Financial Aid Information

This page covers all financial aid related information.

Deferment of Tuition or Fee Payment

If you were awarded scholarships/grants and/or have accepted your financial aid loan award on the Student Center, you are not subject to be dis-enrolled from your classes on the published fee payment due date.

However, if you have outstanding obligations from previous semester/s due to delayed financial aid disbursements, insufficient financial aid funds or over awards, you MUST pay any past due balance to keep your enrolled classes for the current/upcoming semester.

Go to the current academic year page and click on the applicable semester term to check important calendar dates/deadlines.

To verify that you have received the Financial Aid deferment for the term enrolled, please view details under Holds in your Student Center to confirm.

Disbursement of Financial Aid

When all eligibility requirements have been fully met, authorized (awarded and accepted) financial aid funds for a given term are disbursed into the student's account beginning a week before the semester starts, or as they become available per semester.

All institutional charges (mandatory tuition and campus/program fees and if applicable, housing charges) are deducted first from and paid by students' financial aid funds.

If a student receives financial aid in excess of the mandatory tuition/fee and eligible campus charges, they will show as a credit balance on students' accounts.

A disbursement (sometimes referred to as a REFUND) will be issued.

Refunds will be generated and delivered to you, either by direct deposit, if you have signed up for direct deposit, or by check.

For checks, allow 3 - 5 business days for processing and mailing. Make sure you keep your MAILING address up-to-date on the Student Center.


The Accounting Office requires a 2 week waiting period before a check can be reported as "lost". Replacement checks will take an additional two weeks to receive.


Procedures of Returning Financial Aid

Returning Financial Aid: You have the right to cancel all or a portion of the student loan(s) disbursed to you within 120 days from the disbursement date. To avoid paying the administrative fee on your Direct Loan(s) or if you are not attending this semester, you must return the funds (DO NOT VOID CHECK) to the Bursar’s Office at Student Service Building, 103 immediately within 120 days of disbursement to allow for the processing of the loan return.

Please note the only acceptable methods of payment for returning Financial Aid Funds are, cash, money order, or certified check.

Direct Deposit Sign Up

As part of SF State University's commitment to and support of environmental initiatives, financial aid refunds will be disbursed through direct deposit. The campus "green" initiative sends your funds in a secure, efficient, and timely manner. To avoid unnecessary refund delays, follow instructions below to sign up NOW.

To sign up for direct deposit, follow the instructions below:

  1. Log on to SF State Gateway.
  2. Click on "Financial / Jobs", under the Student heading.
  3. Click on "Student Center".
  4. In the center of the next page in the "Finances" section, click on "Enroll in Direct Deposit".
  5. Enter your bank account number and routing number.
  6. Click on the checkbox next to terms and conditions to consent.
  7. Click on submit box.

If you have already signed up for Direct Deposit, verify your banking account and router number to ensure it is up to date. 

This ensures timely and accurate transmission of funds to student's account.

Additional Benefits:

  • No need to wait for your regular refund and/or financial aid checks in the mail nor spend time going to the bank to deposit checks
  • It is safe and reduces potential identity theft. With a check, your personal and financial information can be seen
  • Gives you access to your money earlier than check deposits. No waiting is necessary for checks to clear


Disbursements for grants and scholarships will not be issued for late starting classes until approximately a week after the first date of attendance. Loan disbursements for late starting classes will not be released until the drop period for the class has expired.

Disbursements will not be issued on pending financial aid (aid that has not been confirmed). If you have questions regarding pending financial aid please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Receiving a financial aid refund does not mean all the student's debt has been paid. Students are strongly advised to view their account through SF State Gateway on a regular basis.

If the student is not awarded enough financial aid to pay all of their tuition fees then any balance above their financial aid award must be paid on or before the published drop deadline, to avoid being accessed a non-refundable $20 administrative fee.

Student Center: View Account Activity


Financial aid funds will be used to pay all institutional (mandatory tuition, campus and program fees, housing) and other eligible charges (e.g. course and materials fee/s) posted in the applicable semester.

This means that even though you are receiving a financial aid refund, you may still have a balance due (such as financial aid over-awards, parking citations, orientation fees, etc.) that financial aid is NOT authorized to pay.

Over-award of financial aid occurs when:

  • the total of all financial aid funds disbursed exceeds the student's cost of attendance
  • institutional charges paid by financial aid funds are reduced by waivers and/or third party contract

Disbursed financial aid fund/s will be adjusted (cancelled or reduced) in order to eliminate the over-award.

Adjustments will require students to return refunds (full or partial) issued to students and may result to obligations, if not paid.

Please review your account on a regular basis and pay all remaining charges once your financial aid has been refunded.

Go to Student Center and under the "Finances" tab, select "Account Inquiry" or visit the Bursar Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to get information on how to access student account.

Contact the Bursar's Office by submitting a service ticket or calling (415) 338-1281 if you have questions.

Withdrawal from All Courses/Return of Federal Student Aid Funds

Federal regulations require a school to determine whether a student who has received federal student aid completed the term of enrollment. If a student withdraws from all courses within a term the student is considered to have officially withdrawn.

If a federal aid recipient receives all non-passing grades, the student is considered to have unofficially withdrawn. After the 60 percent point of a term, the student has earned 100 percent of the federal aid.

The school is required to determine whether the student earned the federal aid disbursed by using a federally prescribed formula. This process is referred to as a Return to Title IV Funds calculation. If there is unearned aid the school and/or the student may be required to return a portion of the federal aid to the appropriate federal program.


  • If the school is required to return funds, the amount of the return will be charged to the student's account
  • The student must repay the amount returned. It cannot be paid with future financial aid disbursements
  • An unpaid balance will result in a hold being placed on the student's account that will prevent the student from registering or receiving their diploma until it is paid in full


Financial Aid Refund in regards to the Return of Title IV Aid:

A student who receives Federal aid and drops units, withdraws, drops out, is expelled, etc., during or after the first day of instruction will be reviewed in accordance with the Federal Title IV Return Policy.