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Financial Aid Resources

Financial aid is money used to pay for your education and associated expenses. The best way to finance your education is through money you don’t have to repay, such as grants and scholarships.

Time to apply for financial aid? Apply online
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If you can’t get enough free money to pay for college and you aren’t able to cover your costs with savings or other resources, student loans are another option.

What is a Federal Student Loan?

Federal loans are borrowed funds that must be repaid along with the interest that accrues. A federal loan allows the applicant and loan co-sign members to borrow money to help pay for college through federal government programs. 

What is a private student loan?

Private loans are nonfederal loans issued by private lenders like banks, credit unions, state agency, or a school. Private student loans are not subsidized. No one pays the interest on your loan but you. Private student loans may also require an established credit record. The cost of a private student loan will depend on your credit score and other factors determined by your lender.

At Palo Alto University we encourage our students to weigh the benefits of federal educational loans compared to private student loans, we make both types of loans available to students. If you are considering a private student loan ensure that you read and understand the following information: Truth in Lending Act. Finally, while it is the lender's responsibility to provide you with a Private Educational Loan Applicant Self Certification Form, if they do not you can find one here: Private Educational Loan Applicant Self Certification Form

For more information or to see a list private student loan lenders, see: PAU Lender List.
Disclaimer:  The Financial Aid Office does not receive, and will not accept, inducements from lenders in exchange for inclusion in the Preferred Lender List, nor does Palo Alto University  share in the profits from student loans.

 Code of Conduct for Alternative Student Loans

How can students tell the difference?

Not sure whether a loan being offered is a private loan or federal loan? Check out the name of the loan—does it include the word “federal”? If not, ask the financial aid office. Often, private loans are marketed directly to student borrowers. If a private loan is not acquired, let the financial aid office know so they can provide counseling on future loans and financial wellness.

Why are federal student loans a better option to pay for college?

Federal student loans offer borrowers many benefits not typically found with private loans, including low, fixed interest rates, a six-month grace period during which no payments are due, income-driven repayment options, ways to lower or postpone payments, loan forgiveness or discharge based on your job or disability, and deferment options for military or volunteer service or if you return to school. All of federal student loan options should be explored before considering a private loan.

For information regarding the types of federal student loans are available and how much can be borrowed click here


The online web site for The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.

International Education Financial Aid

At this site, you will find the most comprehensive college scholarship search and grant listings plus international student loan programs and other information to promote study abroad.

Below are financial aid options for graduate and undergraduate students.

Types of Financial Aid
Types of Financial AidUndergraduate StudentsGraduate StudentsInternational Students
Federal Pell GrantX  
Cal Grants A & BX  
Federal Work Study FWSXX 
Federal Direct Subsidized LoanX  
Federal Direct Unsubsidized LoanXX 
Private LoansXXX
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans X 
Federal Direct Parent PLUS LoansX  
Palo Alto University Graduate Scholarship XX
Palo Alto University Undergraduate ScholarshipX X


Descriptions of Financial Aid Available

FSEOG :The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant is awarded to students based upon the information the students and their parent(s) provided on the FAFSA. Funds are awarded to students who have been awarded Pell Grant and have the lowest Expected Family Contributions. Award range varies from year to year based on school funding.

Federal Pell GrantThe Federal Pell Grant is awarded to students based upon the information the student and parent(s), if dependent, provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Pell Grant is based on need as assessed by the U.S. Department of Education. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the Pell Grant can pay up to $7,395.

Cal Grants A & B

California specific grant that does not have to paid back. Students must complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act application by the deadline of March 2nd and meet all eligibility, financial and GPA requirements. Cal Grant  Awards are between $9,358 and $10,868  for academic year 2023-2024. There are three types of CAL Grants: A,B,and C. You do not have to figure out which one to apply for. Eligibility will be based off of FAFSA responses, verified GPA, the type of California college attending, and whether you are a recent high school graduate. When awarded these will be applied to your student billing account.

Cal Grant A & B
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Federal Work-Study (FWS)Federal Work-Study is part of the financial aid package providing jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. Students must file a FAFSA, be enrolled at least half-time, maintain a 2.0 GPA for undergraduate and 3.0 GPA for graduate students, and cannot work more than 20 hours per week.

Federal Direct Subsidized LoanAwards are based on need and only available to undergraduate students. On the subsidized loan, the federal government is paying the interest for you while you’re in school. Repayment begins six months after you graduate or drop below half-time status. Loans disbursed in the 2023-2024 academic year have a fixed interest rate at 5.50% and is paid for the student while in school. Maximum award amounts depend on your year in school and range from $5,500 to $12,500 for undergraduates.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized LoanThese loans are not based on financial need. Interest is accruing on the loan while you are in school. Repayment begins six months after you graduate or drop below half-time status. Loans disbursed in the 2023-2024 academic year have a fixed interest rate of 5.50% for undergraduate students and 7.05% for graduate students. Independent students and undergraduate students whose parents do not qualify for the PLUS Loan program (see below) may also apply for additional Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds. (Parents of independent undergraduate students cannot apply for PLUS loans). The maximum unsubsidized loan amount for 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students is $7,500. The maximum loan amount for masters students is $20,500 and $33,000 for doctoral students.

Federal Direct Parent or Graduate PLUS LoansThese loans are available to parents of dependent undergraduate students or graduate students enrolled at least half time and who have satisfactory credit histories. PLUS loans are not based on financial need. The maximum loan is based on the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid. The 2023-2024 academic year interest rate for the PLUS loan is 8.05%. Interest accrues and repayment begins 60 days after the final disbursement for the year; however, if requested, loans can be deferred until the student graduates.

Private LoansPrivate loans may be available to help bridge the gap between financial aid and the cost of education. The terms of these loans differ according to the lender and you should compare the information to determine which loan best suits your needs. For more information or to see a list private student loan lenders, see: PAU Lender List.

Palo Alto Institutional AidAll admitted students are automatically reviewed for scholarship eligibility. There is no separate application, however students are still required to complete the FAFSA or Dream Act Application. International students are considered for scholarship awards as well. Awards are based on academic merit and financial need.


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Financial Aid Drop-In Office Hours

In person office hours will be available on Thursdays and Fridays from 7am-3pm building 2 room 208. You can contact the Office of Financial Aid to set up in person appointments. 

Virtual Office Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10am-11am (PST) or 5pm-6pm (PST) - Log In Here