The Effect of Enrollment on Financial Aid Programs
Most aid programs and award amounts are affected by your units and the amount you pay for basic tuition and fees. You pay a lower tuition and fee if enrolled for 6 units or less.
Your Enrollment May Affect Your Award Amount
Your award amount will likely change if you enroll less than full time.
If you are an undergraduate or teaching credential student, your award before census* is based on the assumption that you will be enrolled full time, 12 units or more.
If you are a graduate student, we base your cost and initial estimated loan eligibility on the assumption that you will enroll for 6 units. Your grant or scholarship awards may be based on full-time enrollment (9 units or more for a graduate student).
After census, we make award adjustments based on your enrollment status.
*The census date is usually one week after the semester deadline for adding a course.
Programs That May be Affected
Some aid amounts will be reduced or canceled if you enroll in fewer than 12 units as an undergraduate or teaching credential student or fewer than 9 units as a graduate student.
You must be enrolled at least half time to receive some amount from most aid programs, including student loans. If you enroll less than half time, you begin your grace period and repayment of your student loans.
These are some of the financial aid programs and how the award amounts may be affected by your enrollment.
- Educational Opportunity Program Grant is canceled if you are not enrolled full time.
- Pell Grant and Cal Grant amounts are reduced if you are not enrolled full time.
- State University Grant and Cal Grant are reduced if you pay the lower basic tuition and fees for 6 units or less.
- Some scholarships require that you enroll full time to receive the funds. Review the requirements for each SDSU scholarship through the scholarship search.
Adding or Dropping Units
Disbursement of financial aid is based upon your units at the time your aid is released (see Receiving Your Funds).
If you add units after your financial aid has been disbursed
- You may be entitled to additional funds, which will be released during the next disbursement.
- If you have received all of your awarded funds, be prepared to pay any additional costs due to added out-of-state tuition (tuition increases for each class you add) or class lab fees, etc.
If you drop units after all your financial aid funds have been disbursed prior to census
As an undergraduate or teaching credential student, we assume that you will enroll full time. Therefore, we do not adjust your award amount until after census. If you drop units after receiving full-time funds, you may be required to repay some or all of the funds.
If you received an overpayment—
- Any remaining funds scheduled to be disbursed to you may be canceled or adjusted to reflect the lower amount you are now eligible to receive.
- Student Account Services will send you an electronic billing notice for the amount you owe.
Important: Enrolling in 6.0 units or less means that you pay a lower amount for basic tuition and fees. This lower cost of attendance affects eligibility for a State University Grant and other aid, including student loans.
Dropping units after census
If you drop units after census, you may not be required to repay financial aid funds. However, because your enrollment has changed, you may not have enough units completed by the end of the academic year. This may affect your eligibility to continue receiving financial aid.
After census, we make award adjustments.
- Adjustments are based on the number of units you take at SDSU.
- Award amounts for many aid programs are affected if you are enrolled less than full time.
- Units taken concurrently (at the same time) at a community college or through the SDSU College of Extended Studies, may be included with your units at SDSU. However, aid programs that are specifically for California State University fees such as State University Grant or Cal Grant fee assistance, will be based on regular SDSU enrolled units. Check out more information about concurrent enrollment.
- Audited courses do not count toward your financial aid units.
Less Than Half Time Enrolled Units
Most financial aid programs require that you are enrolled at least half time to receive any amount.
Less than half-time enrollment is—
- Undergraduate student – fewer than 6 units
- Teaching credential student – fewer than 6 units
- Graduate student – fewer than 5 units
Fees and Costs Allowed
If you are enrolled for, or drop to, less than half-time enrollment, your financial aid award can be significantly reduced or canceled.
Federal law allows us to consider only certain costs when you are enrolled less than half time. Using a standard cost of attendance allowance, these costs are—
- Basic tuition and fees
- Out-of-state tuition
- Books and supplies
Costs Not Allowed
Withdrawing from SDSU
If you must withdraw from SDSU, refer to the Class Schedule or the Office of the Registrar for withdrawal procedures.
Withdrawing From Classes
You could owe for funds that you've already received, and you might incur a unit deficiency.
Depending on the date you withdraw and how many days you attended classes, you may be granted a refund of your registration fees, but you also may be required to repay some or all of the financial aid you received for that semester. Once you withdraw—
- We will determine if you received funds for which you are no longer eligible, according to federal regulation.
- If you received funds for which you are no longer eligible, Student Account Services will send you an electronic billing notice for the amount you owe.
- If Student Account Services determines that you are eligible for a refund of some or all of your basic tuition and fees or out-of-state tuition, federal regulation requires the refund amount be returned to financial aid accounts.
- Any remaining refund amount will be deposited to your bank account.
- If you borrowed student loans, contact the Loan Servicer as soon as you withdraw to determine when you must begin repaying your loans.
Withdrawing may impact your future aid eligibility (see Grades and Units Affect Aid).
Federal regulations under Title IV require the university to determine if a refund must be made to the student or if financial aid that has already be disbursed to you must be returned to the federal government accounts.
The university’s Refund Policy contains information regarding refunds for Title IV financial aid recipients.
Concurrent Enrollment at Another College
If you are unable to register for all of the courses you need at SDSU, you may be able to attend the courses at a community college or through the SDSU College of Extended Studies and have the units count toward your financial aid eligibility at SDSU. You must be enrolled at least half time (6 units as an undergraduate or teaching credential student; 5 units as a graduate) through regular enrollment to be eligible to have your concurrent enrollment count toward your financial aid eligibility. For information on how to proceed, see Concurrent Enrollment.
Graduate Students-Thesis enrollment
You pay a lower amount for basic tuition and fees if your total units are 6 or less, regardless of your enrollment status.
This lower cost affects eligibility for a State University Grant and other aid, including student loans.
- Full-time enrollment for a graduate student is a minimum of
9 units of coursework numbered 500 through 999.
- Half-time enrollment for a graduate student is a minimum of
5 units of coursework numbered 500 through 999.
Enrollment in Thesis, Dissertation or Clinical Internship
- Graduate students enrolled in Thesis 799A are considered to be enrolled full time.
- Graduate students enrolled in Thesis 799B or 799C are considered to be enrolled half time.
- Graduate students enrolled in Doctoral Research 897, Doctoral Dissertation 899, or Clinical Internship (Psychology 894), are considered to be enrolled full time.
- If you enroll through the SDSU College of Extended Studies for thesis, dissertation or internship, you do not pay California State University fees and are not eligible for State University Grant. A Cal-Vet Fee Waiver cannot be used for extended studies fee payment. Other fee waiver or veteran benefit fee payment programs may also be affected. Check with the SDSU College of Extended Studies Registrar's Office or the state or federal agency paying the benefits.
The number of semesters you may receive financial aid when enrolled in thesis, dissertation or clinical internship is limited (see Grades and Units Affect Aid for more information).
Limited Eligibility for a Second Master’s Degree
If you are pursuing a second master’s degree, you may be eligible for the Direct Loan Program.
- Eligibility is limited to 2 years.