Frequently Asked Questions
The Financial Aid Office does not issue fee payment codes for the CSS Profile for freshman or transfer applicants. However, your fee may be waived by the College Scholarship Service (CSS) if you meet their criteria. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact the College Board.
The Financial Aid Office does not issue fee waivers for the Common Application. See more information about eligibility.
We are unable to confirm receipt of documents prior to admissions decisions being sent. So long as you received confirmation from College Board and FAFSA that your application forms were received and you indicated Stanford’s school code on both forms, our office should be able to access the data for our review process.
Please do not send us your Student Aid Report or a printout of your Profile. These forms must be submitted online. Be aware that sending in your documents multiple times can add delay in processing your paperwork. If you are missing requirements, you will be notified at the time of the review.
You may make a one-time correction to your CSS Profile through your CollegeBoard portal. If you need to make additional corrections later on, you may upload a statement regarding your corrections to IDOC or, if you are an international applicant, using our Document Upload.
Yes. However, we are unable to assure a timely review and awarding. If you wish to receive your award letter before the Admissions Decision filing date or May 1, you will need to apply by the priority deadline.
We expect both parents to participate in paying for your education. We will compute separate contributions for your custodial and non-custodial parents. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the applicant lived the most during the 12 months prior to filing the application, or the most recent 12 months during which the student lived with a parent, regardless of who claimed the student as an income tax exemption. The custodial parent submits the CSS Profile and your other parent submits the online noncustodial profile.
You may submit a Noncustodial Parent Waiver Petition to request for your parent information to be waived. Completed form and supporting documentation may be submitted to the Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC), or if you are an international applicant, using our Document Upload.
Please submit the same US tax documents as listed for our U.S. Citizen/Eligible Noncitizens applicants. You will need to upload your documents using our Document Upload.
If you are a U.S. Citizen/Eligible Noncitizens upload your special circumstances on IDOC, for International Students use our Document Upload page. Please upload your documents only once.
The College Board’s Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC) provides a way for students and families to submit documents required by colleges and programs. IDOC is the best way for Stanford admission applicants to submit tax documents to our Financial Aid Office. The IDOC service is provided for Profile filers at no additional cost.
The College Board has implemented security controls to ensure the highest level of data integrity and privacy. Documents are stored in a secure environment and shared only with the financial aid offices of participating schools and programs to which you are applying.
You may either upload your documents on the IDOC site. There are further details and instructions for both methods on the IDOC site.
13. What are the required documents to complete my financial aid application for Stanford University?
Please refer to the standard list of tax documents for your admission application type required to complete your application for financial aid.Only send those applicable to you and your parents.
Please note that additional documents may be requested during the review process.
14. How do I verify that the College Board has received my IDOC documents and has forwarded them to the Stanford Financial Aid Office?
You may verify receipt of your documents by signing in to your IDOC account or document management dashboard. The processed documents section of your document management dashboard will display the date the College Board processed each IDOC document and the date it was made available to Stanford. Also, College Board will notify you when they have processed your IDOC information, which can take 2-3 business days.
Please refer to the priority filing date listed for your application type.
Additional information on IDOC may be found online, or you may contact the College Board with your questions.
1. I have been admitted to Stanford, but I have not yet applied for financial aid. Can I still apply?
If you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or undocumented student, then yes! Please complete the appropriate application requirements as soon as possible. We will make every effort to respond to you before May 1.
If you are an international citizen, then your eligibility for financial aid depends on your response to the need-based financial aid question in the admission application. If you answered no, that you do not intend to pursue need-based financial aid, then you may not apply for need-based financial aid from Stanford during your undergraduate years.
Your first financial aid notification will be available to you through your admission Application Status page. For any updates and more detailed information, you’ll first need to set up your Stanford University Network Identifier (SUNet ID). Approximately 24 hours after you’ve created your SUNet ID and password, you may use it to log into Axess, where you can view all copies of your financial aid notification and more detailed information about the quarterly breakdown of your aid.
Especially in light of the economic impacts of the pandemic, we recognize that the financial information submitted with your original application for aid may no longer reflect your current family situation. You can submit a Request for Revision to report any new information to our office. We will make every effort to respond to your request promptly. If there are changes later in the year, or in future years, you can submit a revision request at that time.
4. Will Stanford match another university's award if I receive a significantly better award from another school?
Stanford does not match merit-based awards from other universities. However, if you receive a need-based award significantly better than Stanford’s, the other university may have new information about your circumstances. In this case, you may consider submitting a Request for Revision to our office.
If you applied for financial aid by the priority filing date your original financial aid notification will be made available to you on your admission Application Status page. That same letter and any subsequent updates will be available to you following these steps from Axess:
- Create your SUNet ID and Password.
- Log on to AXESS.
- At the top of the AXESS page, hover over STUDENT.
- Under Quick Links, select View financial aid notification.
You may need to disable pop-up blockers in your browser in order to view your financial aid notification. It can take up to 24 hours after creating your SUNet ID before the STUDENT tab becomes available in AXESS. If you have any issues, feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office.
Families with annual income below $150,000, that have significant assets above what is typical for their income level, may not be eligible for the benchmarks that we have established for scholarship eligibility. Total net worth usually reflects the sum of the following amounts:
- Cash, savings, checking
- Equity in real estate other than the home
- Business net worth
We do not include formal retirement assets (401k, 403b, IRA, Keogh) or equity in your primary residence in our analysis. The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to make the final determination of the expected family contribution, in consideration of all factors affecting a family’s overall financial situation and ability to pay.
Consider submitting a Request for Revision if you think there are additional factors that we should be taking into account. Many families choose to use the Federal PLUS Loan to help with educational costs. A PLUS loan allows your parents to borrow the amount of the parent contribution, and extends repayment of the loan over 10 years. As a student you may also borrow student loans through our office to help meet your expenses.
Your financial aid notification may list documents or information you must submit to our office before we can finalize your award. It is possible that your award will change if the information you submit is different than originally reported to us. Estimated scholarship/grant amounts will be updated to reflect actual costs in early March.
The University has over 1,500 named scholarships. By completing the CSS Profile, you have already been considered for all sources of scholarship funding. Students who qualify for need-based aid from Stanford are initially awarded scholarship from the Stanford Fund. During the course of the academic year, the Financial Aid Office will reallocate funds to award these named scholarships. This does not affect the calculated family contribution or total amount of scholarship funding. When you accept scholarship funds from Stanford, your name, major and hometown will be released to the donor of that scholarship. In most cases, you will be expected to write a thank-you letter to the person who made your scholarship possible.
In most cases you can meet your academic year job earnings expectation without jeopardizing your academic priorities. Stanford’s minimum wage is high enough to meet your student expectations. If you choose not to work, you can reduce or eliminate your job earnings expectation with outside awards or student loans.
You will receive an electronic billing statement well in advance of each academic quarter. Your bill will include tuition, room and board, and other charges for the quarter. Payments are typically due in September (Autumn quarter), December (Winter quarter) and March (Spring quarter).
Your financial aid notification shows the amount of aid that you will receive for each quarter. If your quarter’s aid is less than the balance due, you are responsible for paying the remaining balance and all other expenses with your own funds. However, if your quarter’s aid exceeds your balance due, you will receive a refund for the amount of the overage.
In a word, no. Stanford’s financial aid program is need based, meaning that as costs increase and as your family financial situation changes you can expect changes to your financial aid. If your family situation is stable you can expect a similar amount of aid from year to year, adjusted to reflect current costs. If there is a change in family circumstances, such as one fewer family member in college or a significant change in income, you can expect your aid to be adjusted accordingly.
Stanford’s commitment to meeting financial need extends throughout your four undergraduate years. If your family faces a significant financial change after your first year, we can reevaluate your aid eligibility at that time. Even if you do not qualify for need-based scholarship funds at this time, we will reconsider your aid request for each new academic year based on your family’s financial circumstances at that time.
Your scholarship, grants and/or loans are applied to the university bill once your award is finalized and you are enrolled full time. Though this will not occur until after the bill due date, you may still deduct the anticipated financial aid from the total balance due. Any portion of the bill that will be paid eventually with financial aid (scholarship, grants and/or loans) will not be considered late.
If your award package is pending receipt and review of certain documents or information, this will be noted on your financial aid notification. These pending requirements may also appear as “To Do” items on your Axess account.
If you are still uncertain, you may contact the Financial Aid Office to verify your award package and pending requirements.
3. My award is contingent on the review of my parents' tax return. What will happen if my parents filed an extension and are not able to provide copies of their tax return until after fall quarter starts?
Your financial aid will not be applied to your university student account or bill until all requirements have been received and reviewed by the financial aid office. The bill deadline may not be extended under any circumstance so, you will need to pay your family’s portion of the bill by the specified date despite your award not finalized. Though your award is a contingent award, you may use this to assess your portion of the bill for now.
Your scholarship, grants and/or loans will pay the bill or "direct costs" first. If your aid covers all of the expenses on your bill, a refund will be issued to you and funds may be used to pay for your “indirect expenses” such as books, supplies, personal expenses and/or transportation costs. If your total scholarships, grants and/or loans are less than the total charges on your university bill, your expected parent contribution and student responsibility are used to cover the balance and all of the "indirect costs".
If you are expecting a refund after your financial aid is disbursed, you may enroll in direct deposit through Axess to receive your refund faster and more efficiently.
All types of outside scholarships will reduce your student responsibility from work dollar-for-dollar. This amount is typically $5,000/year. If your outside scholarships exceed your student responsibility from work, your university scholarship will be reduced. If you have been awarded multiple outside scholarships, you may defer one or more of your non-renewable awards to a different year to maximize the use of your outside awards. You will need to contact your donor directly to make this request.
Part-time employment during the academic year is indicated on your financial aid notification as either academic year earnings or federal work study. While both are earnings from work, the two differ in terms of awarding. Federal work study is awarded based on need as federal funds are used to pay your wages, unlike a regular job where your wages are paid by your employer. The amount of federal work study funds you may earn will be determined by the financial aid office.
The Financial Aid Office does not make job assignments. You can apply for jobs through Stanford's Cardinal Careers system or seek employment off-campus. Once you obtain employment, you will be responsible for allocating your earnings at your discretion. If FWS is not included in your financial aid award, you may send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org to have your eligibility reviewed.
The cost of a computer is not part of the student budget. Student loans are available to cover computer expenses that are purchased during the academic year. You may apply for a computer loan only once during your undergraduate enrollment. The computer loan form is available on the Forms page of the Financial Aid Office website.
The university requires that every student is insured which is why all students are pre-enrolled in the university health insurance plan, known as Cardinal Care. If you have health insurance coverage through your parents, you may waive Cardinal Care via Axess before September 15 to avoid additional cost. You will only need to do this once per academic year.
10. I do not have sufficient health insurance coverage and will need to purchase Cardinal Care. How can I request additional financial aid to cover this expense?
If you do not have family health insurance coverage and must purchase Cardinal Care, you may request assistance from the FAO by sending an email message to email@example.com. Scholarship or loan may be offered to cover this cost depending on the student’s eligibility.
You may send your request or inquires for student loans to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please specify the amount you are requesting. Our financial aid counselors will reply back with your loan eligibility and further instructions to secure your loan.
You need to reapply for financial aid for each academic year. You can find the application requirements, deadlines and links for continuing students on our Applying for Aid web page.
April 30 is the priority deadline for continuing students to apply for aid for the upcoming academic year.
Yes. However, we are unable to assure a timely review and awarding. If you wish to receive your financial aid notification by the start of Autumn quarter, you will need to apply by the priority deadline.
Continuing students' financial aid applications are reviewed during the summer. Award notices are sent out on a rolling basis starting in June. If you applied by the priority deadline, you should receive a response from the FAO by August 1.
5. My parents' income and asset information has changed from last year, how will it affect my financial aid?
We are unable to estimate how an award package will be impacted by changes to your family's financial information without a thorough review. For an estimate of your parent contribution, you may use the Net Price Calculator on the financial aid office website.
If you are attending a Stanford overseas program or the Stanford-In-Washington program, our office will automatically revise your financial aid award to include standard travel costs associated to the program you are attending. If you receive Stanford scholarship you will be considered for a one-time grant and loans to help with your extra costs. You do not need to notify our office of your acceptance into the program, we obtain this information directly from Bing Overseas Studies.
If you are attending a program through another school, you cannot receive any University aid during that time. However, you may arrange a consortium agreement in order to use your federal or state aid to attend a non-Stanford program. The funds that may be used under a consortium agreement are: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Stafford Loan, Federal PLUS loan, and Cal Grant. For more questions, please contact the financial aid office. Please see our Study Abroad web page for more information.
7. I’m living in Mirrielees or EV and my housing costs are higher than the standard undergraduate cost. Can my aid be adjusted?
Scholarship support is not increased for higher than standard living costs. Here’s how financial aid considers apartment living: The standard budget for room & board includes a full meal plan. Students assigned to Mirrielees and those with OAE accommodations assigned to EV have rent costs that are higher than standard room costs (roughly $1,300 higher for the full academic year), however, students assigned to apartments have kitchens and are not required to take a meal plan. Students with higher living costs can save that amount in food costs by shopping at the grocery store and cooking for themselves; no adjustment to financial aid is required. As another alternative, Stanford Dining offers an Apartment Meal Plan that allows for 5 meals per week plus meal plan dollars at a significantly reduced cost from the full meal plan which allows students to blend opportunities to eat in a dining hall and cooking for themselves at an affordable rate.
The Student Services Center manages the student billing and payment processes.
- for loans administered by our office go to Axess > View Financial Aid > Scheduled Disbursements.
- for Stanford fellowships or assistantships contact your home department.
- for fellowships from outside agencies, check the status in Axess > Finances Tab > View Outside Awards.
- for funding billed to a third party contact The Student Services Center.
If you receive federal loans or work-study, your total financial support cannot exceed your student budget. An increase in financial support or a change to your student budget may require our office to reduce or cancel your federal funding, and you may be required to reimburse funds already disbursed. Your loan eligibility may decrease if:
- you enroll in fewer units than you reported on your application
- you receive additional funding not reported on your application
- you move to on-campus housing after submitting your application
- you fail to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress or complete the minimum units required for your program
- you do not submit all documentation required by our office
When you start your search for funding, your first stop should be the office of your individual academic department. Department offices can provide you with information about fellowships and other forms of grant assistance; research assistantships; teaching assistantships; and external funding sources.
If you do not qualify for aid through your department, you want to consider borrowing loans. Federal Student Loans are available to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens through the FAO. You may also seek funding through private lenders outside of Stanford.
International students are encouraged to first speak with their academic department for any eligible department support. Most graduate student loan programs are for US Citizens and eligible noncitizens only. A few US banks will offer student loans to international students if the loan is co-signed by a creditworthy US citizen or eligible noncitizen.
To be considered for educational loans, you will need to complete the following required forms every year:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — A web-based application provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Complete online with Stanford's school code 001305.
- Graduate Student Loan Application — Stanford's institutional application available on the FAO website.
You can expect to receive notification of availability of a financial aid notification at your Stanford email address within 6 to 8 weeks of completing all application requirements. You can track your status and award information on Axess.
The budget amounts for tuition, campus health service fee and medical insurance reflect the amounts that you will be charged on your University bill. All other budget items are allowances meant to estimate the typical costs incurred by graduate students.
If you have children or other legal dependents, we may be able to add allowances for dependent care and other costs to your budget. You should list all of your family members and any expected child-care expenses on your Graduate Student Loan Application and provide documentation of your expenses.
10. What will happen to my financial aid if I receive additional funding from my department or outside sources?
Your financial aid award will be revised to include this additional aid and may affect your eligibility for financial aid funds. If you are receiving federal loans or work-study, your total funding may not exceed your cost of attendance. Depending on your situation, you may be required to immediately repay some or all of your financial aid disbursements, even if the funds have already been spent.
11. Will there be any changes to my financial aid award if I enroll in fewer units than originally stated on my financial aid notification?
It is possible that your financial aid will be reduced as tuition charges are based on unit enrollment. If you are billed for less tuition charges than originally budgeted for on your award package, your financial aid will be adjusted accordingly. You may be required to immediately repay some or all of your financial aid disbursement, even if the funds have already been spent.
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