Financial matters are on many families’ minds as they enter the new academic year. Representatives from the Financial Aid and Scholarships office provide helpful tools and tips for financing your student’s education.

By: Ina Sotomayor, Senior Associate Director
& Morgan Quijano, Counseling Unit Supervisor

Preparing for Fall 2014

As you and your students begin preparation for the start of the academic year in September, we realize that financial matters are on many of your minds.

Financial Aid and Scholarships office has been working on awarding students over the last few months. Before a counselor can review your financial aid application, all requested documentation must be available. Your student can check the status of their  file on MyUCLA to make sure that it is complete or find out what documentation they may still be required to provide. Once eligibility is determined, Financial Aid Notifications are posted on MyUCLA. It is important that you and your student review their offer of aid and indicate whether they want to accept or decline the awards. No disbursements can be made unless the aid is accepted.

The deadline to pay for fall tuition and fees is September 20. However, this deadline is extended until October 3 for financial aid recipients in order to allow financial aid to cover these expenses. Once your student accepts their offer of financial aid on the FAN, fall disbursements will be released to BruinBill on the evening of September 22. We suggest that you and your student check MyUCLA the next day to verify that your fall tuition and fees were paid in full. If there are delays your disbursements, your student -or Third-Party approved parent/guardian- should contact Financial Aid and Scholarships. After financial aid pays their tuition and fees, any remaining balance will be refunded to the student.

Please note that housing charges are not posted to the same account as your tuition and fees and that financial aid will not cover these costs directly. When your student receives their financial aid refund, they will be able to use it to make a housing payment.

When your student receives their notification they may see a combination of different types of aid managed by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office:

Grants are monies that do not have to be paid back after graduation. These awards are typically offered to low and middle-income families. Students must file their FAFSA by March 2, in order to maximize their eligibility for grant assistance. Families should refile the FAFSA each year to ensure receipt of the maximum amount of aid they are eligible for.

Scholarships are need or merit-based awards that do not have to be repaid after graduation. You can learn more about the types of scholarships available and their application processes through UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center (SRC). The SRC provides scholarship information, resources, and support services to all UCLA students, regardless of financial aid eligibility. Their services are provided at no charge.

Loans must be paid back after graduation but they can help bridge the gap between student’s educational expenses and expenses covered by scholarships/grants. Educational loans have flexible payment options and other discounts. Interest paid on student loans may be deducted on your federal tax returns. Many families find that loans provide them with the liquidity needed to lessen the burden of having to cover their educational costs with other resources.

Work-study provides students with part-time job opportunities on campus. Students can work up to 20 hours per week and use their earnings to pay for books and other expenses incurred during the quarter.  If work-study is not available to your student, there are always other ways of getting work experience. UCLA’s Career Center can assist your student with finding non-work-study jobs on and off campus. There are many employers on campus as well as in the nearby Westwood Village where you can secure a part time job without work-study.

The Financial Aid and Scholarships office has a team of dedicated professionals and counselors who can help your student navigate the financial aid  process, determine eligibility for various resources, guide them through an appeal process if there are special circumstances, point them in the right direction in their search for scholarships and much, much more. Many students are not aware that they have an assigned counselor who can meet with them, to answer their questions and give them direction on how to maximize their eligibility for aid. We invite you and your student to check out our ‘About Us’ page on our website for information on the best way to contact our office and to find information about our staff and who your students counselor is.

Tips and Hints

Check your MyUCLA student portal for requested documents.

In some cases, you or your student may be required to submit additional information for UCLA Financial Aid and Scholarships to process their aid.  If you have not received any information regarding your award, check MyUCLA Financial Aid Awards and Notices to see if there is any additional information that is pending or holding up their aid.

Report any outside scholarships to Financial Aid and Scholarships office.

If your student knows that they will be receiving outside scholarships, of which Financial Aid and Scholarships may not be aware of, please have them contact us to let us know.  All they need to provide our office is the name and the amount of outside scholarship that they are expecting and we will incorporate it into their offer of aid. Typically, outside scholarships will reduce need-based loan eligibility. A financial aid over-award may occur if your student has been awarded financial aid that exceeds the cost of attendance.  Exceeding the cost may result in being billed for any amount that you have gone over.

Talk to a counselor regarding any special circumstance that will affect your income.

Sometimes parents or students may experience issues that will affect their income for the current year.  Examples could include loss of a job, lost wages due to illness, the loss of a parent. These circumstances may mean that your current income does not accurately reflect the income reported on the original  financial aid application. If this should happen, you or your student may request a reevaluation of their financial aid eligibility. It is important to contact a financial aid counselor to see if your family situation qualifies.

Please share your feedback on this article by emailing us at mybruinis@ucla.edu.