Leaves in San Francisco

Financial Aid at CIIS

We're committed to helping all admitted students attend CIIS regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability.

We offer assistance to both domestic and international CIIS students. Financial aid encompasses scholarships, grants, and loans. While complying with all applicable government regulations and donor restrictions, we attempt to extend a personalized, concerned approach to each student's financial needs.

Changes to the 2024-25 FAFSA Application Process: FAFSA Delay and Simplification

Recently the Department of Education made the announcement that there will be a delay on when Institutions will be receiving the FAFSA applications for the 24-25 award year. At this time the Dept. of Education advised they will begin sending Institutions the FAFSA applications mid-March. We understand you may have questions and concerns surrounding this news. Please note, this delay should not impact funding for the Fall 24 semester.

    • The FAFSA has been streamlined to reduce the number of questions students must answer.
    • The results of the FAFSA are now called the Student Aid Index (SAI). This replaces the former terminology called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
    • The new terminology is being implemented as part of the FAFSA. Student spouses and parents who provide information in the FAFSA are called contributors. This means they contribute information to the FAFSA.
    • The FUTURE Act, also passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, permits the IRS to provide tax information to the Department of Education when you complete the FAFSA. Taxpayers must provide consent when completing the FAFSA.
    • Changes in the eligibility calculation are expected to increase access to federal financial aid for some students.
    • The 2024-25 FAFSA is now available here↗
    • Students will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA. Get one now if you don’t already have one.
    • The Department of Education announced a delay that may impact our office's ability to review submitted 2024-25 FAFSA data before the mid-March, 2024. The delay involves the availability of FAFSA information being sent to schools before mid-March.
    • Be sure you have an FSA ID.
    • Have your 2022 federal tax documents easily accessible in December when the 2024-25 FAFSA is available.
    • Federal Student Aid has released the FAFSA Estimator ↗, an online estimator tool to help estimate the results of the 2024-25 FAFSA.

    Students who are reporting tax information as part of their FAFSA submission must provide consent for Federal Student Aid Programs to retrieve their federal tax information from the Internal Revenue Service. Failure to provide consent will result in the student being ineligible for federal student aid.

  • What is the FAFSA Simplification Act?

    Information from the Federal Student Aid ↗

    Federal Student Aid Estimator

    FAFSA estimator from the Federal Student Aid website ↗


    If you need additional information or have questions, please contact our office. We are available in the following ways:

    In person office hours: Monday-Thursday 9am to 5pm

    Remote drop in hours:

    • Monday 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
    • Tuesday 10am to 1pm
    • Wednesday 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
    • Thursday 10am to 1pm

    Email: finaid@ciis.edu 

Federal School Code

The Federal School Code for California Institute of Integral Studies is 012154.

Types of Aid

  • CIIS offers both institutional and federal aid to our students.

    • Grants -Money for undergraduate students that they do not need to repay.
    • Scholarships - Institutional aid based on need, merit, and area of study. Please visit our scholarship page to learn more and apply.
    • Federal Pell↗ - Available for students who demonstrate need per their FAFSA.
    • FSEOG↗ - Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, available to students who demonstrate need per their FAFSA.
    • Cal Grant↗ - A California state grant that requires you to file your FAFSA online before March 2 every year.


  • The 2019-2020 interest rate↗ will apply to all new Direct Loans made on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2020.

    Direct loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student's education. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education. Students can borrow directly from the federal government and choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of any borrower.

    Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan

    Direct Subsidized Loans are for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while students are in school at least half-time, during their grace period* and during deferment periods. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods.

    *Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a 6-month grace period that starts the day after students graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment.

    PLUS Loans

    PLUS loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods. There is no grace period for PLUS loans.

    To be eligible to receive a PLUS Loan, a borrower must not have an adverse credit history. If the borrower is determined to have an adverse credit history, he/she may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan if he/she obtains an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history. An endorser is someone who agrees to repay the Direct PLUS Loan if the borrower does not repay the loan. The U.S. Department of Education will conduct a credit check which is valid for 180 days. The borrower may need to re-apply if his/her application expires within the academic year.

    Students and parents may apply for PLUS loans with the U.S. Department of Education here↗

    Private Student Loans

    Once you and your family have considered all institutional and federal loan options, you can use the Great Lakes FASTChoice feature to instantly and accurately compare rates and terms from multiple private loan lenders side-by-side. This tool will help you make an informed decision about the most appropriate loan for you.

    FASTChoice displays products from local and national lenders, complete with detailed listings of APRs (annual percentage rates), interest rates, total cost, monthly payments, borrower benefits, fees and repayment options. Start a FASTChoice private loan comparison now↗.

    Regardless of which private lender you choose, you will need to complete a self-certification form with us before receiving your first disbursement of loan funds. Your lender may provide this form to you when you apply for the loan. Download the Private Loan Self-Certification Form.

    Final Disclosure and Right-to-Cancel Period

    Under the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA), your lender must provide you with a finalized disclosure statement after you have signed your promissory note. The final disclosure statement confirms the terms and conditions of your loan.

    At the time that this final disclosure is delivered, your "right-to-cancel" period begins. During this period of six business days, you may cancel the loan by contacting the lender. The lender cannot release the first disbursement of your loan funds until the end of the right-to-cancel period.

    Graduate students should first opt for the Graduate PLUS loan. This may be the only option if a graduate student has lost his/her financial aid eligibility. Undergraduate independent students may opt for a private loan to supplement their living expenses.


  • Federal Work Study (FWS) is a federally funded program administered by the CIIS Financial Aid Office. Eligibility is based upon demonstrated financial need as reported in the FAFSA. Both graduate and undergraduate students who are citizens or permanent residents may be eligible.

    Students can work up to 20 hours per week through part time employment in an approved on or off-campus job. Once you have accepted your FWS award, it is your responsibility to review the FWS online job description, contact employers, interview and find a position in order to earn the funds provided through FWS.

    Domestic students can work on or off-campus at an hourly wage of $17/hour. In addition, if a student is working off-campus, the student may not work on-campus nor hold other community service positions.

    International students can work on campus only at an hourly wage of $17/hour. This is considered institutional aid. International students may work up to 35 hours per week during breaks (contingent upon CIIS budget). For more information regarding employment for international student status, contact your international student advisor at (415) 575-6157.


  • CIIS works with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist students in securing their educational funding. Students need to register online with the Department of Veterans Affairs↗ to determine their eligibility.

    In order to process this educational benefit, the Financial Aid Office needs an Authorization form/voucher from your Department of Rehabilitation counselor.


  • AmeriCorps↗ is a national community service program that provides funding for education in exchange for service. California Institute of Integral Studies matches the AmeriCorps education awards for the following students:

    • Undergraduates up to $2,000
    • Masters up to $3,000
    • Doctorate up to $4,000

    The award match would be granted if the student completed ONE year of study in our school and after the use of one full year of the AmeriCorps award. The match is given in a form of a scholarship and it is only up to tuition costs for the semester that it is applied.

    For example, during the first year, the student would generally use the AmeriCorps award and during the second year the student would be granted the AmeriCorps match. The student must be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) and not in default with federal aid programs.

    You may contact the Financial Aid Office for more information about an AmeriCorps award at finaid@ciis.edu.


  • CIIS works with the Department of Veteran Affairs for those students eligible to receive GI Bill educational funding. CIIS also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. The financial aid office needs to receive your Certification of Eligibility to process your veteran education benefits.

    For more information, please visit the Veterans and their Families page.


  • The Foundation Center↗ offers a data base of scholarships, fellowships, grants and other awards. You can visit their library in downtown San Francisco and access the database and other resources for free.

    312 Sutter St. #606 San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 397-0903

    For Washington State residents seeking information and resources about student loan repayment or seeking to submit a complaint relating to your student loans or student loan servicer, please visit https://wsac.wa.gov/loan-advocacy↗ or contact the Student Loan Advocate at loanadvocate@wsac.wa.gov.


Check Your Financial Aid Status 

Check your financial aid status online↗

*Please use Internet Explorer and Firefox only; Safari is not supported.

Students are encouraged to monitor their federal student loan history at the National Student Loan History↗


Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund Information for our students in times of COVID-19.

Learn more 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Before you apply, find out whether you are eligible for financial aid↗

    Step 1 – File your FAFSA

    Step 2 – Complete your Direct Loan Entrance Counseling online

    Step 3 – Complete your Master Promissory Note

    Step 4 – Accept/Decline your awards online

    Once the Financial Aid Office receives all of your required documents, they will begin processing your application. You will need to wait to receive an email from the financial aid office detailing how to accept your awards online. Please save our email address, finaid@ciis.edu, in your email contacts to avoid our messages being sent to your spam folder.

    How to accept your awards online

    Go to the Financial Aid Office Online System. Your login is your your CIIS email address (contact Admissions for your CIIS email). For new students, please contact the Admission Office to obtain a CIIS email.

    Note: If your Admissions status is Provisional, the Financial Aid Office would not transmit your aid from the Department of Education to CIIS per federal regulations. It is important that you contact the Admissions Office to resolve your Admission status.


  • Find the most up-to-date information on our Tuition and Fees page.


  • Entrance Loan Counseling is a review of post-graduation payment options for student loans. It is also a federal requirement so that students can properly understand their legal obligations. To do this, please log on at https://studentaid.gov↗ using the FSA ID you used for the FAFSA, and follow the link saying Complete Entrance Counseling. This is a task that you will do when you begin a new program. You need not do it every semester.


  • Exit loan counseling is required before you graduate, withdraw, or drop below half-time attendance. Accomplishing it will help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. It consists of useful tips and information to help you manage your loans. Log on https://studentaid.gov↗ to go through this process.


  • The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s); for instance, it will include information on how interest is calculated and what deferment and cancellation provisions are available to you. Please note that separate MPNs are required for Stafford Loans and for any PLUS loans you may have. To do a Promissory Note, please log on at https://studentaid.gov↗ using the same PIN you used for the FAFSA, and follow the link saying Complete Master Promissory Note.


  • Once your awards are ready to be accepted/declined online, you will receive an email from our office with the following instructions:

    1. Go to the "Accept Awards Online" tab
    2. Click on the "Click Here" link to learn about the Terms and Conditions of your award
    3. Change the "Status" field to "Accept" or "Decline" for each award. You may also select "Accept All" if you wish to accept or decline all of your awards at once
    4. Click the "Submit" button once you are done
    5. Check the "Awards Tab" to see how much you are eligible for per semester
    6. Budget how much you need for college. Check your fees and tuition charges per semester to see if you have enough to cover them. If you wish to reduce the amount of your loans, please contact our office by email at finaid@ciis.edu and request it in writing.


  • Note: A credit check is required for this application process.

    Go to https://studentaid.gov↗

    1. Click on "Sign In" under "Manage My Direct Loan." Follow the given steps.
    2. You will need a FSA ID to apply.
    3. You will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for the Graduate Plus Loan (please note that this is separate from the Subsidized/Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note). The Graduate Plus Application is valid for 180 days. After 180 days, you will need to reapply and go through another credit check.


  • If you have submitted all required documents by the priority deadline and accepted your awards, then you will receive your funds on the school's disbursement date for the semester. Note that for first-time undergraduate loan borrowers, there will be a 30-day delay for disbursement of loans. In order to be considered complete status, the following should be met:


    • Full Admission Acceptance status (Provisional Acceptance doesn't qualify for aid)
    • Registered for coursework eligible for aid
    • Enrollment/coursework registration successfully submitted
    • Direct Loan Entrance loan counseling (first-time borrowers only)
    • Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Direct Loans


    • Meeting satisfactory academic progress
    • Registered for coursework eligible for aid
    • Enrollment/coursework registration successfully submitted
    • Master Promissory Note (MPN) for Direct Loans

    If, however, you have not received a financial aid award beyond the disbursement date, check with Business Office if you will incur a late payment fee. We process financial aid awards in the order we receive FAFSA applications and other required documents from students, so we highly suggest submitting the FAFSA application online as soon as possible.

    From the date that the above mentioned are successfully completed, there is an approximately 3-week turnaround prior to disbursement of funds.

    **Note that there may be delays during the disbursement period.**


  • There are three steps.

    STEP 1: Calculate your total cost at CIIS.

    Tuition + Registration fee + Other charges (e.g. Technology Fee) = Actual Cost

    STEP 2: Calculate your total aid.

    Total financial aid (loans & scholarship, excluding federal work study funds) = Total Aid

    Note: There are origination fees on your loans, please check with the Financial Aid Office for details.

    STEP 3: Calculate excess fund or balance due. Total Aid - Actual Cost = Excess fund

    Note: If your "Excess fund" is a negative figure, you actually owe a balance and need to pay to the business office.


  • If you're provisionally admitted, the Financial Aid Office would not be able to request for your funds from the Department of Education. In addition, your scholarship disbursement will also be placed on hold. Provisionally admitted students should contact their Admissions counselor as soon as possible to determine what other documents (e.g.: transcripts, letters of recommendations, degree conferrals, etc.) are needed to transition to full acceptance status.


  • Incomplete grades (I or IN) are classified as unsatisfactory grades; similarly with "NP" (not pass) and any letter grades below a "B." If you have 1 NP and 1 I/IN grades, you will continue to receive financial aid. However, if you have 2 B- grades (2 C grades for undergraduate/BAC students) and an I/IN, you will be placed on Probation by the Registrar and continue to receive financial aid for the duration of that probationary status. However, if you fail to rehabilitate your academic progress after your probationary status, you will no longer continue receiving financial aid until you have resolved your unsatisfactory grades. Once you have successfully replaced those unsatisfactory grades, you will be able to reinstate your financial aid in the following semester.


  • Check your status with the Registrar's office, then follow-up with a Financial Aid counselor afterwards.


  • All new students beginning a new program are eligible to apply for scholarships simply by being admitted to that program and submitting a FAFSA form↗. Awards are determined based primarily on financial need demonstrated on the FAFSA form. For this reason, we recommend doing the FAFSA form early in order to be considered for a scholarship.

    Awards are typically awarded for Fall and Spring terms over a two-year period and are contingent upon good academic standing and full-time enrollment in the same academic program. Full-time enrollment for graduate programs is minimum 9 units for Fall/Spring. Full-time enrollment for bachelor's completion is minimum 12 units for Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.

    There are also research-specific scholarships for Doctoral students such as Kranzke Scholarships, which have specific application processes. For the most up-to-date information on both internal and external scholarships, please contact the Financial Aid office directly.


  • Federal Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) for undergraduate students:

    1. You must be admitted to and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Completion program.
    2. Complete the appropriate Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)↗, and demonstrate "financial need"*.

    Cal Grants (A and B):

    1. You must be admitted to and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Completion program.
    2. Be enrolled at least half-time (six units minimum per semester, fall or spring).
    3. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and provide the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) with a completed GPA verification form no later than March 2nd and demonstrate financial need.*
    4. State Funding must be available

    *Financial need is determined by the U.S. Department of Education using a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).


Contact Us

Please contact our Financial Aid Office with any questions at finaid@ciis.edu or 415.575.6148. Our fax number is 415.575.1268.