Viewing and Accepting Your Aid Offer

A view of misty hills outside of campus

This page contains sections explaining how to view and understand your award offer, including the necessary next steps in confirming and receiving your awards and understanding the terms and conditions that apply to the awards.

Viewing Your Award Using MySSU

Step 1: Log in to MySSU

Log in to MySSU through SSU Online Services using your Seawolf username and password. For instructions on setting up your access or retrieving a forgotten password, please visit our section How Do I Start Using MySSU? on our Using MySSU web page.

If you have been notified of an award offer for an aid year, and this is your first time viewing your financial aid information, you should review your award and eligibility information through the View Financial Aid link as opposed to the Accept/Decline Awards link. You will miss important information if you skip the View Financial Aid link.

Newly Admitted Students

If MySSU does not connect you to a page titled "Student Center," click on the following links in your menu: "Self Service," then "Campus Finances," and finally "View Financial Aid."

Other Students

From your Student Center, click the View Financial Aid link in the Finances section.

All Students

While you are viewing your financial aid information, the Cancel button at the bottom of each page causes you to return to your Student Center or menu. To stay within the financial aid pages, use the links that appear on each page instead of the Cancel button.

Step 2: Navigate to Your Award Summary Page

Select the appropriate Aid Year to view your awards on the Select Aid Year to View page. After you click the link for the appropriate aid year you will be directed to the Award Summary page.

The Aid Year section at the top of the page shows your academic year award amounts.

The Terms section in the middle of the Award Summary page shows your awards broken down by academic terms, like Fall and Spring.

If you're a New Admit to SSU, the Shopping Sheet link shows your financial aid award information and estimated costs in a standard format that is being used by many colleges and universities. If you have financial aid award offers from other schools that provide the Shopping Sheet, comparing the Shopping Sheets might help you decide which school is most affordable for you.

Each section also contains links that provide you with additional information. These links are explained next.

Eligibility Summary link
The Eligibility Summary link takes you to the Eligibility Summary page that contains information you will use to confirm certain assumptions we made when we constructed your award offer. The use of the Eligibility Summary link is described in further detail in the Using Your Eligibility to Check Assumptions section of this page.
Accept/Decline Awards link
The Accept/Decline Awards link takes you to the Award Package page where you are required to accept/decline your student loans and/or work-study award. More details about the Accept/Decline Awards link are provided in the Accepting/Declining Your Student Loans and Federal Work-Study section of this page.
View Scheduled Disbursement Dates link
The View Scheduled Disbursement Dates link displays loan fee and scheduled disbursement date information. The scheduled disbursement date listed will be the earliest date scheduled for the term. Your actual disbursement date may be later than the earliest date. Processing of financial aid disbursements (including Direct Deposit) and production and mailing of financial aid refund checks take time—at the earliest, students generally receive their refund checks near the first day of school each semester. However, be prepared to pay for books, supplies, and personal items out of pocket in case your refund check is delayed.
Loan Details link
The Loan Details link provides additional information on the processing status of your Direct Loans. This link first appears when we submit your loan request to the Direct Loan processor (beginning in July for the Fall semester).
View Declined Awards and/or View Canceled Awards links
The View Declined Awards and/or View Canceled Awards links list declined or cancelled awards. These links only appear after we have processed a request to decline an award, we have cancelled an award, or you have chosen to decline a student loan or work-study award as explained in the Accepting/Declining Your Student Loans and Federal Work-Study in the next section of this page.

Accepting/Declining Your Student Loans and Federal Work-Study

Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study MUST be accepted by you using the Accept/Decline Awards link in order to initiate required processing and to make funds available to you once school starts.

The Accept/Decline Awards link appears in the middle and bottom of the Award Summary page.

The Accept/Decline Awards link takes you to the Award Package page, which allows you to accept or decline student loans and work-study.

Using the Award Package Page to Accept/Decline Awards

Not all financial aid awards can be accepted/declined using the Award Package page. Most grants are automatically accepted. The Award Detail page for each award will explain what action you need to take in order to receive your awards. Be sure to follow the steps below:

  1. You must click on the award name link to go to the Award Detail page for each award. The Award Detail page gives you important information about the award and any required steps that you must take to receive these funds.
  2. Check the corresponding box to the right of the fund to accept or decline the award. You may also use the "accept all" and "decline all" buttons on the bottom of the page. If you make a mistake, you may uncheck the appropriate box or use the "clear all" button. If the offered amount of the loan is more than you wish to accept, you may enter a lesser amount. If the offered amount of the work-study award is more than you wish to accept, you may request a reduction to the accepted award by submitting a Change Notification Form (CNF) to our office. You must also use the CNF to notify us if you only wish to accept the loan or work-study award for one semester instead of all semesters listed on the Award Package page.
  3. Use the "update totals" button if you want to recalculate the amount(s) of your accepted awards before submitting your request.
  4. Once you have made your selection to accept or decline awards, click on the "submit" button to have your request processed. Your request will be completed at the start of the next business day. Check back at least two business days later to confirm your award is as you expect.

The Previous Transactions link will be displayed on the Award Package page approximately two business days after you submit your first request, indicating the request has been processed by our office. The link will display a date history of prior transactions.

Accepting/Declining Direct Loans

If you accept your Direct Loan offer, there may still be requirements to be met before the loan can disburse. If you've never received a Direct Loan at SSU before, don't forget to check your To Do List as instructed on the Award Details page to see if Entrance Counseling and/or an electronic Master Promissory Note must be completed by you. The Award Details page will explain how long to wait before checking your To Do List.

If you decline your Direct Loan(s) and later decide you want them reinstated, you will no longer have the ability to accept them through the Award Package page. You will need to download a Direct Loan Change form at the Other Forms & Instructions page of our web site, and then submit it to our office.

Please Note: Once a disbursement of a Direct Loan has been made, you will not be allowed to decline the loan through the Award Package page. You will need to return the loan funds to Seawolf Service Center in order to cancel the loan.

Accepting/Declining Federal Perkins Loans

After your request to accept the Federal Perkins Loan has been processed by the Financial Aid Office, you will need to return to the Accept/Decline Awards link. Select the appropriate Aid Year and then select the Federal Perkins Loan link on the Award Package page. From the bottom of the page, select the Perkins Loan Promissory Note link and proceed as instructed on screen.

Declining or reducing your Perkins Loan may increase your eligibility for Direct Loan (subsidized and/or unsubsidized); however, the Direct Loan may have a higher interest rate and less favorable terms than the Perkins Loan. If you would like us to re-evaluate your Direct Loan eligibility, please email your Financial Aid Representative. You must use the Change Notification Form (CNF) to notify us if you only wish to accept the award for one semester instead of all semesters listed on the Award Package page.

IMPORTANT: If you decline your Perkins Loan and later decide you want it reinstated, you will no longer have the ability to accept it through the Award Package page. Declining your Perkins Loan may result in permanent loss of the award, as the funds may be offered to the next eligible student. Reinstatement of a declined Perkins Loan is subject to funds being available at the time the request is made. Contact the Financial Aid Office to request reinstatement.

Accepting/Declining Federal Work-Study

If you wish to reduce the amount of your work-study award, you must submit a Change Notification Form (CNF) to our office. Declining or reducing your work-study award may increase your eligibility for Direct Loan (subsidized and/or unsubsidized). If you would like us to re-evaluate your Direct Loan eligibility, you may indicate so on the CNF. You must also use the CNF to notify us if you only wish to accept the award for one semester instead of all semesters listed on the Award Package page.

IMPORTANT: If you decline your work-study award and later decide you want it reinstated, you will no longer have the ability to accept it through the Award Package page. Declining your work-study may result in permanent loss of the award, as the funds may be offered to the next eligible student. Reinstatement of a declined work-study award is subject to funds being available at the time the request is made. Contact the Financial Aid Office to request reinstatement.

Accepting/Declining a PLUS (Parent) Loan

Because the borrower of a Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) is your parent or step-parent, you cannot use MySSU to accept the PLUS Loan. However, you can decline the PLUS Loan using the Accept/Decline page.

Parents or step-parents who would like to accept the PLUS Loan must download and complete the PLUS Loan Application for the appropriate financial aid year located at the PLUS Loan Application page and submit it to our office. We will process the application and notify the PLUS Loan applicant if it was approved or denied, generally in mid-July for students starting SSU in the Fall semester.

If approved, we will send instructions on completing the electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN) to the borrower. Completing the MPN is generally a one-time process. However, if a PLUS Loan was approved with an endorser, the MPN is only valid for that particular loan. Although the MPN is a one-time process, the PLUS Loan Application needs to be submitted each academic year for which the applicant wishes to borrow.

If denied, the student may request additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan funding. To request these additional funds, you must download and complete a Direct Loan Change form located at the Other Forms & Instructions page of our web site for the appropriate financial aid year and submit it to the Financial Aid Office.

Using Your Eligibility Summary to Check Assumptions

Your award offer was affected by certain assumptions we made when we constructed it. You must review these assumptions by viewing the information available under the Eligibility Summary link at the Award Summary page before proceeding.

Your Eligibility Summary lists your Estimated Financial Aid Budget (also called your Cost of Attendance or COA), your calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your Estimated Need, your Total Aid, and your calculated Remaining Need. These terms and calculations are explained in the Explanation of Terms in Your Eligibility Summary sub-section below.

Using the information in your Eligibility Summary, you must review important assumptions that we made when we constructed your financial aid award offer. These assumptions are:

  • Your housing plans while attending SSU
  • Your residency status for tuition and fee purposes

To view your Eligibility Summary, click either of the two links on the Award Summary page. One link appears in the Aid Year section and the other link appears near the bottom of the Award Summary page.

Your Housing Plans While Attending SSU

The Estimated Financial Aid Budget listed in your Eligibility Summary is based on the housing plans you reported when you filed the FAFSA application. If your plans have changed, you must notify us using the Change Notification Form (CNF) downloadable from our web site.

Please Note: If we base your financial aid award on the assumption you are living on campus, we will check with the Housing Office prior to disbursement of your awards. If you changed your plans but did not notify us, your disbursement will be delayed until you have submitted the Housing Clarification Form or CNF to our office and we have had time to process it. At peak workload times like the beginning of the semester, processing may take as many as 10 business days. Avoid delays by checking our housing assumption and promptly notifying us if your plans change.

Clicking on the dollar amount of the Estimated Financial Aid Budget takes you to the Estimated Financial Aid Budget page that contains the Estimated Financial Aid Budget breakdown, which shows each component of the budget. You can tell whether your current award offer is based on the assumption that you will live Off Campus, On Campus, or With Parents by referring to appropriate academic year table below.

2014-2015 Housing Assumptions

Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 Academic Year Room and Board
If your Room and Board amount is: We assume you will live:
$6,525 per semester Off Campus
$5,900 for Fall 2014 On Campus
$5,899 for Spring 2015 On Campus
$2,299 per semester With Parents

Your Residency Status for Tuition and Fee Purposes

Check your California Residency for tuition and fee purposes. Please note: This section does not apply to Extended Education students.

You can tell whether or not your award offer is based on the cost of tuition and fees for a California resident by reviewing the dollar amount listed for Fees in your Estimated Financial Aid Budget Breakdown. If you believe you are a California resident for tuition and fee purposes but your Fees amount per semester doesn't match the table below, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

California Resident Tuition and Fee Assumptions

California Resident Tuition and Fees for Academic Year 2014-2015
Resident Student Academic Classification California Resident Tuition/Fees Per Semester
Undergraduate $3,638
Initial Credential $4,076
Graduate/Post-baccalaureate $4,271

Explanation of Terms in Your Eligibility Summary

Estimated Financial Aid Budget

The Estimated Financial Aid Budget, also referred to as the student budget or Cost of Attendance (COA) is a standard estimated total of your expenses while attending school. Except for registration fees and the books & supplies allowance, the budget components may vary according to whether you will be living off campus, on campus, or with parents while attending school. Your COA is based on our estimate of typical expenses students encounter during the academic year. The estimated COA is the basis for your overall financial aid award package. Some students are eligible for enough funds from different financial aid programs (including loan programs) to equal their estimated COA. Other students are eligible for less and might find that there is a significant gap between the estimated COA and the total of the awards listed in their award offer.

Expected Family Contribution

Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) was calculated by the FAFSA processor according to a formula established by your congressional representatives in the federal House and Senate. If your parents were required to provide their financial information on your FAFSA, then their income and assets were considered in calculating your EFC. If not, then only your income and assets (and those of your spouse, if applicable) were considered in calculating your EFC. Your EFC is not the amount you will pay to the University to attend school. Instead, your EFC represents an index of your financial strength and your ability to contribute to your own educational expenses from your income or assets (and those of your spouse or parents, if applicable) or by borrowing through student and parent loan programs.

Estimated Need

The numerical difference between your Estimated Financial Aid Budget and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is called your Estimated Need. We used your EFC and your Estimated Need to determine your eligibility for certain need-based federal and state financial aid programs.

Total Aid

The sum of the offered amounts of your financial aid awards is your Total Aid.

Remaining Need

The numerical difference between your Estimated Need and your Total Aid is your Remaining Need. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you wish to learn about student or parent loan programs that you might have previously declined, or to find out if you may be able to meet some or all of your Remaining Need through a private, alternative educational loan program.

Necessary Next Steps to Confirm and Receive Awards

Check Your Student Aid Report

Carefully read and review your Student Aid Report (SAR) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you filed a paper FAFSA, a paper SAR may have been sent to you by the federal processor. Follow all instructions given to you in the messages on your SAR. If any information (especially income, taxes paid, household size, and number in college) is missing or incorrect, make the corrections immediately. Such corrections may result in changes to your award offer.

Follow Up Promptly on Any Requests for Additional Documentation

Respond promptly to any requests we make for additional documentation. If any documents are required, you will receive a To Do List Notification email. Review the required items in your To Do List carefully and follow all instructions. Instructions for viewing your To Do List through MySSU are located in the Using MySSU section of the Help Book.

Documentation requirements may change after further review of your application information. Watch for additional requests and respond promptly to them. If you do not submit requested documentation by the deadline stated in the request, we may cancel your award offer. See the To Do List Notifications page of this Help Book for more information. Further review of documentation may result in changes to your award offer. If changes are made, we will send you a modified award offer email notification.

Report Any Additional Financial Resources Not Listed in Your Award Offer

You must notify our office of any resource you will receive that is not currently listed in your award offer as viewed through MySSU. Instructions for viewing your award offer are located in the Viewing Your Award Using MySSU section of this page.

Resources are any source of funding given to you or to the University on your behalf from any agency or organization, including scholarships, sponsors, and fee waivers. The only exception to the requirement to report resources is for veteran’s educational benefits (not counting fee waivers for eligible dependents). To notify us of resources, use the Change Notification Form downloadable from our web site.

Enrollment Conditions and Disbursement Requirements

Your financial aid awards have enrollment conditions that you must understand. Many awards have additional disbursement requirements that must be fulfilled. Carefully review the following section of this Help Book and check the Award Details page for each of the financial aid awards in your Award Summary. Instructions for checking the Award Details page are located in the Using the Award Package Page to Accept/Decline Awards section on this page.

Enrollment Conditions

You must enroll in and attend classes in order to receive and maintain eligibility for your financial aid awards. Thoroughly review the information in the Enrollment section of the Help Book to understand how changes in enrollment may affect the amount you receive from some awards, what will happen if you fail to begin attendance in classes, what will happen if you drop or withdraw from some of your courses, and what will happen if you withdraw from the University.

Additional Disbursement Requirements

Many awards have additional disbursement requirements that are explained in the Disbursement Requirements section of the Help Book. Thoroughly review this information.

Reinstating a Declined Loan or Increasing an Accepted Loan

If you decline a Direct Loan (subsidized or unsubsidized), Federal Perkins Loan, or PLUS (Parent) Loan and then later decide you would like to take out the loan, you will need to notify our office using the appropriate form listed below. The same forms are used if you requested a decreased loan amount and have now decided to increase the loan.

  1. Direct Subsidized and/or Unsubsidized Loan: Direct Loan Change form
  2. Perkins Loan: No request form. Contact our office by email at finaid@sonoma.edu or stop by the Financial Aid Office counter on the first floor of Salazar Hall to make your request.
  3. PLUS (Parent) Loan: PLUS Loan Application

Declining or Reducing a Loan That Has Disbursed

If you receive a disbursement of Direct Loan or Perkins Loan funds that you wish to cancel or reduce, you have 30 days from the date of disbursement to return the funds to the Seawolf Service Center, located on the first floor of Salazar Hall. If the disbursement paid charges on your student account, then you will have to pay those charges out-of-pocket if you choose not to make use of the loan funds.

Declining Your Entire Award Offer

If you will not attend SSU, please complete the "Enrollment Change" section of the Change Notification Form and return it to our office.

If you are declining your entire award offer because it consists only of student/parent loans and you do not wish to accept the loans, you must decline it through MySSU using the Accept/Decline Awards link. Instructions for declining the loans are provided in the Accepting/Declining Your Student Loans and Federal Work-Study section on this web page.