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Financial Assistance

Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal, state and USD aid. Students should review the Guide to Applying for Financial Aid at USD on the USD website,, or obtain a copy from the USD Office of Financial Aid (OFA) for deadlines and detailed information. Students should also inquire through the school or department to which they are applying regarding financial assistance opportunities specific to that school or department.

A. Financial Assistance Available Through the USD Office of Financial Aid

Eligibility Requirements

  1. The student must be officially accepted by the Office of Graduate Admissions and must maintain satisfactory academic progress. “Special Students” (e.g. not admitted to a degree, certificate or credential program) are not eligible for financial aid.
  2. The student must be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  3. The student must not be in default on any federal loan or owe a refund on any federal grant.
  4. Most programs administered by the USD Office of Financial Aid are based on financial need.
  5. Most funds are available only to eligible students enrolled on at least a half-time basis (4.5 units for master’s students, 3 units for doctoral students) who are pursuing a degree, credential, or certificate.
  6. The FAFSA can be completed online at Additional forms, applications and informational guides are all available on the USD Office of Financial Aid website at


USD Graduate Grant (USDGG)

Because applications for graduate grants far exceed funds available, priority for the USDGG is given to students with greatest need. Applicants must have been officially admitted to the USD graduate program by August 1 and must have submitted complete financial aid application forms by April 1 to receive priority consideration for a grant for the following academic year. Students must enroll for at least six units each semester to be considered for a USDGG.

Dean’s Graduate Merit Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded by individual graduate schools or programs without regard to financial need. Students may receive up to $25,000 annually depending on the number of units for which they are enrolled.

Federal Perkins Loan

Depending on availability of funding, qualified students may receive a Federal Perkins Loan to assist in covering tuition costs. Federal Perkins Loan funds are very limited and are normally used to supplement Federal Direct Loans.

Federal Direct Loans

Federal Direct Loans are available to help meet educational expenses. A graduate student pursuing a degree at USD (“Special Students” excluded) may apply for up to $20,500 per year. There are two elements of the Federal Direct Loan Program:

  1. The Subsidized Direct Loan is available to eligible students based on financial need (using information from the financial aid application forms and supporting documents). The interest on this loan is paid by the federal government on the student’s behalf while the student is enrolled in an eligible program on at least a half-time basis. The maximum Subsidized Federal Direct Loan is $8,500 per year.
  2. The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is available to all eligible students who are enrolled at least half-time. However, interest on this loan will accrue while the student is in attendance. The maximum Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is $12,000 per year plus any remaining eligibility from the Federal Direct Loan up to a total of $20,500.

The interest rate on the Federal Direct Loan and the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan for the 2010 or 2011 academic year was a fixed 6.8 percent. To assure that loan funds are received on time, application should be made at least six to eight weeks before the beginning of the academic term. For more details on the Federal Direct Loan Program, contact the USD Office of Financial Aid or the One Stop Student Center

B. Cal Grant Programs

Teaching Credential Benefits

Students who received Cal Grants as undergraduates are eligible to apply for fifth-year benefits to complete a Teacher Credential program. This grant is available to students who: 1) have received a bachelor’s degree; 2) were eligible for and received Cal Grant A or B during undergraduate study; 3) are enrolled in a Teacher Credential program; and, 4) complete the Request for Cal Grant Teaching Credential Program Benefits (Form G-44) available from the California Student Aid Commission. Submission of a GPA Verification Form is not required. Form G-44 must be submitted to CSAC no later than 15 months after receiving a BA or BS degree, or from the date on which Cal Grant benefits were exhausted.

C. Additional Financial Assistance

Students should contact the school or department to which they are applying for additional information regarding financial assistance available for students in their program.

D. Financial Assistance For Graduate Certificate Programs

Students should consult the individual program director.

E. Off-Campus Employment

The USD Student Employment Center helps students locate part-time off-campus employment in the San Diego metropolitan area. Job referrals and further details are posted on the Part-Time Job Board at the USD Student Employment Center.

F. Veterans Assistance

Eligible veterans and dependents interested in applying for VA benefits should contact the VA Coordinator in the Office of the Registrar, Founders Hall, Room 117.

Donor Scholarships and Grants

The University of San Diego receives donations from private sources to provide various scholarships, grants, and loan funds to selected students in the name of the donor. In addition to meeting the USD Scholarship criteria, additional qualifications and requirements may be stipulated by the donor.
Students are automatically considered for any of the scholarships listed below for which they are eligible when they apply for financial aid at USD. For some scholarships with specific requirements, the USD Scholarship Questionnaire is used to determine eligibility and only students who complete this form are considered for those scholarships.

Annual Scholarships and Awards

The following scholarships and awards are given annually by donors or various university departments. The requirements vary and are established by the donor.

The Burnham Foundation Scholarship (Real Estate)
California Building Industry Association/Ernest W. Hahn Scholarship (Real Estate)
California Building Industry Association/Harry L. Summers Scholarship (Real Estate)
California Building Industry Association/Fieldstone Scholarship (Real Estate)
Mary Jane Charlton Nursing Scholarship
Danvera Foundation Scholarship for MEPN (Master’s Entry Program in Nursing)
*Diversity Scholarship Program in the Department of Learning and Teaching
Foster Dissertation Award
*Eris McCoy Gallagher Scholarship Program (Education)
Gandhi Fellowship (Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies)
Marion Hubbard Loan Fund (Nursing)
Joan B. Kroc Scholarship in Peace and Justice Studies (Master of Arts in Peace and Justice Studies)
Master of Science in Executive Leadership Meg Whitman Scholarship
*The W. Scott McIntyre Memorial Scholarship
The PMI Foundation Scholarship (Real Estate)
*Linda C. Romero Memorial Scholarship (Special Education)
*Other Esteem Scholarship (Counseling)
*Julie I. Wilkinson Scholarship (Nursing)
*Elizabeth Baker Woods Education Scholarship
*Special application required.

Endowed Scholarships

Donors have endowed the university with the following funds, which provide for scholarships to be awarded annually for the life of the university. The requirements vary and are established by the donor.

Douglas E. Barnhart ELDA Scholarship
H.N. and Frances C. Berger Nursing Endowed Scholarship
Thomas C. Breitling Endowed Scholarship
Fund (Business)
Loretta Breyer Nursing Endowed Scholarship
Edward and Gretchen Cairns Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Nursing
Mickey Carhart Memorial Scholarship Fund (Real Estate)
Yvonne E. Chiesi Carteron Nursing Scholarship
Colachis Endowed Scholarship (Business)
E.J. Culligan Memorial Endowed Scholarship (Business)
*Desmond Nursing Loan Fund
*The Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Foundation MEPN Endowed Nursing Scholarship
Fieldstone Foundation Endowed Scholarship (Real Estate)
*Mary Gresko Nursing Scholarship
*Ethel M. Horsch Nursing Scholarship
*Jane P. Johnson Endowed Scholarship (Education)
*Manchester Endowment (Nursing)
Marasco Family Endowed Scholarship (Real Estate)
Master of Science in Executive Leadership Endowed Scholarship
*Elizabeth Ann Mottet Nursing Scholarship
James Orwig, MD Memorial Nursing Endowed Scholarship
Irene Sabelberg Palmer Scholarship (Nursing)
Janet A. Rodgers Nursing Endowed Scholarship
John Ronchetto Memorial Scholarship (Business)
*Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley MFA Endowment
Spain Family Scholarship (Religious education)
*Stallard Family Nursing Scholarship
Pearl and Natalie Surkin Endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund
Cathleen K. Wilson, RN, PhD Memorial Scholarship for Leadership in Nursing
Kaye and Richard Woltman Nursing MEPN Scholarship
Daniel Woodruff Memorial Scholarship (Real Estate)
*Special application required.

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