Policies and Guidelines

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Awarding and Packaging

Awarding Philosophy

Financial aid is awarded to students who have demonstrated financial need, in accordance with federal and UCSF policies. Financial aid is awarded based on the concept of equity packaging.

Due to the high cost of a health professions education, UCSF generally requires parental financial information for students who apply for Full Funding. A student’s eligibility is based on his/her own financial situation, as well as the financial strength of the parents of the student. The parents' financial situation does not affect the dollar amount of financial aid but does affect the type of aid offered.

Students who come from lower-income families qualify for greater percentages of grant and scholarship funding. The equity (free money portion) can change from year to year based on the total amount of dollars available from all sources and the number of students who are eligible for equity funding. Sources include the University Student Aid Program (USAP), Professional Fee return to aid, departmental funding and scholarship dollars.

Students who do not submit parental information (or who submit parent information but are found to be ineligible for equity packaging) receive a minimum grant award. The minimum grant is based on available funds from professional fee and USAP monies.

Packaging Policy

Contracts, Disclosures, and Campus Policies

Financial Aid Contracts and Agreements

Financial Aid Prepaid Card Program Disclosure

Please note that since UCSF had less than 30 enrolled students with a prepaid card for the award year of 2016-2017 no calculated refund information should be required to be listed by the Department of Education.

Policies, Compliance, and Guidelines

Student Academic Affairs provides more information about various campus policies, compliance, guidelines and reports.

Eligibility Determination

Complex federal, state and University of California regulations dictate the manner in which we determine eligibility and provide assistance. Our goal is to efficiently balance regulation compliance with the day to day needs of our students.

Generally, financial aid eligibility is equal to the student budget less expected family contribution from earnings and assets, and other resources. Financial aid eligibility is the amount need-based funding a student may receive from University sources; federal programs such as Direct (Stafford) Loans; and loans, fellowships and scholarships from outside organizations.

Other resources include but are not limited to untaxed income, gifts, and benefits from government programs (Social Security, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Veterans Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, etc.).

Expected family contribution is based on the income and asset information reported on the FAFSA. Read below for further details about how income and assets are assessed.

Some students have been selected for a process called verification. The U.S. Department of Education requires us to verify the information used to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by collecting supporting documentation from students who are selected for verification during FAFSA processing. If you are selected for verification, you will receive notification from the Department of Education via the Student Aid Report. The Student Financial Aid Office also notifies you about the verification process and may request additional documents. You will find Verification Forms and instructions here. Your financial aid package is conditional, and subject to change, until the verification process is completed and funds cannot be released to you. Once the verification review is complete, your Financial Aid Hold will be removed from your record.

Note: The following should only be used to estimate a contribution from income and assets. The actual amount used to determine financial aid eligibility will be calculated when the completed application is reviewed.

Gainful Employment Disclosures

Updated Gainful Employment Disclosures for Fiscal Year 2018/19

Students' Rights and Responsibilities

You have the right
  • To know what financial aid programs are available at your school
  • To know the deadline for submitting applications for each available program
  • To know how financial aid will be distributed, how decisions are made, and the basis for these decisions
  • To know how your financial need was determined. This includes how costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, travel, personal and miscellaneous expenses, etc., are considered in your budget
  • To know how much of your financial need had been met as determined by the financial aid advisor at the school or college
  • To know what resources (such as parental contribution, other financial aid, your assets, etc.) were considered in the calculation of your need
  • To know what portion of the financial aid you received must be repaid, and what portion is grant aid. If the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, the repayment procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan, and when repayment is to begin. Under the Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan program, if you cannot meet the repayment schedule, you may request that the loan payments be reduced for a specific period of time if it will assist you in avoiding default
  • To know how the school determines whether you are making satisfactory progress, and what happens if you are not
  • To request an explanation of the various programs in your student aid package
You have the responsibility
  • To complete all application forms accurately and submit them on time to the right place
  • To provide correct information. In most instances, misreporting information on financial aid applications is a violation of law and may be considered a criminal offense
  • To return all documentation, verification, corrections, and/or new information requested by either the Student Financial Aid Office or the agency to which you submitted your application
  • To read and understand all forms that you are asked to sign and to keep copies of them
  • To accept responsibility for all the arrangements that you sign
  • To perform the work that is agreed upon in accepting a Federal Work-Study award before you receive payment
  • To be aware of your school's refund procedures
  • All schools must provide information to prospective students about the school's programs and performance. You should consider this information carefully before deciding to attend a school
  • As a recipient of a Federal Stafford Student Loan, you must notify the lender if any of the following occur before the loan is repaid:
    • change of address
    • graduation
    • withdrawal from school or less than half-time attendance
    • name change
    • transfer to other schools

Withdrawing From School


Taking a Break from your Health Professions' Education

Students sometimes interrupt their education to accommodate educational goals or special circumstances. It’s important for you to know how to manage the break and to carefully consider the ramifications of how such a break in your education affects your student loans, graduation and other milestones.

Planning to Take a Leave of Absence

Typically, a Leave of Absence (LOA) is a period of non-enrollment when you are not required to pay tuition or fees. An LOA must be approved by the curriculum or student dean at your school and the timing must be carefully considered so you exit and enter your educational program appropriately. There are many acceptable reasons for considering a LOA, including:

  • Research
  • Additional graduate degree
  • International opportunity
  • Extramural elective opportunity
  • Family leave or medical leave
  • Additional time to study for boards
  • Customized curriculum
  • Other personal reasons
Preparing to Leave and Return to Campus

There are several simple things to do to ensure that your departure and re-entry are as smooth as possible. Be sure your Student Affairs or Curriculum Office staff knows how to reach you. Continue to read all UCSF e-mails that are sent by the Registrar, Financial Aid Office or from your school. File time-sensitive documents on (or before) their posted deadlines. Be aware that UCSF has a formal re-admittance procedure that you must complete when you return to school.

Of primary financial importance, be sure you have investigated the impact that your LOA will have on student loans. Most educational loans have a six-month grace period that begins as soon as you cease to be enrolled. If your LOA exceeds this six-month period, or you have loans that no longer grant this benefit (for example, undergraduate loans that were already in repayment or consolidated loans that no longer have a grace period), your loans enter repayment immediately.

Talk to your Financial Aid Advisor before you take a LOA so you know what to expect and plan accordingly.

Taking an LOA reduces your eligibility for aid during the academic year in which is LOA is taken. You must be enrolled to receive aid. Scholarships and grants may be adjusted as well as loans.

Checklist: Before You Leave
  • Discuss plans with your dean or curriculum advisor
  • Check your loan status to determine whether loans will enter repayment during LOA
  • If you are entering a graduate fellowship program you might be eligible to defer your loans. Contact your lender/Direct Loan for more information
  • Consider your health insurance needs. Check with the Student Health Office about your coverage
  • Notify the Registrar and obtain the necessary “withdrawal” form
  • Attend a mandatory Exit Interview
  • Be sure that the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Health and Student Affairs know where you can be contacted during your LOA
  • Find out when you need to apply for financial aid so it’s available when you return
  • Consult with your program and review the readmission procedure, available online
Checklist: During Your LOA and Prior to Your Return
  • Check loan status and stay current with payments of deferment/forbearance forms
  • Notify UCSF if your plans change
  • Confirm registration and course registration deadlines
  • File a re-admittance form with the Registrar
  • Continue to check and read e-mail messages from UCSF!
  • Keep your address updated on the Registrar’s on-line student portal
  • Remember to complete a new UCSF Finaid/COLS Application and FAFSA if your LOA is during winter, spring and/or summer (typically, applications are due in February for each new academic award year cycle)

Please Note: Taking an LOA reduces your eligiblity for aid during the academic year in which an LOA is taken. You must be enrolled to receive aid. Scholarships and grants may be adjusted as well as loans.

All Programs

Leaves of Absence/Part time Status

Some students take a Leave of Absence or reduce their unit load to part time during their normal curriculum with the consent of their program and advisor. After making your academic arrangements with your Program, it is helpful to talk to a financial aid advisor about how your student loans and financial aid will be affected. You must inform the Student Financial Aid Office as soon as you make a change in your enrollment or full time status.

  • Enrollment Plans
  • Will you be enrolling part time or taking a leave of absence from enrollment? See below for help with your decision-making.

    • Part Time Status: Part time status is less than 12 units. If you will be taking six-11 units, you are not eligible for campus-based loans, but may still receive the Federal Direct (Stafford) and Graduate PLUS loans. In part time status, your student loans remain in "student status" or "in school deferment".
    • Part Time Status: Part time status is less than 12 units. If you will be taking six-11 units, you are not eligible for campus-based loans, but may still receive the Federal Direct (Stafford) and Graduate PLUS loans. In part time status, your student loans remain in "student status" or "in school deferment".
    • Non-Enrollment: If you decide to take time off, and will not be enrolled at UCSF, see below for details on how your loans and financial aid will be affected.
  • Your Student Loans
  • If you decide to take time off and not enroll, consider if your time off exceeds six months. The grace period on your Direct (Stafford) and University loans may expire after six months and these loans will go into repayment. If you have any Perkins or Health Profession Student loans, the grace period may be longer. For example, the Perkins loan has a nine-month grace period before you go into repayment. You may also want to consider any Undergraduate loans which you may have already used your grace period on and any Graduate PLUS loans which do not have a grace period and immediately go into repayment when you are not enrolled.

    Options to Defer Loan Repayment:

    • If you decide it is not possible to make payments while you are not enrolled at UCSF, you have a few options. You can request your loans be placed in deferment or forbearance for your time away from school (after any grace period expires).
    • During forbearance, interest will accrue on your loans. You must file the deferment or forbearance form with the lender(s) who made your Direct (Stafford) or Graduate PLUS Loans, with the University’s loan servicer, Heartland ECSI (if you have Campus-based loans), and with your Undergraduate lender(s) before repayment begins. Once you return to school, the government will once again pay the interest associated with any subsidized loans, if you have been in forbearance or repayment.
  • Financial Aid When You Return
  • Remember to reapply for financial aid for the academic year in which you plan to return. Please make sure you complete your UCSF Finaid/COLS Application and FAFSA by the application deadline in order to receive full consideration for all funding when you return.

    • Financial Aid - Standard: You are eligible to receive full financial assistance (assuming you are otherwise eligible) for the normative time allowed for your program.
    • Financial Aid – With Extra Time in Your Program: If you elect to extend your program beyond the typical length of enrollment for your program, you may fund the additional time with a Federal Direct (Stafford) or Graduate PLUS Loans (or outside loans). To receive financial aid, you must be enrolled, attending at least half-time, and paying fees. If you don’t enroll, you must find funding sources outside of financial aid. (The years of financial aid are counted by the quarters you are enrolled.)
  • How to Proceed With Your Leave of Absence
  • Complete the “Notice of Withdrawal” for the OAR (Registrar’s Office). The following requirements need to be completed if you have received financial aid and will not be officially enrolled at UCSF during your leave.

    • Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) Requirements:
      • If you have received a Federal Direct (Stafford) or Graduate PLUS loan while enrolled at UCSF, SFAO will request that you complete an Exit Loan Counseling Session. All students must complete loan exit counseling at http://studentloans.gov.
      • ​Students who borrowed a Perkins Loan, Health Professions Loan, the Loan for Disadvantaged Students, Nursing Student Loan, or a University Loan while in attendance must complete exit counseling for these loans and will receive an email from Heartland, ECSI prompting them to do so. Be prepared to provide 3 references for this on-line exit counseling.
    • Student Accounting Office Requirements: If you have received any campus-based financial aid (including University, Perkins and HPSL Loans) while enrolled at UCSF, the Student Accounting Office will require that you email to arrange an exit session with their office. Students should contact Lawrence Calhoun 415-502-4591 to make these arrangements.
    • While you are not Enrolled at UCSF: Remember to stay informed on when your student loans go into repayment and consider the deferment or forbearance options listed above. Make sure to follow up on any deferment or forbearance you request.Remember to stay informed on when your student loans go into repayment and consider the deferment or forbearance options listed above. Make sure to follow up on any deferment or forbearance you request.
  • Re-applying for Financial Aid
  • Make sure to re-apply for Financial Aid for the following academic year by early March if you will be re-enrolling during any of the following year’s summer, fall, winter or spring quarters. Check our website for details on deadlines and how to re-apply. If you are unsure about whether you should apply, contact the SFAO.

    Withdrawal and Return To Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

    Federal Student Aid funds are awarded under the premise that students will attend classes for the entire period for which the aid is awarded. If you withdraw from school or take a leave of absence before 60% of the quarter has been completed, you may no longer be eligible to receive the full amount of financial aid originally disbursed to you for the quarter. The Registrar’s Office may also need to refund a portion of your tuition. If you never attended any class before your withdrawal, all financial aid received for that quarter should be returned. Thus, you should consult with your assigned financial aid advisor if you plan to withdraw from school.

    Title IV funds include Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, and Graduate PLUS. Under the Return To Title IV Funds (R2T4) policy, the Student Financial Aid Office is required to calculate the amount of “unearned” Title IV aid you had received at the beginning of the quarter that must be returned to the federal aid programs, based on your official last day of attendance as confirmed by your school.

    Your percentage of “earned” Title IV aid is determined by the number of calendar days you have attended before withdrawing (first day of classes to your official last day of attendance as determined by your school), divided by the total number of calendar days in the term (first day of classes through the last day of finals). Any scheduled school breaks of five or more consecutive days are excluded from the calculation. Your percent of “unearned” Title IV aid is 100 percent minus the percent earned. Any Title IV aid received in excess of the earned amount must be returned. Once you have completed more than 60% of the term, you are considered to have earned 100% of federal financial aid received for the term and therefore not required to return any funds.

    In accordance with R2T4 policy, unearned Title IV funds must be returned to the federal programs in the following order:

    1. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
    2. Federal Perkins Loan (no longer available after 2016-17 academic year)
    3. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS

    In some cases, the University may also owe a refund of the fees you paid, in which case the refund will reduce your student loans. The Office of the Registrar is responsible for refund of your tuition.

    If you owe money based on the R2T4 calculation, the "unearned" financial aid must be returned to the respective federal programs no later than 45 days from the date your withdrew from UCSF. If you do not repay the full amount, you will be billed, and a hold will be placed on your UCSF record so you will not be allowed to register for subsequent quarters or receive your academic transcript until the balance is paid.

    If you did not receive all the of funds that you have accepted and earned, but was not yet disbursed at the time of your withdrawal from UCSF, you should contact your financial aid advisor and authorize a post-withdrawal disbursement.

    Registrar and Refund

    See Registrar's Office information on withdrawals and refunds