Financial Aid Policies and Procedures



Awards and Disbursements

Award Letters

USF no longer sends paper award letters to students, but you can view, and accept or decline your financial aid award on our online portal, myUSF Student Self Service.

You can access your award by clicking on the link above, logging in with your USF username and password, clicking on the "Student" tab, and then clicking on the "Access Self Service" button. There will be further written instruction to assist you in the Student Self Service module.


When financial aid is paid to a University on your behalf, this is called a "Disbursement." Award funds are disbursed to USF student accounts on a pre-scheduled date each semester, and pay for billed charges such as tuition and fees. If the student's financial aid exceeds their billed charges, the credit balance is refunded to the student (or parent, if requested, in the case of some Parent PLUS loans). For more information about refunds, please click here.

In order for a financial aid disbursement to occur:

  • All financial aid requirements must be satisfied. Most requirements can be completed online, and you will find links and instructions for completion in myUSF Student Self Service.
  • The student must be registered for classes. Some awards require a minimum registration of half time (6 units for Undergraduates, 3 for Graduates), or full time (12+ for Undergraduates, 6+ for Graduates), and some are pro-rated based on enrollment (75% award for 3/4 time, 50% for half time, etc.).
  • The date must be at or beyond the pre-scheduled disbursement date for the semester. The financial aid office is not allowed to disburse aid more than 10 days before the start of the semester, and usually selects a pre-scheduled date on which financial aid disbursements will take place. This date is chosen based on Federal regulations and your degree program. No aid for the semester may be disbursed before these scheduled dates, and no exceptions will be made. For upcoming disbursement dates, please see our disbursement calendar.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Requirement

To remain eligible to receive financial aid, a student must demonstrate that he or she is making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) at USF. Satisfactory progress is defined as progressing at a normal pace toward successful completion of a degree program. Read our full SAP policy (pdf).

Financial Aid Appeals

Recognizing that the information collected by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not always reflect an applicant’s current financial circumstances, the Office of Financial Aid may re-evaluate eligibility for student aid when specific circumstances regarding an involuntary loss of income has occurred. Financial Aid applicants interested in submitting a financial aid appeal should read and complete the appropriate year Financial Aid Appeal form.

Federal Financial Aid Regulations Regarding Students Who Withdraw From The University (effective Fall 2014)

Federal regulations require Title IV financial aid funds to be awarded under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire period in which federal assistance was awarded. When a federal financial aid recipient withdraws from all courses or receives no credit for attempted courses (e.g. all F or W grades, excluding arranged incompletes) in a given semester for any reason, he/she may no longer be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she was originally scheduled to receive. The return of funds is based upon the premise that students earn their financial aid in proportion to the amount of time in which they are enrolled. A pro-rated schedule is used to determine the amount of federal student aid funds he/she will have earned at the time of the withdrawal. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his/her financial aid and will not be required to return any funds.

Federal law requires that USF calculate how much federal aid is earned and return unearned funds in all of the following cases:

Official Withdrawals:

  • Student completes a Petition to Withdraw form
  • Student completes a Leave of Absence form
  • Student otherwise reports in writing that they are withdrawing from all classes in a given semester

Unofficial Withdrawals:

  • Student reports in person or via phone to any USF employee that they plan to withdraw from all classes or withdraw from USF entirely
  • Student stops attending class before completing the semester but does not report that they intend to withdraw and receives all F or W grades or a combination of both in a given semester

The withdrawal date that is used to calculate the pro-rated return amount is determined by the date that the student informed a USF employee that they planned to withdraw, or the date reported on an official Withdrawal or Leave of Absence Form, whichever is earlier.

If a student ceases attendance without reporting their official withdrawal date, the Financial Aid Office will use the mid-point of the semester as the withdrawal date and return 50% of all Federal Financial Aid for that semester. If a student is able to provide documentation of academic participation (exams or assignments submitted, or written communication with instructor) past the mid-point of the semester, he/she may retroactively appeal this decision within 30 days from the date on their Return to Title IV notice. Returned aid will be recalculated and any further earned aid will be reinstated to the student’s account. If academic participation is documented after 60% of the semester had been completed, all federal aid for the semester will be reinstated.

Federal regulations require that the amount of unearned Federal financial aid be calculated by measuring the number of days the student completed against the number of days in the term in which the student withdraws; that the University’s Student Accounts office return the unearned aid they accepted in payment of charges; and that the University notify the student of his/her responsibility for returning unearned aid he or she received as a refund from the Student Accounts office after all charges had been paid. If aid funds must be returned to the Title IV aid programs, loan funds will be returned before grant funds. Funds received by the Student Accounts office and by the student, if any, will be returned in the following order as long as there is any amount to be returned:

  • Unsubsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • Subsidized William D. Ford Federal Direct Stafford Loan
  • Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • TEACH Grant
  • Other assistance programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Assistance Act

Please refer to the USF Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy to determine how a withdrawal will impact future financial aid eligibility.

The Student Accounts Office and the Office of Financial Aid Operations have information on this policy for students admitted to and enrolled in the University’s degree and credential programs. Examples of repayment calculations are available.

Code of Conduct: Education Loans

The University of San Francisco does not participate in any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender, nor does the University receive gifts from any lender, a guarantor or a loan servicer for providing Loan Funds to its student population.

The USF Private Loan Comparison is a list of lenders that USF has successfully worked with in the past and that USF students have borrowed from over the past five or more years. Students are not limited to these options when choosing a lender. USF approves or denies loan requests based on enrollment only. Any student receiving a private loan must be enrolled in at least one class. Any student receiving Federal Direct loans must enroll at least half time. If these conditions are not met, USF may deny the student loan certification.