Financial Aid FAQs

What type of financial aid can I receive?

Undergraduate Students
For many undergraduate students, a broad range of financial aid is available—from scholarships and grants to loans.

Graduate Students
Primary funding source for graduate students include the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and Graduate PLUS Loans. Although still eligible for selected scholarships, the federal Pell Grant and state grants are not available at the graduate level.

How do I apply for Federal Financial Aid?
Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online at If you completed a FAFSA last year, complete a renewal FAFSA. You must e-sign your FAFSA with your pin. Completion should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

What is the FAFSA?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the main application for financial aid at Pacific Oaks College. The results of the FAFSA are used to calculate your financial aid award. The FAFSA is submitted to the federal Department of Education. A copy of it will be sent to the schools that you list on the FAFSA.

What is Pacific Oaks College's school code?

How and where can I complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA can be completed by logging onto You will need your FAFSFA PIN number and Pacific Oaks school code, 001255.

When should I complete/renew my FAFSA?
You should complete/renew your FAFSA annually; however, it is recommended that you complete your current tax forms prior to filing your FAFSA, so that you can retrieve your tax information directly on the FAFSA website. This option on your FAFSA will be available between seven and 10 business days after you have submitted your federal tax return. The recommended date to complete the FAFSA is by March 1 of each year.

What is an award letter and when will I receive mine?
An award letter in a written estimate of the maximum aid you are eligible for, for the current academic year. Once received you have the option to accept, adjust or decline the individual fund sources outlined on your award letter. Your aid will not be processed until you return your award letter to the Financial Aid office with your decision. If you are new to Pacific Oaks College, we will send you an award letter shortly after you are accepted to the College, as long as we have a complete FAFSA on file. If we need further information before we can award you, we will contact you.

My SAR says I am selected for verification. What should I do?
Pacific Oaks College will need tax documents from you. You may contact us immediately to provide the documents, or you may wait for us to notify you that we need them. You will also be required to fill out a Verification Worksheet. We will need your taxes, if you filed any, and your parent(s') taxes. We may also need W-2 forms.

What makes a student "independent"?
You are independent if you fall into one of these categories:

  • Graduate or Professional Student
  • 24 years of age or older
  • Orphan or ward of the court
  • Married
  • Provide at least 50 percent of the support for a child of your own
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

There is a series of questions on the FAFSA that will determine your dependent/independent classification.

What is the difference between a subsidized and an unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
A subsidized Stafford Loan is a loan in which the government pays the interest for a student while he/she is in school and during the grace period. The grace period begins upon a student dropping below a halftime enrollment status. Student begin paying interest upon going into repayment.

An unsubsidized Stafford Loan accrues interest immediately upon disbursement. However, a student does not have to start repaying it until six months after his/her last date of attendance or dropping below halftime. It’s recommend, however, that you begin paying the interest each month to minimize total interest owed. When you leave school, the accrued interest on the unsubsidized loans will be capitalized (added to the principal). You will then pay interest on the interest that has been capitalized.

Why didn't I receive a subsidized Stafford Loan?
For undergraduate students the subsidized Stafford loan is a need based loan and is determined based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated on your FAFSA. In some cases a student’s EFC may be beyond the range of subsidized Stafford loan eligibility. Graduate student are no longer eligible for the subsidized Stafford loan.

Can I get an early disbursement of my financial aid?
We do not offer early disbursements of loan money nor do we disburse emergency loans.

When will I receive my refund?
Refunds can be expected seven to ten business days after your financial aid is posted to your student account. You cannot receive your refund prior to the start of any semester. Please monitor your Intuit account for the most up-to-date information.

How much is my refund?
Refunds are generated based on a credit balance created when the amount of your financial aid exceeds the total amount of your tuition and fees for the semester. To determine your refund amount, subtract your tuition and fees charges from your scheduled financial aid.

Is direct deposit available for refunds?
Yes, please complete the Direct Deposit Authorization for Financial Aid Refunds form.

What does "ACH" mean on my student account on Intuit?
ACH means your refund will be direct deposited to your bank account.

What does a stipend mean on my student account on Intuit?
A stipend means a refund check has been issued. Please allow seven to ten business days of processing time for this to be allocated.

What if my financial aid does not cover my tuition?
Please contact Office of Student Accounts to set up payment arrangements. 

What if I add or drop a class?
Students will be assessed the appropriate fees associated with his/her add or drop. A student may need to make an additional payment even if he/she has already received a financial aid refund check. An outstanding balance on your account as a result of adding or dropping a course may prevent you from obtaining transcripts or future course registration. You may view your student account balance and make payments via the Intuit.

What does it mean when I have a hold on my account?
Holds on a student’s account generally mean there is something pending that is required. Holds can come from any number of departments to include Student Accounts, the Registrar and/or Admissions. Some holds may prevent you from registering for courses or receiving transcripts and/or your diploma.

What do I need to do to have financial aid next year?
You will need to submit a new FAFSA to the federal Department of Education after January 1 for the following year. Once you register for classes for the following fall (usually in early spring), we will check for your FAFSA. If we need additional information, we will contact you.