Financial Aid Budget & Aid Limits
There are limits to the amount of financial assistance a student can receive. Any student who applies for federal aid assistance or non-federal educational loans is held to the Student Financial Aid Office-determined cost of attendance budget for the given year.
Your budget is determined by your tuition amount and an average allowance for housing, food, books and supplies, and other non-tuition, educational expenses based on students in your general situation. Factors such as your living situation, dependency status, full or part-time enrollment, and co-op rotation can determine what allowances are built into your budget. In all cases, what you spend to cover your non-tuition, educational expenses may differ from the average amounts used by Student Financial Aid.
Aid Budget Inclusions
Your financial aid budget is defined by various costs you will assume when going to college. Tuition is the most obvious. But tuition is also a generic term. Tuition at UC is actually made up of instructional, general, campus life, information technology, and, when applicable, college program fees, non-resident surcharges, and other specialized fees.
The next cost included in your financial aid budget is for room and board costs. Students living on-campus are billed by UC. But students who live off-campus also have an allocation toward their room and board costs.
Books is another expense students attribute to going to school. UC determines an average cost for books when defining your financial aid budget. Your individual costs may differ depending on availability of used or new textbooks or your course requirements for any given term.
Finally, there are items we include in your financial aid budget that you may not think of as college costs or expenses to consider using financial aid to cover. Room and board cost for a student living at home, much lower than on- or off-campus amounts, is one example. Another cost is transportation. We also account for a large group of miscellaneous costs including everything from medical insurance through clothing and toiletries. Like books, what you spend on these items may differ from the average amounts budgeted for students in your similar situation.
Ultimately, while you may not seek to use aid to cover all costs (and we encourage you to limit loan usage when possible), your financial aid offer is based on the total of costs that go much further than simply tuition.
The total financial aid package – to include all types of aid received – must remain within the cost or financial aid budget as determined by Student Financial Aid. It is therefore important that you notify the Student Financial Aid Office of any scholarship, assistance, or loan funding that does not appear as part of an aid package. By doing so early, students reduce the risk of having aid adjusted mid-year or after funds have been received.
Undergraduate students receiving multiple or large scholarship offers from UC should also be aware that, in rare cases, their scholarship awards may be limited. Work closely with awarding offices to understand your scholarship package and terms of individual awards.
As well, graduate students should understand the manner in which their awards are funded in order to better anticipate the effect on aid.
Overawards & Aid Reductions
The Student Financial Aid Office packages students to their full eligibility as determined at the time of aid awarding. Unfortunately, eligibility can change even after the year or term has begun.
Aid from UC offices or outside sources previously unknown to Student Financial Aid may surface. A change in student status such as residency classification or dependency status may require a revised financial aid budget. When eligibility for aid reduces or total aid exceeds the revised budget, an overaward exists.
Adjustments to the make up or total sum of the aid package are required if any federal aid is present when an overaward occurs. Similarly, scholarship adjustments may be necessary due to the scholarship limit policy. Student Financial Aid routinely audits all financial aid awards throughout the school year to ensure they remain in compliance and meet eligibility requirements.
The university wants to limit post-award changes and avoid post-disbursement adjustments to aid packages. Adjustments, when necessary, most often reduce (and posting of new aid sources may replace) loan or work-study portions of an aid package.
Though every effort is made to maintain compliance with federal aid and institutional scholarship policies prior to award disbursement, the speed of processes to post aid funds may require some adjustments to funding following the payment to a student biill or a refund made to the student.