live on campus for their first year. Be sure to review the on-campus food and housing payment schedule at Your total cost and payments will vary depending on your meal plan and room type (quad, triple, double, or single).

*** Plan for additional expenses that will increase your cost of attendance. For undergraduates, we estimate the average annual cost of books and supplies to be $1,854, transportation to be $1,494, and personal expenses to be $1,450. If these amounts match your personal situation, then you would add them to the overall cost of attendance listed above.

Cost of Attendance Note

The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. 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 fees are initially charged or initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees. All listed fees, other than mandatory systemwide fees, are subject to change without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, or the Presidents, as appropriate. Changes in mandatory systemwide fees will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Working Families Student Fee Transparency and Accountability Act (Sections 66028 - 66028.6 of the Education Code).

Apply for Financial Aid

Federal and state financial aid programs (grants, part-time jobs, and student and parent loans) are awarded to students who apply and meet eligibility requirements.

To begin the financial aid application process:

  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Be sure to use the IRS data retrieval option when completing your FAFSA to reduce errors.
  • By March 2, complete your FAFSA online and be sure to list SDSU's federal school code of 001151.
  • By March 2, California residents need to submit a GPA Verification Form to the California Student Aid Commission to be considered for a Cal Grant.

SDSU receives your information electronically one week after you submit your FAFSA online to the Federal Student Aid Processing Center.

Apply for SDSU Scholarships

A scholarship is free money that is usually awarded based on your achievements and qualifications. To be awarded, you must apply.

SDSU scholarships are competitive and each requires a separate application and essay. Some require additional application materials such as a letter of recommendation. Review each scholarship's application requirements carefully.

To begin the SDSU scholarship application process:

  • Select the SDSU Scholarship Search tool on the Scholarships page on the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.
  • Apply by submitting a separate online application and essay for each scholarship for which you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • By February 10, 2017, submit your applications, essays, and if required, additional application materials. Applications for some scholarships are due by May 12, 2017.

You are notified of your eligibility by late spring. Check AidLink regularly for your application and award status and the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Schoparships website for additional scholarship opportunities posted throughout the year.

Apply for External Scholarships

Organizations other than SDSU award countless scholarships each year. We encourage you to apply for as many scholarships as possible. To get started, review "External Scholarships" and "Scholarship Resources" on the Scholarships page on the SDSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships website.

Priority Deadlines

Financial aid and scholarship applications are reviewed and aid is awarded throughout the year based on available funding. Some grant funds are limited, so apply early and submit documents as soon as requested.

To receive priority evaluation of your eligibility for all financial aid programs, apply by March 2 and submit all financial aid documents requested by April 1.

  • By March 2, your FAFSA must be complete and accepted (not rejected for errors) with SDSU’s federal school code of 001151.
  • By April 1, submit requested documents.

Financial aid and scholarship applications and documents submitted after these dates will not receive priority evaluation and aid will be awarded based on available funding at the time.

Email and AidLink

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships uses email and your AidLink account to communicate with you about documentation you need to submit to determine your award. Once awarded you will be notified by email and will be able to view your award online through AidLink. We use the email address on record in your SDSU WebPortal account.

AidLink is our secure web-based, self-service system that enables you to keep informed about your financial aid and SDSU scholarship applications. Log in to AidLink to monitor your financial aid information and application status, download and print documents you need to submit, activate your student loans, and more.

Your Financial Aid Award and Disbursement

Log in to AidLink to view your Financial Aid Estimate. If you are registered for classes and your aid is available, payment toward university charges and direct deposit of funds to your designated bank account begins August 21. Direct deposit is the only method available to receive the balance of your financial aid and scholarship awards after paying university charges. To sign up for direct deposit and to view your university charges and payments, log in to your student account at the Student Account Services website

When your financial aid is disbursed, amounts due from basic tuition and fees and housing will be deducted automatically from awarded aid. Student Account Services will send you an email and you may view the transactions in your student account.

Residence Hall Payments and Financial Aid and Scholarships

The university will use your financial aid award (grants, loans, or scholarships), to pay any outstanding institutional charges, including housing fees. After you have paid the $375 nonrefundable initial payment due with your SDSU Housing License Agreement, the remaining amount of your semester’s housing and meal charges will be deducted from your financial aid disbursement at the beginning of the semester.

If the amount of aid you receive is unavailable or insufficient to cover all housing costs, you will be responsible for making payments with your own resources by each due date. Visit the Office of Housing Administration and Residential Education website for payment amounts and due dates.

If your award includes Direct Loans, keep in mind that the process to activate these loans (particularly parent loans) can take several weeks. Be sure to allow time for processing if you want to use the loan funds to make your housing payments.