Financial Aid (Domestic Students)

Apply for Financial Aid

To apply for most Federal and State aid programs, as well as SFAI's need-based aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Designate SFAI as a recipient of the processed FAFSA information by providing our school code, 003948. SFAI's financial aid priority deadline is March 1.

Federal Student Aid includes federal grants and scholarships, federal work-study, and federal student loans (Direct Loans program). California State Aid includes the Cal Grant Program. For information on federal aid for military families, visit VA Benefits.


For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Deadlines + Information

You may submit your FAFSA beginning October 1 of the prior year you expect to start college. To be considered for the California State Grant Program (Cal Grant), the FAFSA and GPA Verification Form must be filed by March 1 of each year.


After you apply for Federal Student Aid, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR contains the information reported on your FAFSA and usually includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an index used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Review your SAR information and make any corrections or changes necessary.


Approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants are randomly selected for a verification process. If you are selected, SFAI’s Financial Aid Office will request additional information, along with other supporting documents, to complete the process.

Eligibility Criteria 

The most basic eligibility requirements are that you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen,
  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Register (if you haven’t already) with Selective Service, if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25,
  • Be working toward a degree or certificate,
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or graduate school, and show you’re qualified to obtain a post-secondary education.


Renewal Criteria

  • Financial aid is awarded for one year only. You must reapply each year by completing the renewal FAFSA.
  • The federal government mandates that students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward a degree or certificate in order to maintain financial aid eligibility. 

Federal Work-Study

The Federal College Work-Study Program permits eligible students to receive an award for part-time employment. Funded by the federal government, the program offers employment opportunities, both on and off-campus, to students with demonstrated financial needs. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident and be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program.


For more information, visit Work-Study.

Direct Lending Program

The Direct Lending program provides low-interest loans to students and parents. Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are for students and do not require a credit check. Direct Federal Parent PLUS Loans are for parents of dependent students and require a positive credit history. Direct Federal Graduate PLUS Loans are for graduate (MA, MFA) students and require a positive credit history.

Visit the Federal Student Aid website for more information on current interest rates and the origination fee rates.

Students can complete the Master Promissory Note for the Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans and the required Entrance Loan Counseling for new borrowers on the Federal Direct Loan website. The Master Promissory Note and application for the Direct Federal Graduate PLUS and Parent PLUS Loans can also be completed on the same website.

Your award letter includes the maximum Direct Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized loan amounts available to you based on your program, grade level, federal need eligibility, and dependency status. Consider your individual needs carefully. You are not required to borrow the maximum loans as indicated on your award letter. You may choose to decline or reduce any loan based on your individual needs. The Parent PLUS loan, Graduate PLUS loan, or Private Loan award letter likewise reflects the maximum possible amount that may be potentially borrowed. The actual amount available will depend on your needs, your (and/or parental) choice to borrow, and credit approval.


For more information on the repayment policy, visit Direct Loan Repayment.


How do I determine my net costs?

It’s pretty easy: determine your tuition, fees, and room/board costs (if on campus). These are your directly billed costs. Next, subtract the amounts for any fellowships, grants, or scholarships you receive. The remaining amount is your net cost. We are happy to help you figure out your net costs as well as how to manage those costs.

Can I request more funding?

The financial aid office will review individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis. To request an appeal, write a letter outlining your circumstances and complete the financial aid appeal form. Examples of appeal circumstances include a parent or student's loss of income due to prolonged unemployment or illness, or high out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Private Student Loans

Private loans are intended for students who may need additional resources beyond their federal, state, or SFAI award eligibility. Generally, since interest rates may vary, private loans should be carefully researched prior to borrowing. Private loans are bank-based and lenders typically require a credit-worthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Interest rates, fees, and repayment terms can vary from bank to bank. Repayment of private loans may begin immediately.

For more information, visit Private Student Loans.

Admission + Financial Aid Policy

New, incoming students who have not submitted final official transcripts or transcripts showing degree conferral, if applicable, will have a registration hold placed on their account and will be unable to register for a subsequent term in their degree or certificate program until all outstanding documents have been received. Additionally, SFAI will return any disbursed Title IV funding to the Department of Education and the student will be responsible for any charges due to SFAI as defined by the financial policies in the Student and Campus Handbook.  

Summer-start students have until the last day of the fall semester following their term of matriculation to submit final, official documents.