What do I need to do to receive my financial aid money?
You will receive your financial aid at the beginning of each quarter - provided you are enrolled in the required units and have completed all required forms with the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid transactions are recorded on your student account as credits, just like a payment. Any pre-existing unpaid charges are paid by your aid, and any remaining aid will show as a credit balance. A financial aid disbursement, which is a refund to you of your remaining financial aid, is then generated and delivered to you in one of two ways:
Note: Cal Poly attempts to notify each student receiving a financial aid disbursement - via email - when the funds have been disbursed.
How do I get the information I need to register for classes?
For registration information, visit the Office of the Registrar's Registration web site or select the Registration and Enrollment tab on the Cal Poly portal.
What if I receive financial aid (loans and grants)?
The financial aid award is determined by the Financial Aid Office, using Federal and State guidelines. Financial aid is disbursed over the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. (Financial aid for the Summer quarter may also be available to the student but is not part of any financial aid package offered for the regular academic year. Please see the Financial Aid Office regarding the application process.)
By signing the Financial Aid Student Agreement form, which is included in your financial aid information, you are authorizing the University to use your financial aid funds to pay your registration fees for you. Paying registration fees before you register is not necessary.
How does Cal Poly receive my financial aid and apply it to fees?
Cal Poly uses Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) for importing from lenders most all loan funds...Stafford, PLUS, and alternative. This enables loan money to be transferred electronically right into the student's Cal Poly account, along with grants and in-house scholarships. The system then uses the financial aid funds on the student account to pay charges, such as registration, housing, and course fees. Whatever amount remains is then disbursed to the student either by Direct Deposit or mailed check. Each time a disbursement occurs, an email is sent out, alerting the student of this activity and referring him/her to the Student Account & Payment Info channel accessed through the Money Matters tab (on the portal) to view the amount of the disbursement and the type(s) of financial aid which created it.
Do I have to tell Cal Poly how I want my financial aid applied?
No. Financial Aid is disbursed automatically in the following order: If your financial aid award, excluding federal work study, is large enough to pay your registration and also your housing in full, you may request that your housing payments be paid by your financial aid. And if your award is large enough to pay registration, housing, AND dining in full, you may request that your aid pay your meals as well. These arrangements for housing and meals MUST be requested, however, by either checking the Financial Aid box on the housing and dining contracts or by contacting the Student Accounts Office.
You can always view your account 24/7 on the Cal Poly Portal.
What if I get scholarships but not other financial aid?
Any student receiving a grant, student loan, or scholarship in a given quarter is considered a "financial aid student" for that quarter. All students can register before paying for registration fees, but non-financial aid students must pay their fees according to the Cal Poly registration fee payment policy, or be subject to disenrollment.
If you are receiving a scholarship only,please make sure you understand how it is being disbursed to you (all at once; over two quarters; over three quarters). Each quarter you are not receiving a financial aid disbursement, you will be expected to pay your registration fees within 48 hours after registering.
What if I would like to leave extra funds on my student account?
Some students prefer that any excess financial aid funds stay on their Cal Poly account instead of allowing the system to automatically generate a refund and Student Accounts Office does offer this option upon request. The existing credit balance would then carry forward and pay for any future charges as they occur on the account. Please contact the Student Accounts Office if this plan is of interest to you.
What if I do not have financial aid and cannot pay my fees all at once?
Beginning fall quarter, students can register before paying their registration fees. However, students who do not make payment according to the registration fee payment policy (link below) are subject to class cancellation (please read through the policy for details).
What if I have a sponsor/third party that pays my tuition?
Includes information on:
- Employee fee waiver program
- Cal Vet Dependents Program
- Department of Rehabilitation
- Allan Pattee Scholarship Program
How do I make housing and meal plan payments?
Housing Payment Information (Managed by the State):
Your housing contract should have all the housing payment due dates referenced. If you cannot find your contract copy, please refer to the Payment Schedule.
To make your housing payment, please use our online payment service.
If you have any questions regarding your housing charges, please call 805-756-7632.
Note: You will be able to view your housing charges and payments at the same place you view your registration fee charges and payments.
Dinning Payments (Managed by the Cal Poly Corporation):
If you have any questions regarding your meal plan payments, please call 805-756-1125.
Note: Because meal plan payments are made to the CP Corporation, you will not see your meal plan charges or payments on the same customer account as your registration and housing charges and payments.
Can I use financial aid funds for housing and meal payments?
If your financial aid award, excluding federal work study, is large enough to pay your registration and also your housing in full, you may request that your housing payments be paid by your financial aid. And if your award is large enough to pay registration, housing, AND meals in full, you may request that your aid pay your meals as well. These arrangements for housing and meals MUST be requested, however, by either checking the Financial Aid box on the housing and meal contracts or by contacting the Student Accounts Office.
How do I know if I owe money or have a credit on my student account?
To view the balance on your student account:
- Log into the Cal Poly Portal.
- Click on the Money Matters tab.
- Look for the Student Accounts & Payment section.
Your account summary, via the portal, is designed to show you your charges and payments and the resulting balance due. If you have a balance due, it MUST be paid before you can register for the next quarter. A credit balance can be carried over and applied to the next quarter's registration payment, or you can request a refund (complete the Student Information box only).
What about miscellaneous course fees?
Within different departments on campus, there are certain courses that require a fee over and above the registration fee. These courses typically have off-campus activities, laboratory materials, and other miscellaneous expenses which are offset by payment of a nominal fee by the students enrolled in the course.
Course fees are paid the same way as other charges on the student account – online by eCheck (preferred) or Credit Card (a 2.75% convenience fee will apply), directly to the University Cashier’s Office or by mail (allow 10 days for delivery and processing. Course fees may be paid by financial aid ONLY if the fee is billed to the student's Cal Poly account prior to the financial aid being disbursed to the student. If the student's aid was disbursed previous to the course fee charge, it is the student's responsibility to pay the University cashier.
Please review your current quarter's student account activity on a regular basis through your Cal Poly Portal.