Frequently Asked Questions

USF is happy to provide answers and resources for some of the most frequently asked questions by parents. If you still have questions, please call Parent Relations at (415) 422-4296.

Student Life

What is FERPA?

FERPA, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It is federal legislation designed to protect the privacy of students by limiting third party access to student education records. When students enter USF, regardless of their age, all rights to inspect and review educational records transfer from parents to students.

May I have access to my student’s grades?

Families may not have access to their student’s grades without the written permission of their student. FERPA provides students with the significant rights of access to their educational records—including grades—as well as protects the privacy of student records. Only material classified as Directory Information, as defined in the general catalog, can be released without student consent. The permission to disclosed non-directory information to a third party, including parents, must be filed with the Registrar’s office and any other office that holds records regarding the student. Students may gain access to any written academic records directly concerning them. There are some records, however, such as financial records of parents, to which a student has no right of access. Students can visit student consent instructions on how to grant USF permission to release information to authorized individuals.

How will I know if my student is subject to University disciplinary action?

Student disciplinary records are protected under FERPA. The best practice is for your student to inform you of any disciplinary charges directly. Students can also authorize the release of any or all the information in their disciplinary files.
» Learn More About University Disciplinary Action

Does my student need a car?

Students do not need cars. San Francisco has a world class transportation system which includes: MUNI passes (local buses, street cars) are provided to all undergrad students; BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) that includes a rail system that connects the major San Francisco metropolitan area as well as two major airports; Cal Train that links San Francisco with San Francisco Peninsula cities and communities; bike racks are located throughout campus; Zimride is an online ridesharing community where students, faculty, and staff can find one another to carpool together; Zipcar is a car sharing program that allows Zipcar members to rent a car by the hour or by the day at discounted rates, which includes gas, mileage, and insurance. Zipcars are located at two convenient locations on campus.

Financial Aid

Do we apply for financial aid each year to be offered need-based financial aid?

Yes, the FAFSA application is a yearly form that becomes available at beginning January 1 each year. It is very important for new students to file the appropriate year FAFSA by February 1 and continuing USF students by March 2 each year to be considered timely and to have their eligibility considered for limited USF need-based grant funding for the following academic year. FAFSA applications filed after the priority filing deadlines are considered late and may affect eligibility for USF need-based grants and scholarships.

What is the difference between grants or scholarships and loans?

The University’s tuition grants and scholarships are gifts that do not need to be repaid. Student loans must be repaid so each borrower should review the terms and conditions of each loan offered before accepting it. In most cases, repayment is deferred until the student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.

Our student has been selected for verification. Do we have to complete and return a verification worksheet?

Yes, you must complete the worksheet (may be printed from our website) and return it with the required tax documents. The financial aid award is not final and no aid will be credited towards charges or paid to the Student Account until verification is complete.

When is financial aid going to be paid to the USF student account?

At the beginning of each semester and once the student has enrolled properly and completed all the requirements for disbursement, the financial aid will be paid to the USF student account. Students can regularly view their Unsatisfied Requirements in the Financial Aid section of their USFConnect account.

We are expecting to receive a refund from financial aid. When and how will these funds be made available?

Credit balances created by federal student aid are refunded by check unless a student’s Direct Deposit information is provided to Student Enrollment Services/Student Accounts. For Federal Direct parent PLUS Loans, credit balances are refunded by check to the parent borrower unless the borrower authorizes a refund to be made to the student. In general, a refund will be available within 14 days of disbursement of financial aid into the student account.

Giving to USF

How can I make a gift?

A wide range of options exists for making a gift to the University of San Francisco, the most convenient of which is making a gift online. Alternatively, please visit How to Give to learn more about the other options we have available.

How do donations help?

Every dollar that you contribute to USF allows the university to improve the student experience by recruiting and supporting outstanding faculty, and by funding innovations that keep USF among the top tier universities in America. In addition, each donation, regardless of amount, demonstrates to other potential donors that USF is considered to be a worthy investment by those who know it best — alumni, parents, and friends.

Can I designate my gift to a specific program at USF?

Gifts to the Parents Fund provide support for USF ‘s strategic priorities and most pressing needs. However, you can also earmark your gift for a specific purpose. If donating online, you can select one of these funds from the drop down list on the online giving form. Otherwise please clearly indicate the program you would like to support when making your gift. If you have any questions about the programs you can support, please contact Stephen L. Dini in Parent Relations at (415) 422-4296 or

Can I donate online? Is it safe?

Online credit card donations are a cost-efficient way for non-profits like ours to receive donations, and allow us to receive funds more quickly without having to spend time processing checks. Online donations are processed directly through a secure server, and no one at the university will ever have access to your credit card information.

Are donations to USF tax-deductible?

All donations to USF are tax deductible to the full extent allowable by law. Please consult your tax advisor when determining the eligibility of your contribution.

What is USF’s Federal Tax ID number (also known as an Employer Identification Number)?

USF’s Federal Tax ID number is: 94-1156628.

Will my employer match my gift?

Corporate matching gifts are a great way to increase the impact of your gift to USF. By taking advantage of your company’s matching gift benefit, you may be able to double or even triple the amount of your contribution. Get more information about how to make use of your (or your spouse’s) employer’s program, please visit the matching gift section of How to Give.

Can I make an anonymous donation?

Yes, USF can keep your name confidential, and you will still be eligible for any allowable deductions on your income tax.

How does USF recognize donors?

Donors at USF are honored at many different gift levels, including membership in the President’s Ambassadors, the Parent Leadership Council, the Lo Schiavo Legacy Society, and donor recognition walls in campus buildings.

Who can I call or contact if I need help making a gift?

Call (415) 422-4296 or email

Safety and Health

How safe is the USF campus?

Yearly annual security reports consistently provide crime statistics that confirm a very low campus crime rate, especially the low incidence of violent crime.  In compliance with the 1990 Crime Awareness Act, California State regulations, and the 1998 Jeanne Clery Act the past three years of crime statistics can be found on the Department of Public Safety (DPS) website. Printed copies can also be acquired by contacting the DPS administration office phone number at (415) 422-4222.

Will I be notified if my student is hurt or in danger?

The University’s Parental Notification Policy states that we may notify parents or legal guardians when there is concern for the health or welfare of a student, including situations involving medical transportation and treatment, and serious or repeated violations of alcohol and/or drug policies. For more information, please see the Parental Notification Policy in the Fogcutter Student Handbook.

Does the University have a crisis response plan?

The University of San Francisco employs a number of crisis response plans. These plans include the: Emergency Action Plan for Active Shooters; Emergency Operations Center Plan; Pandemic Flu and Response Prevention Plan; and Emergency Procedure Plan. These plans are reviewed and practiced to the full extent possible on a yearly basis. A building marshal program was developed to provide local contacts (building or school) for management and coordination of emergency protocols including evacuations and lock downs as identified in these plans. Building marshals are responsible for the understanding of all university emergency procedures and protocols. They assist in informing all building occupants of proper procedures for building emergency or evacuation drills in preparation for an actual emergency. In addition marshals act as crime prevention liaisons with the Department of Public Safety and the occupants of their buildings.

In the Event of an Emergency

  • Outdoor siren and public announcement system sound
  • Simultaneous broadcast of emergency information by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Dispatch Center via USF Connect website, USF email, personal cell phone text and voice message, and university phone message
  • Building Marshals activate emergency plan
  • KUSF Radio broadcasts updates

Tuition and Billing

Whom do I contact with questions about my student’s bill?

As soon as your student, registers for classes, his/her records at USF are protected from unauthorized release under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. USF staff is prohibited from giving out specific information regarding student account, financial aid, and registration records (including grades) to anyone, including parents, unless the student has submitted a “Student Consent to Release Information” form.

Once your student has completed the authorization process, the Student Enrollment Services Office can provide combined services in the areas of Financial Aid, Registration, and Tuition & Billing. Advisors can be contacted via email at or by phone at (415) 422-2571.

How are the students billed?

Bills are available online only. An email notification is sent to the student's USFConnect account and to authorized payers each time the monthly statement is available. View my bill.

What are the accepted methods of payment for tuition and fees?

The most common forms of payment includes e-check, money orders, personal checks, and bank wire transfers. View the complete list of available methods for making payment.

Is there a payment plan available?

The University’s payment plan is administered by Nelnet Business Solutions, a third-party payment vendor, operating under agreement with USF. The payment plan provides a convenient means for paying tuition, fees, and room and board (if living on campus) through regularly scheduled payments. See payment plan options for information and instructions for enrolling. Please note that a $50 nonrefundable enrollment fee will be charged for each semester for which you enroll.