Who can get financial aid

Students in different situations are eligible for different kinds of aid. You should apply for financial aid every year you're enrolled at UC. UC campuses use the information you and your family provide on the FAFSA or Dream Act Application to determine what financial aid you will receive.

California residents are generally eligible for the full spectrum of state, federal and UC aid. For some types of aid, you must demonstrate financial need. For others (including some federal loans and scholarship programs), you do not need to demonstrate financial need to qualify.

Regardless of your financial situation, applying for financial aid ensures you have the most options available to you and your family.

Not sure if you're a California resident? Review the student residency guidelines.

Some undocumented students qualify for a nonresident tuition exemption under AB 540 and for some forms of financial aid under the California Dream Act.

To make sure you're considered for financial aid, follow these important steps.

Most undergraduates from other states, or whose parents live outside of California, pay nonresident supplemental tuition for the entire time they are enrolled at UC. The nonresident supplemental tuition adds an additional $29,754 to a student’s cost of attendance for the 2020–21 year. UC will help you receive any federal financial aid for which you are eligible, but very limited UC financial aid is available to help cover the cost of your education.

Note: If you’re from another U.S. state, but you attended and graduated from a California high school, you may be exempt from the nonresident supplemental tuition under AB 540.

Learn more about AB 540 »

Most international undergraduates pay nonresident supplemental tuition for the entire time they are enrolled at UC. The nonresident supplemental tuition adds an additional $29,754 to a student’s cost of attendance for the 2020–21 year.

International students are generally ineligible for student loans and are eligible for very few scholarships.

Other things to keep in mind: 

Summer expenses

Costs for living expenses and attending school during the summer are not included in cost of attendance. Students can expect to spend at least $4,740 for living expenses during the summer, plus expenses associated with attending school.

Waiver of fees

Students from the host universities affiliated with UC's Education Abroad Program (EAP) may be considered for waivers of nonresident tuition fees and other awards. Procedures for granting waivers and awards vary among the host institutions. If you are a student at a host university, you should contact the resident director of the UC EAP in your country for more information.


There are very limited opportunities for employment, either on or off campus, except as a teaching or research assistant. Students who hope to secure employment or financial assistance after enrolling at UC may be unable to complete their studies. U.S. government restrictions make summer and part-time off-campus work extremely difficult to secure.

Financial requirements for visas

Before a U.S. consul will grant a visa, you must prove that you will have sufficient money to meet all your expenses while studying in the United States. Learn more about financial requirements for visas »

Each UC campus has services available to help veterans transition to college. Notify the campuses to which you apply about your veteran status as early as possible. Campus veterans' services coordinators can help you access and make the most of your veterans benefits and financial aid, and minimize the need to work and borrow while in school.

Here are some tips to help you maximize your benefits and aid:

  • File a FAFSA each year, no matter what. Your eligibility for federal financial aid won’t be affected by your GI Bill benefits. Our campus financial aid and veterans’ services staff can help you get all of the benefits for which you qualify.
  • Your financial aid eligibility will be based on the information you provide about your earnings during the year before you submit your FAFSA. You can ask your campus financial aid counselor to recalculate your eligibility based on your estimated lower earnings as a full-time student, and that could increase your eligibility for financial aid. This is especially important if you’re on active duty or otherwise fully employed the year before attending UC.
  • Be sure to present your certificate of eligibility, which you can get from the Veterans' Administration, to the campus veterans’ services coordinator. You may want to consider postponing the use of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if you decide to attend a community college before transferring to UC. This can help maximize your remaining benefits after you transfer to UC.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill can cover all or a portion of tuition and fees and provide a monthly living stipend, plus up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies. You should also file a FAFSA, which may allow you to get additional federal student aid.

If you are fully eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you will have 36 months (four academic years), or the equivalent if you attend less than full time, of VA eligibility. If you decide not to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while at community college, transfer to UC and get your BA in less than four years, you may have some months of eligibility left over to help with graduate school tuition and fees.

More good news: Veterans and their eligible dependents who are nonresidents of California may be eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption at UC if they are eligible for education benefits under Chapter 30 or 33 of the GI bill, and if they or their veteran sponsor have been discharged from active duty within 36 months of enrolling at UC.

Check with campus registrars offices for more information.

Each UC campus has a liaison to work with incoming former or current foster youth. To learn more about programs on specific campuses and for information about scholarship programs specifically for foster youth, as well as the California Chafee Grant program, contact the foster youth campus coordinators at the UC campuses to which you apply.

UC welcomes student parents. Our campuses have support services for students with children, and family housing may be available on or near campus. Additionally, documented child care costs may be added to your student budget (your total cost of attendance) to increase your eligibility for financial aid. Contact the campus financial aid office to find out what additional resources may be available for you and your family.