2003-205 University Catalog spacer
California State University, ChicoTable of ContentsSearchDegreesCoursesScheduleHome spacer
Filing the FAFSA Giving Advice Helping Out inquisitive students

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office (FAO) assists students in meeting college costs: both direct educational costs such as tuition, fees, and books; and personal living expenses such as food, housing, and transportation. Many students and their families cannot pay the full cost of education by themselves. For those families, financial aid is available to supplement their efforts.


Some students do not apply for financial aid because they think aid is not available. But millions of students throughout America receive some outside help each year. To receive aid, you must demonstrate economic need. Need is the difference between what it costs to attend a college and what you and your family are expected to pay toward the costs.

The Basic Aid Formula

(What It Costs To Attend) minus (What Your Family Is Expected To Pay) = Financial Need

You are usually eligible for financial aid equal to the amount of your demonstrated financial need.


There are three types of financial aid:

Grants or scholarships are funds that do not have to be repaid. Grants are usually based on need. Scholarships may be based on need, but some reward students for academic excellence, leadership, and/or community service.

Loans are funds that must be repaid, usually after graduation or upon leaving school. Student loans have lower interest rates than most commercial loans. If you receive a loan, you must receive entrance counseling before receiving your loan and an exit interview before you leave the university.

Work-Study involves earning money as payment for work.

If you receive aid, the Financial Aid Office may put together a combination of different types of aid.


Since cost of attendance includes room and board, your costs will be affected by whether you live at home and commute or live on or near the campus. If you have any special expenses, such as child care or on-going medical needs, you should bring them to the attention of the FAO.

The budget in the box below is used by the FAO to compute your financial need. It represents a moderate standard of living for students attending CSU, Chico.


Eligibility for financial aid depends on how much you and your family are required to contribute toward your college attendance costs.  Standard formulas are used to calculate your family’s contribution.

Families should think of themselves as the primary source of funds for college. Almost all colleges, government agencies, and special programs expect you and your family to contribute as much as possible toward college costs. Your family’s income is a factor, and more is usually expected from families with higher incomes. A family’s assets are also considered, since a family with assets, such as a large savings account or investment, has a stronger financial position than a family with the same income and no assets. For more information about what variables count in this analysis contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243.

Standard Budgets for 2002/03 (9 months)*



With Parents



W/ Parents/Relatives

Fees/Tuition **












Room & Board






Transportation ***






Misc. Personal











* Budgets are for a nine-month academic year. One-semester budgets are half of the above amounts.
** Non-resident students add to regular fees above an additional $246 per unit. Fees based on full-time enrollment. All fees are subject to change based on Board of Trustees action.
*** Students living with parents may add actual mileage at 31 cents a mile.


If you are considered a dependent student, your income, assets, and expenses are considered along with those of your parents in computing family contribution. If you are considered an independent student, parental financial information is not a factor. You are considered independent if you are (1) twenty-four years old or older on December 31 of the first calendar year of the award year; (2) an orphan or ward of the court or were a ward of the court until age eighteen; (3) a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; (4) a graduate student working on a masters or doctorate degree; (5) a student with legal dependents other than a spouse; (6) married when you submit your FAFSA; (7) a student for whom a financial aid adviser can document special circumstances regarding independence.


Included below are three examples of how we package aid to fit individual circumstances. The examples assume that the family applied on a timely basis. We do exhaust certain types of aid. Since these are only examples, your particular situation may not be covered.


While some families do manage to provide the estimated contribution from current income, many families use a combination of savings and borrowing to pay their share of college costs. If your family has already saved the entire amount, they may not have to use current earnings or future income at all. Or, they may choose to draw from savings and current earnings. If your family has done little or no saving for college, you have fewer choices and will have to rely on some mixture of current earnings and future earnings to pay the expected contribution. As a last resort, there are supplemental loan programs available to replace the family contribution. Read the information on Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford/Ford loans and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) described under loan programs.

Example #1

Family size: 4, 1 student in college;
dependent, sophomore

2001 earned income:

$ 15,000 or less

Budget (on-campus)

$ 13,500

Family contribution (computed)

$ 0

Financial Aid Eligibility:

$ 13,500


Sample Aid Package #1

Pell Grant

$ 4,000

Supplemental Grant (FSEOG)

$ 1,000

Cal Grant B

$ 2,929


$ 2,500

Perkins Loan

$ 1,500

Total Aid

$ 11,979


Example #2

Family size : 4, 1 student in college;
dependent, freshman

2001 earned income:

$ 32,000


$ 20,000

Budget (off-campus)

$ 13,500

Family contribution (computed)

$ 2000

Financial Aid Eligibility:

$ 11,500


Sample Aid Package #2

Pell Grant

$ 2,000

State University Grant (SUG)

$ 2,000


$ 500


$ 2,500

Stafford Loan

$ 2,625

Total Aid

$ 9,625


Example #3

Example #3
Family size: 1; independent, senior

2001 earned income:

$ 7,000

Savings & other assets:

$ 150

Budget (off-campus)

$ 13,500

Student contribution (computed)

$ 500

Financial Aid Eligibility:

$ 13,000


Sample Aid Package #3

Pell Grant

$ 3,500

State University Grant (SUG)

$ 1,500

Stafford Loan

$ 5,500

Total Aid

$ 10,500


The financial aid application is available in high school and college financial aid offices in December and should be filed as soon as possible after January 1 for the next academic year.

The Official Priority

Filing Date Is March 2.



An entitlement program available to eligible undergraduates and credential candidates with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of less than $3,551. The maximum Pell Grant for 2002/2003 is anticipated to be $4,000.


Available to eligible undergraduate students who qualify for Federal Pell Grant. It is usually awarded in combination with a loan or Work-Study. Funding for this grant is very limited. It is usually awarded only to students from historically disadvantaged families. FSEOG awards can range from $100 to $4,000 per academic year, but the average award at CSU, Chico is around $1,000 per year.


Awarded to California residents who have EFCs less than $5,000. In 2002/2003, the maximum award is anticipated to be $2,000 a year for undergraduates and $500 for postbaccalaureate students. This grant is usually not allowed if student fees are paid by another source. Both graduates and undergraduates may be eligible for SUG. Funds are limited, so apply early each year.


A state grant awarded to undergraduate students admitted through the Educational Opportunity Program. Because of funding limitations, newly admitted students receive first priority.  EOPG awards range from $200 to $2,000. Contact Educational Support Programs for admission criteria at 530-898-6831.


The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) awards various grants to California residents.  The FAFSA contains questions specific to Cal Grants and must be completed by March 2 each year. New applicants must also submit a GPA verification form to CSAC by March 2.

Authorization to disburse Cal Grants is dependent on the governor signing the state budget and payment being sent to us from the California Student Aid Commission. We will send you a new award letter showing your Cal Grant disbursement dates as soon as we receive authorization to disburse the award.


Available to undergraduates who demonstrate need and membership in a federally recognized American Indian tribe. An additional application, specific to each tribe, is required. Applications have varying deadlines.


Assumes loan payments for selected college students committed to teaching in designated teacher shortage areas. Detailed information is available at our Web site under “Types of Aid.”  You may also request to be added to our mailing list at this site.

Note: The Office of Admissions determines if you are a California resident.



Require a separate application available from September through January at the Scholarship Office or from the Financial Aid Office Web site at www.csuchico.edu/fa. University scholarships are awarded in amounts from $100 to $3,000. The deadline to apply for the following academic year is February 1. Both graduates and undergraduates are invited to apply. Visit the Scholarship Office, Meriam Library 171, for more information.


Information is available at the Scholarship Office. Scholarship announcements are posted on a bulletin board outside the office. You may also review books on scholarships provided in the Meriam Library reference section. You may access scholarship databases at www.finaid.org.


Available for selected students with outstanding academic performance records and special talents. These usually require a separate application or nomination. New and continuing students should inquire at their department offices for information about special awards.



Available if you need a small amount for a short period of time. The maximum loan is $250 and must be repaid within 90 days or with your next financial aid disbursement, whichever comes first. There is a $3.00 service charge per loan. No interest is charged if the loan is repaid on time. You may receive only one short-term loan per semester. The short-term loan application is available at www.csuchico.edu/fa.


Made to you by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Education.  These loans are managed by Financial Aid Business Services. Financial Aid Business Services will oversee your loan account until your loans are paid in full.

These loans are available to low income undergraduates and graduates. The interest rate is 5 percent during repayment. Most of the Perkins Loan money available is provided by students who are now repaying their loans. Because funds are limited, we award loan amounts from $500 to $1,500, although federal maximums are higher.

First-time borrowers at this institution must receive Perkins pre-loan counseling prior to the first disbursement. Pre-loan counseling is available at www.csuchico.edu/fa.

Perkins Loan recipients are required to complete and submit a promissory note each year a Perkins Loan is borrowed. You will receive a Perkins promissory note by mail as soon as your financial aid file is complete. Use the envelope included to return your note to Financial Aid Business Services, Kendall Hall 213.

If you are awarded a Federal Perkins Loan, you do not have to make payments while you are enrolled at least half time in an accredited school of higher education. This period of deferment is one of four available. Complete details on deferments, cancellation, and repayment are provided in pre-loan counseling and on the Federal Perkins promissory note.


Made to you by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Education instead of by a private lender. These loans are managed by the Direct Loan Servicing Center. The Servicing Center will oversee your loan account until your loans are paid in full. Direct loans include subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans for students, and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS loans). All loans must be repaid.

Interest rates for Stafford loans are variable, capped at 8.25 percent. Interest rates for PLUS loans are also variable, capped at 9 percent. A processing fee of up to 3 percent is deducted from Stafford loan amounts by the federal processor before each disbursement. A processing fee of 4 percent is deducted from PLUS loans by the federal processor before each disbursement.

Subsidized Stafford Loans

Available to eligible undergraduates and graduates. You may apply for a subsidized loan up to the amount of your unmet need or grade level limit, whichever is lower. “Subsidized” means the federal government is paying the interest while you are in school at least half time and during your six-month grace period.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans

Available to eligible undergraduates and graduates. You may apply for an unsubsidized loan to replace your expected family contribution or unmet need within the grade-level limits. “Unsubsidized” means you must pay the interest while in school and during your six-month grace period or request the accrued interest be added to the loan principal. Other terms and conditions are the same as for subsidized loans.

PLUS Loans

Available to parents of dependent students. This loan may be used as a substitute for the expected family contribution but may not exceed the cost of education minus other aid. Parent borrower eligibility is based on ability to pay and a good credit record. Generally, repayment must begin immediately upon receipt of a disbursement unless the parent qualifies for a deferment. If a PLUS loan is denied, the student may contact our office regarding other options.


Federal Work-Study is available to under-graduates and graduates. Awards typically range from $200 to $3,800 an academic year. You are not guaranteed a job if you are awarded work-study, but most students who want to work are able to find employment. Position openings are listed in the Student Employment Office. Jobs are primarily located on campus and pay ranges from $6.75 to $14.52 an hour. Summer work-study is available on a limited basis.

State Work-Study is a program involving paid jobs in the community for work related to an educational plan. If you qualify for federal work-study, you may qualify for the state program. The Student Employment Office can assist you with these jobs.


  • Start the process early. Learn all you can about financial aid. Investigate every source.
  • Request admission and financial aid information from the college you are considering.
  • Know what applications you have to file and when you have to file them.
  • Apply for admission.
  • Apply for financial aid.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete each application before the deadline.
  • Complete the financial aid application accurately and legibly. Send it to the processor as soon as possible after January 1. Be sure to list all colleges, programs, and agencies from which you want help.
  • Respond promptly to requests for information.
  • Keep copies of all your documents.
  • Ask questions. If you need help locating sources of aid, ask your high school counselor or financial aid adviser.  
  • Apply for financial aid each year no later than March 2.
  • The number of academic units completed affect some types of financial aid. Send academic transcripts early to the Admissions Office.


You must (1) be a citizen, national, or a permanent resident of the United States, or a permanent resident of the Northern Marianas or Palau, or a permanent resident of the Marshall Islands or Federated States of Micronesia; (2) be accepted for enrollment or eligible to continue enrollment in a program leading to a degree or certificate; (3) not owe refunds on any previous loans or grants; (4) be in good standing on previous student loans; (5) have a social security number; and (6) have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent.


If program of study is:

You may be eligible for:

Master’s Programs:
Conditionally Classified
Advanced to Candidacy

Federal or State Work-Study
State University Grant (SUG)
Graduate Fellowship
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans ($8,500 annual maximum)
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loans ($18,500 annual maximum when combined with Federal Subsidized Stafford)
Total maximum limit for all Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans is $138,500

Credentials and Certificates:
Multiple Subjects
Single Subject
FLEX Program (if regularly enrolled)
Theory and Practice of Basic Writing Certificate

Federal Pell Grant (for eligible students working toward their first credential)
Federal or State Work-Study
State University Grant (SUG)
Cal Grant
Federal Perkins Loan
Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans ($5,500 annual maximum; $23,000 aggregate limit for all Subsidized Stafford Loans)
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loans ($10,500 annual maximum when combined with Federal Subsidized Stafford)
Total maximum loan limit for ALL Direct Subsidized loans is $23,000.

Unclassified Programs:
Qualifying for Master’s (eligible for aid for one 12-month period only)
Qualifying for Credential (eligible for aid for one 12-month period only)

State Work-Study
State University Grant (SUG)
Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans ($5,500 annual maximum; $23,000 aggregate limit for all Subsidized Stafford Loans)
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loans ($10,500 annual maximum when combined with Federal Stafford)
Total maximum loan limit for ALL Direct Subsidized loans is $23,000.

 Second Bachelor’s Degree

Federal or State Work-Study
State University Grant (SUG)
Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans ($5,500 annual maximum; $23,000 aggregate limit for all Subsidized Stafford Loans)
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loans ($10,500 annual maximum when combined with Federal Stafford)
Total maximum loan limit for ALL Direct Subsidized loans is $23,000.

Other programs:
CPA (qualifying for exam)
Open University (formerly REX)
Paralegal Certificate
Pre-Professional Programs
Second Undergraduate Major
Teachers Seeking Advancement
Adjunct Enrollment through
Continuing educ.

Ineligible for aid



Students who are convicted of illegally using a controlled substance (drugs or alcohol) are subject to loss of their financial aid and expulsion from college.


Men at least eighteen, born after December 31, 1959, not yet twenty-six years of age, not currently on active duty with the Armed Forces, and not permanent residents of the Trust Territories or Northern Marianas are required to register with the Selective Service in order to receive financial aid.


You are generally expected to register for and complete a full-time unit load and maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average. Full time is 12 units a semester (8 units of 200- to 300- level courses for masters students).

Students who plan to enroll in less than full-time units need to complete the Response to Financial Aid Offer form, available at Meriam Library 161, prior to disbursement to avoid a financial aid minimum units hold.

Reminder: Full-time enrollment is 12 units for undergraduates, credential, certificate, and unclassified programs and 8 units at the 200 & 300 level for a master’s degree program.

Financial aid is usually restricted to undergraduates with fewer than 180 units attempted and 168 units completed and graduates with fewer than 60 units completed.


Please call, write, e-mail or visit the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.

Office hours: 8a.m.-5p.m., Monday-Friday.

Customer Service representatives are available by phone and window to provide information and assist with scheduling appointments. Walk-in appointments are scheduled the same day at the window only. Other appointments are scheduled one week at a time by phone or window. Individual adviser availability varies weekly.


Information regarding financial aid holds and your financial aid award status is available through Telephone Registration at Chico State (TRACS). Dial 530-898-4040 and follow the directions provided to inquire about financial aid.