Financial aid •

October 28, 2022

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) financial aid: a complete guide

Learn more about the financial aid available to students at California State University, Fullerton, including loans, grants, and scholarship programs.

CSUF financial aid

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), is one of 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system. 

CSUF has been ranked by the US News and World Report as one of the top public universities in the country and one of the most innovative in the western United States.

If you're interested in applying to California State University, Fullerton and wondering how you'll pay for it, we've got you covered.

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A snapshot look at California State University, Fullerton 

California State University, Fullerton, is a public university located in Fullerton, California, just north of Anaheim.

The university first opened in 1959 and now has over 41,000 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, making it the largest school in the California State University system. Students at CSUF can pursue one of 109 degree programs—55 undergraduate and 54 graduate student programs.

The school is highly ranked in many areas, including diversity, innovation, cost, and social mobility. Some of the university’s most popular programs include Business, Management, Marketing, Communication, and Psychology.

Outside of class, students can enjoy the school’s athletics or attractions like the Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum and Heritage House.

Ranking: #16 Regional Universities West

Size: 40,280 students

Demographics: 56% female students, 44% male students

Tuition: $8,274

Acceptance rate: 43%

Average GPA of accepted student: 3.48

Key dates and deadlines (2021)

Application: December 15

Financial aid deadlines March 2

A look at scholarships offered by California State University, Fullerton

Scholarships are one of the best ways to pay for your education. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay back the money you earn from scholarships.

CSUF has a list of the different scholarships that are available to CSUF students, broken down by the specific college within the university that offers the scholarship. 

Scholarships by CSUF

There are also scholarship programs that apply to the entire California State University system, giving students many opportunities to earn funding for their education.

There are scholarships for students in every academic program, with many different interests. For example, the Adopt-a-Titan Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship awarded based on financial need. The Council of Building and Construction Trades Scholarship is awarded to students with family members affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Students can also apply for scholarships from outside organizations, such as businesses and community groups.

For more on which scholarships you’re eligible for and how to apply, check out Mos’s financial aid tips and tricks.

Student loans

Borrowing money through a student loan can be a good way to invest in your future. Just keep in mind that when you borrow money, you’ll usually have to pay it back with interest.

California State University, Fullerton’s financial aid office has a web page dedicated to the different loan programs available.

One good loan option is the Federal Direct Loan. Federal Direct Loans come directly from the US government and can be subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans don’t accrue interest while you’re in school, during grace periods, or during deferments, while unsubsidized loans do. There are also loans unique to California, such as the California Dream Loan. 

If you don’t have enough in federal and state loans to cover your expenses, you can also apply for a private loan. Many private lenders are willing to help students pay for college. However, a private loan is usually more expensive than a federal loan, and it doesn’t have the same benefits.

For more on finding the right student loan for you, check out Mos. 


Every student should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. The federal government and colleges use this form to determine your financial aid eligibility (scholarships, grants, and loans). 

When you fill out the FAFSA, you and your parents will need to provide some financial information, such as how much money you have saved and your family’s total yearly income. The information you provide will be used to determine your expected family contribution (EFC) ––how much your family can pay towards your college costs. 

The government and California State University, Fullerton will use this EFC to give out need-based financial aid, like the Pell Grant, scholarships, work-study programs, and subsidized loans. 

You can fill out the FAFSA as early as October 1 preceding the academic year you’re applying for. The deadline is typically the last day of June, but California has a March 2 deadline for many financial aid programs, so it’s important to apply as early as possible!

For more on applying for FAFSA, including important dates and how to make sure your application is successful, visit or download the app today.

California State University, Fullerton financial aid FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about financial aid at CSUF: 

What is California State University, Fullerton’s cost of attendance?

CSUF has multiple costs of attendance:

Cost of Attendance

CSUF is a public state school, which means it charges lower tuition to residents of California. For California resident students, the cost of attendance ranges from $20,553 to $30,283, depending on your living situation (on or off-campus, type of housing). This includes the cost of tuition and all other educational expenses.

Out-of-state students must pay an additional $396 per class credit. This adds $6,336 to the semester cost, for a standard 16-credit course load per semester, or $12,672 to the annual cost of tuition. This makes the cost of attendance for out-of-state students around $33,225–$42,995.

Do part-time students receive financial aid?

Yes, part-time students at CSUF are eligible to receive financial aid. 

Most students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive aid, but some federal Pell Grant programs are available to students who are enrolled part-time, at any capacity.

Is there a deadline to accept financial aid?

There is no deadline to accept financial aid offered by California State University, Fullerton. If you receive a scholarship or grant award, the CSUF financial aid office will accept them automatically for you. You’re free to accept other forms of aid at any time after they are awarded.

Can out-of-state students receive financial aid?

Yes, students from outside California can get financial aid, such as federal grants, federal work-study, and scholarships. They’ll be ineligible for aid specific to California residents, such as the Cal Grant.

What kind of aid can low-income students receive?

Low-income students can qualify for need-based financial assistance to pay for college. This can come in the form of federal and state scholarships or grants based on financial need.

What is the average aid that Cal State Fullerton offers?

Cal State does a good job of meeting its students’ financial needs, covering as much as 86% of demonstrated need based on information included on the FAFSA. In 2020, the average award to first-year students was $12,999. 61% of first-year students received some level of need-based aid.

When does student financial aid get disbursed?

Cal State Fullerton disburses financial aid funds for the fall semester to student accounts in early August.

Are there any ways to reduce student costs?

As a public college, students from California pay a lower rate of tuition. If you can establish residency in the state, that can help you save money.

Other strategies like finding inexpensive housing with roommates or living with family may help you save money.

How do you qualify for in-state tuition?

To qualify as a resident of California and pay in-state student tuition, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have eligible immigration status (citizenship, a green card, eligible visa, DACA, etc.)

  • You or your parent must have a physical presence in the state for a year before the residence determination date for the semester

  • You must prove intent to reside in California and sever ties with previous states or countries of residence

What jobs are available in the Federal Work-Study Program?

Cal State Fullerton has an employment portal for students who have received aid in the form of federal work-study. The program aims to match students to employment in community service work or a job related to their course of study.

Are there special application procedures for aid at CSUF?

CSUF bases most of its aid decisions on the FAFSA, but students falling under AB 540, which gives certain non-residents the right to in-state tuition costs and state aid, can fill out the California Dream Act application to apply for aid.

Universities like California State University, Fullerton that you might be interested in

California State University is just one of the many schools in California and on the West Coast. If you’re interested in going to school in the western United States but don’t think CSUF is right for you, consider these other options:

Schools like CSUF

Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona is a polytechnic school located in Pomona, California. 

As a polytechnic school, it focuses on applied sciences. It also offers programs such as Accounting, History, and Hospitality Management.

Cal Poly Pomona consistently ranks highly for its science programs, including Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering. It has also earned awards for innovation.

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, is a research university in Pasadena, California.

Caltech, as its name implies, has a strong focus on technology and science. The school is highly influential and boasts that 76 Nobel laureates have some sort of affiliation with the college. 

If you’re looking for a highly competitive tech school that will push you to succeed, Caltech might be the right fit for you.

Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University is an option for people who want to study on the West Coast but who don’t want to study in California. Founded in 1856 as Monmouth University, the school has roughly 4,500 students split between its College of Education and College of Liberal Arts.

If you’re looking for an innovative, award-winning school, Western Oregon University is a solid choice.

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If you want to attend a CSU program but don’t think Fullerton is the right choice, you may want to consider other CSU campuses. Each will have a similar cost of attendance and a generous financial aid program that can help you cover the cost of your degree.

If you’re looking for the best way to pay for school, Mos can help.

With Mos, you can get help negotiating for more financial aid, apply for hundreds of scholarships and grants with ease, and work with a real human for customized help. 

To get started, check out Mos.

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