Santa Clara University

Graduate Students Questions


Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding financial aid by graduate students. Contact the Financial Aid Office with any questions not listed.

Your Award FAFSA
Student Aid Report FSA ID
Scholarships Federal Student Aid
Verification/Quality Assurance General Questions


Your Award

How do I accept my award?
If you received a financial aid e-mail award notification, you should log-on to the ecampus system to accept or decline your aid. In order to access ecampus you will need your id number and password.

  1. Sign into ecampus, under "Finances" select "View/Print Award Letter"
  2. Select the "View" link to access your award
  3. Select the tab labeled "Accept/Decline Awards" at the bottom of the page
  4. Select the "2016" academic aid year or appropriate academic aid year
  5. Read the Statement of Educational Purpose and select the "I Agree" tab
  6. Check all aid which you wish to Accept or Decline and select the "Submit" tab
  7. Select "Yes" to continue with submission
  8. Select "OK"

How do I view or print my award?
You should received financial aid e-mail notification, then you should log-on to the ecampus system. To view or print award letter:

  1. Go to
  2. Type student' ecampus id number and password
  3. Under "Finances"select "View/Print Award Letter"
  4. Select the View link to access award. Student can print the award letter by selecting the icon under Print

Once I receive my financial aid award letter, is there any reason it could change later?
There are a number of circumstances that could have an effect on your original award letter. Verification of your application, change in your financial situation, failure to maintain academic progress, notification after your award of outside aid such as a scholarship, or not enrolling for the required number of hours to receive aid through programs awarded are all examples of things that could change your award letter.

Will my eligibility for financial aid change if I change my enrollment status?
Yes, if you withdraw from Santa Clara University or change the number of credit hours for which you are enrolled. You should contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss how it may affect your eligibility for financial aid.

Will I be eligible for less financial aid if I drop from full-time to half-time?
If you drop from full-time to half-time your tuition costs will be reduced and you may be eligible for less financial aid. If you enroll less than half-time, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid programs.

Will I be eligible for aid if I drop below half-time?
If you enroll less than half-time, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid programs. We suggest you contact your graduate school the affect of enrollment on University-based scholarships, grants and/or fellowships.

What should I do if my financial aid will not cover all of my expenses?
Discuss your concerns with the Financial Aid Office, and consider borrowing additional funds through a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and/or through a private educational loan program.

[Back to top]


What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application used to determine eligibility for federal and state student grants, federal work study and federal loans. The U.S. Department of Education accepts applications beginning January 1 of each year for the upcoming academic year.

What is Santa Clara University's school code?
Santa Clara University's School Code Title to be used on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is 001326.

How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) generated from the information you provided on your FAFSA. Keep the SAR for your records.

I filled out the FAFSA. Now what?
Santa Clara University Financial Aid Office will receive the application and process the information you provided. It can take several weeks for us to receive the processed data, so do not be concerned if you do not hear from us immediately. If you feel that it is taking longer than anticipated, please contact our office and we will check the status of your application.

Since I have yet to file my federal income taxes, should I still complete the FAFSA?
If you have not filed your taxes and the FAFSA deadline is approaching, you need to submit your best estimates and complete the FAFSA. Failing to meet the deadline could disqualify you from consideration for grant aid. Please submit corrections once you have filed your taxes. If you cannot do that, verification of your application at a later date will provide exact figures.

Should I report the total accumulated in IRA and Keogh plans on the FAFSA?
No. You do not have to include retirement plan accumulations when totaling the value of assets. However, annual contributions must be reported since they are discretionary payments that reflect your ability to pay for college.

Do I re-apply for aid in subsequent years?
Because your financial position may change from year to year, you are required to resubmit the FAFSA.

[Back to top]

Student Aid Report (SAR)

What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a report sent to the student from the Central Processing System (CPS). Students should review the SAR for its accuracy. If accurate, the SAR should be kept by the student for their records. If inaccurate, it should be corrected, signed by the appropriate individuals and returned to the processor.

What does the EFC number mean on my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
The data reported on your FAFSA is used to calculate the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) value. This value is used to determine your federal aid eligibility. Santa Clara University uses this value as a guideline for determining your aid eligibility. The federal EFC value is not necessarily your out-of-pocket cost to Santa Clara University.

I have received my SAR from the processor and it says that I have been selected for verification. What next?
Nothing now. However, you still may be selected by the Financial Aid Office to participate in the quality assurance sample. Therefore, you need to have all tax documentation for you and/or your spouse available if requested.

[Back to top]


What is a FSA ID and why do I need one?
Your FSA ID identifies you use when you visit certain U.S. Department of Education websites. When you type in your FSA ID at these sites, you are saying either "Yes, it is really me – please show me the personal information about me on this site" or "Please accept my FSA ID as my electronic signature on this online form."

[Back to top]


I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization. Do I need to inform my Santa Clara University Financial Aid Office?
Yes. If you let us know about your outside aid we can help you determine the effect on your eligibility for other need-based financial aid funds. It is helpful to know this early in the process. If we find out about the outside aid when the sponsor sends your money to Santa Clara University, it may cause budgeting problems, especially if we have to cancel need-based aid you are no longer eligible to receive.

How are Scholarships and Fellowships Noted in regards to IRS publication 970 and Tax Topic 421?
Tax Note About Scholarships and Fellowships, treatment of scholarships and fellowships under the IRS publication 970 and Tax Topic 421 of the Internal Revenue Code provide that you may exclude from your gross income only scholarship and fellowship amounts used for:

Notwithstanding the above information, any amounts received that represent payment for teaching, research or other services required as a condition for receiving the scholarship or fellowship grant are also included as income.

If all or a portion of a scholarship is granted in return for services, such as teaching or research performed by a student, that portion of the scholarship or fellowship would be considered wages, and Santa Clara University would be required to withhold taxes and comply with related reporting requirements. In the case of other scholarship and fellowship recipients, it is not required that Santa Clara University withhold income taxes and/or file information returns (Form 1099) with the IRS, and we will not do so. You are responsible for keeping your own records for any reporting that may be required.

[Back to top]

Federal Student Aid

My award notice says I am eligible for a Federal Direct Loan. How do I get that loan?
Santa Clara University participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program, whereas graduate students will be notified by our office regarding their application and entrance interview requirements. You must accept the Federal Direct Loan via ecampus.

Can I borrow less on my Federal Direct Loan than the amount listed on the award letter?
Yes. You can borrow any amount, up to the amount listed on your award letter.

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to begin repayment of my loans?
Not immediately. The Federal Direct Loan has a grace period of six months and the Federal Perkins Loan has a grace period of nine months before repayment begins. Therefore, when you take a leave of absence, you will not have to begin to repay your loan until the end of the grace period. Students taking a leave of absence are encouraged to contact their lender regarding the status of their loans.

What is student loan consolidation?
Loan consolidation allows students to combine all of their existing federal student loans into one. There are several advantages of loan consolidation. It simplifies repayment by having multiple loans under a single loan holder, reduces the required minimum monthly payments by extending the repayment period from the standard 10 years to a maximum of 30 years and uses a graduated repayment schedule. The disadvantages to loan consolidation are that students end up paying more interest and they are no longer eligible for many types of deferments.

[Back to top]


What is Verification and who gets selected for this process?
The U.S. Department of Education requires all institutions disbursing federal financial aid funds to verify the accuracy of the information students submit as a basis for awarding aid. Santa Clara University complies with this mandate by participating in the Federal Quality Assurance program.

Each year, we randomly select a percentage of students receiving federal student aid funds for verification of some of the information on which their awards were based. If selected for verification, you will need to submit additional documents and verify information such as household size and number of family members enrolled in college. We reserve the right to request similar information for verification purposes for any student awarded aid. Information collected may result in changes to your financial aid award. Failure to comply with the request for this information will result in the cancellation of your financial aid funds.

I have received my SAR from the processor and it says that I have been selected for verification. What next?
Nothing now. However, you still may be selected by the Financial Aid Office in the Fall to participate in the quality assurance sample. Therefore, you need to have all tax documentation for you and/or your spouse available if requested.

Does Santa Clara University want my tax forms?
We do not require tax forms from everyone. After we receive your FAFSA, we may request additional information including tax forms. We will send this request to you in writing. Please remember to sign everything that you send to us. Please do not send anything unless we request it.

[Back to top]

General Questions

How does the Financial Aid Office communicate to students?
The Financial Aid will communicate with students through a variety of formats. Information that is sent to students from the University via their campus mail box, local address or their Santa Clara University e-mail address is considered official communication and should be treated as such. Students are asked to check their campus mailbox and their Santa Clara University e-mail account on a daily basis, and are responsible for reading and responding to the information they receive from the University.

Where can I find information on my past loans?
To find the most-up-to-date information about your student loans, we recommend you visit the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education's central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools, agencies that guarantee loans, the Direct Loan program, the Federal Pell Grant program and other U.S. Department of Education programs. NSLDS provides a centralized, integrated view of Title IV loans and Federal Pell Grants that are tracked through their entire cycle, from aid approval through closure. You will need your FSA ID to access this database.

[Back to top]
Printer-friendly format
Translate icon Translate