Financial Aid & Scholarships

Apply for Financial Aid

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for all types of federal aid. Federal aid includes grants, student and parent loans, and work study:

  • Federal Pell Grants: Pell Grants are free money that you do not have to repay. These grants are awarded based on financial need.
  • Loans: Federal loan programs allow you to borrow funds for your education that you will repay after graduation at a low interest rate. A freshman may borrow $5,500 in federal loans. Parents may borrow up to the total cost after passing a credit evaluation for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan. Alternative loans, offered by private lenders, are more expensive. Borrow your limit in federal loans before seeking a private loan.
  • Work Study: The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a part-time employment program for students with financial need. With FWS you work for a qualifying employer and receive financial aid in the form of earnings each month. If you qualify for FWS, you must interview for the limited jobs that are available.

California Residents

You may also be eligible for Cal Grant funds, which are available only to California residents. To apply, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the GPA Verification Form by March 2. Contact your high school counselor or your community college financial aid office for the appropriate forms or find them online on the Federal Student Aid website or the California Student Aide Commission website.


As March 2 is the Cal Grant deadline, we encourage all students to complete the FAFSA by this date. If you complete your FAFSA by March 2 and submit all requested documents by April 1, your application will receive first priority evaluation. An application and documents submitted after these dates will receive second priority evaluation and aid awarded based on available funding.

IRS Data Retrieval

If you use estimated income information when completing your FAFSA, return to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website and follow the instructions to make corrections using the IRS Data Retrieval process once you and your parents have submitted federal income tax returns to the IRS.

Apply for Scholarships

A scholarship is free money that is usually awarded based on your achievements and qualifications. Scholarships fall into two categories:

  • SDSU scholarships are competitive and each requires a separate application. Most have an early February deadline. Search and apply for SDSU scholarships on the SDSU Financial Aid & Scholarships web page.
  • External scholarships may be awarded to students at any university. They are administered by organizations other than SDSU.

Finding Scholarships

We encourage you to apply for as many scholarships as possible. Try these scholarship resources:

  • Start your search with this list of external scholarships from SDSU's Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
  • Ask about scholarships from your parents' workplaces or your church or civic organization.
  • Try scholarship search engines like or Fastweb. But BEWARE of people or organizations wanting to charge you money. Scholarship and financial aid searches should ALWAYS be FREE!
  • Review this list of prestigious national scholarships from SDSU's Office of Academic Scholarships.