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International students may or may not be eligible for federal, state, or institutional need-based aid programs at La Sierra University depending upon their residency status, as well as their financial need. International students should follow normal application procedures for financial aid at La Sierra University if they are:

  • U. S. Citizens, or
  • U. S. nationals (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island).

*Students who are not in one of these categories, but who are:

  • U. S. permanent residents with an Alien Registration Receipt Card --Green Card (I-151, I-551);
  • conditional permanent residents (I-151C);
  • family unity status recipients (I-797) with an approved immigrant visa (I-797);
  • an eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service showing one of the following designations: "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Indefinite Parole" and/or "Humanitarian Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant;" or
  • an eligible noncitizen with a Temporary Resident Card (I-688)

*Should also follow normal application procedures for financial aid at La Sierra University but must also provide us a copy of their Alien Registration Receipt Card or Arrival or Departure Record to verify their citizenship status.

Students in the U. S. on an F1 or F2 student visa only or on a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa only, or on a G series visa (pertaining to international organizations) are not eligible to receive need-based aid administered by our office. These students, however, may be eligible for private or college-awarded scholarships administered by agencies other than our office.

  • To access information on private funding sources you may link up through our web pages to two different scholarship search services: fastWEB. These free scholarship search programs provide students with thousands of listings of scholarships, fellowships, grants, loans, and other awards.

Helpful Financial Aid and Scholarship Webpages:

International Education- Financial Aid

  • IEFA is the premier Internet resource for financial aid information for international students wishing to study in a foreign country. At this site, you will find the most comprehensive listing of grants, scholarships, loan programs, and other information to assist students in their pursuit to study abroad.


Schedule an appointment with a financial counselor.

piggy bank


Institutional and privately donated funds offered by La Sierra University and other entities.

tuition and costs

Tuition & Costs

Undergraduate, graduate, and other academic and summer programs tuition and costs.

Instructions for FAFSA application

Start by completing the FAFSA on the Web.

  1. Take your time filling out the FAFSA. Read the directions and call us if you have any questions. Have your parents carefully fill out their sections, if applicable. (The FAFSA instructions will determine whether your parents must complete the form and will indicate where to fill in their information.) It is best if you and your parents complete your Federal Income Tax Returns before completing the FAFSA so you can use exact tax information, if you can meet the March 2 Cal Grant deadline. If not, estimate the income and tax information on the FAFSA. If your application is selected for Verification you must submit copies of your own as well as your parents' IRS Tax Return Transcripts and W-2 forms (if their information is included on the FAFSA).
  2. The FAFSA application process is FREE. Make sure you submit your application on the government's website: WWW.FAFSA.GOV, and not on any other websites ending in .ORG or .COM.
  3. Make or print out a copy of your completed FAFSA and submit electronically. The FAFSA will calculate your family's ability to pay for college, using standard methodology required by the Federal government, and forward your information electronically to La Sierra University. When this report and other required forms and documents are received and you have been admitted to La Sierra, your application will be processed.

Be sure to read your e-mail. After submitting your FAFSA, you will get an e-mail confirming when your FAFSA is processed. Approximately 3-5 business days after your FAFSA is processed, La Sierra University will receive it. Contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 951.785.2175 or email us at sfs@lasierra.edu, if you have questions.

As early as March, Student Financial Services begins to mail out Award Letters to students, with completed aid applications, who have been admitted to La Sierra. The letter will describe the financial aid package you are being offered for the next academic year. It also will give you information about how financial aid is disbursed at the beginning of school and how to remain eligible throughout the year.

  • Financial aid awards are made for one year at a time. Remember to reapply each year, before the annual March 2 priority funding date.

Application Deadline

  • FAFSA applications may be completed between January 1 and June 30 for Federal Pell and Federal Direct  loan consideration.
  • FAFSA data must be received by the March 2 priority deadline. Funds are limited for many programs, and are awarded on a first-come, first-awarded basis. La Sierra does not guarantee that all students that apply through the FAFSA by March 2 will receive these funds.
  • FAFSA applications received after this date will be considered on a funds available basis only. Income estimations are acceptable on the FAFSA and any necessary corrections can be made further down the line using the Data Retrieval Tool. Contact your Financial Aid Counselor before making any correction.


In order to be eligible for any form of federal or state, and certain institutional financial aid, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • You must have a valid social security number.
  • You must be admitted into a degree-seeking program. (You may apply for aid before you are admitted but you must be admitted before aid can be disbursed to you.)
  • If you are a male of at least 18 years of age, you must be registered with Selective Service System.
  • To retain eligibility you must maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • To receive most types of aid at La Sierra, you must be at least a half-time student. If you plan to drop credits, you must contact your financial aid counselor, since your aid may be subject to reduction or cancellation.

Checklist Before You Begin

Make Sure You Have The Following Items
  1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) see #1 and 2 below  (submit to Federal processor)
  2. Additional documents may be requested:
Your Social Security card and Driver's License
Parent Information Form (PLUS Loan applicants only)
Verification Worksheets and Federal IRS Tax Transcripts and W-2 forms
Non-taxable Income Verification
Resident Alien Card or other evidence of citizenship
W-2 forms or other records of income earned in previous year
Your (and your spouse's, if married) Federal Income Tax Transcript for previous year . Use estimates if tax returns not yet filed.
Your parent's (if you are a dependent student) Federal Income Tax Transcript for previous year . Use estimates if tax returns not yet filed.
Records of other untaxed income received in previous year such as SNAP benefits, social security benefits, AFDC or ADC, veteran's benefits, military or clergy allowances, or tax deferred annuity (W-2 form).
Current bank statements
Business or farm records, if you or your parent(s) own a business or farm
Records of stocks, bonds, and other investments

Renewal FAFSA Application

Your FAFSA conveniently saves your demographic and personal information so that you do not need to re-enter it every year. Go to the FAFSA Website to begin your renewal FAFSA.

Within 1 week after you submit your FAFSA, you should receive a Student Aid Report, (SAR) . The SAR is e-mailed to the e-mail address you provided on your FAFSA.

If all your data is complete and correct your SAR will include an EFC. Your EFC is calculated based on a formula established by Congress. This is the index that is used to establish your eligibility for many types of need based aid (Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, etc.).

Every educational institution is responsible for establishing a basic Cost of Attendance (COA), which may include tuition and fees, housing, food, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. Budgets at La Sierra are not individualized for each student, but are assigned according to the residency and class level (i.e. on campus, off campus). Costs such as tuition and fees are established based on the assessed rate of 12 units per quarter. Other costs, such as housing, food, transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses, are established based on the average reasonable costs for those areas. Your individual costs may be more or less depending on the number of credits you register for, your area of study, and the lifestyle that you choose to establish.

Cost of Attendance


Your eligibility for need based aid is calculated by subtracting your EFC along with any outside resources (i.e. Veteran benefits, scholarships, tuition waivers, fellowships, etc) from your COA. This gives the financial aid office your financial need at La Sierra.

COA - EFC - other resources = FINANCIAL NEED


If your EFC and other resources are less than the COA, then you may have financial need, and every effort is made to meet that need with a package that may include grants, work-study, and loans.

Federal Need-Based aid programs include: the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loan, and the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan.

Financial Aid Timeline / Checklist


  • Complete the FAFSA for the coming school year at www.fafsa.ed.gov (use estimated income if taxes not finished).
  • La Sierra’s FAFSA code is 001215.
  • La Sierra’s early admissions acceptance begins.


  • Attend a FAFSA & Scholarship Workshop (dates/times on OrgSync & School Calendar).
  • Submit Cal Grant GPA verification (due March 2).
  • Reserve a spot in the summer freshmen orientation program.
  • Apply for scholarships.
  • Current students only: apply for endowed scholarships through the Advancement office.


  • File taxes as early as possible. Recommend e-filing.
  • Track your Cal Grant application status at www.calgrants.org.
  • Schedule an appointment for a financial estimate with a La Sierra University enrollment counselor.


  • Go into the FAFSA and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the financial information after taxes are filed.
  • Watch for your La Sierra award notification letter from the office of Student Financial Services.


  • Turn in all documents requested by La Sierra’s Student Financial Services to complete your financial aid file by May 15.


  • Complete any paperwork necessary for your student loans to be processed.
  • Finalize your payment plan with La Sierra’s Student Financial Services.


  • Make your first payment by September 10.
  • Buy your books before classes begin.

Useful webpages:

Useful Phone Numbers:

  • FAFSA: 1-800-4-FEDAID
  • Cal Grant: 1-888-CA-GRANT
  • IRS Transcript: 1-800-829-3676
  • La Sierra Enrollment Services: 951-785-2000
  • La Sierra Student Financial Services: 951-785-2175
  • La Sierra Bookstore: 951-785-2196
  • La Sierra Student Life: 951-785-2100

Have Questions?

Contact or visit the following:

Financial Counselors

John Sheldon Hadley
A - E
Financial Counselor
Jackie Isenmann
F - L
Financial Counselor
Letty Fonseca
M - R
Financial Counselor
Julain Gunn-Clarke
S - Z
Financial Counselor

Other Staff

Elina Bascom
Esther Kinzer
Sr. Associate Director
Denyu Miller
Associate Director
Audrey Gaspard
Assistant Director
Ingrid Murphy
Data Load Manager

Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?

You can apply for aid online at FAFSA on the web.

What is the La Sierra University school code?

The La Sierra University school code is: 001215

How long does the process take?

The FAFSA application process itself can take as little as 20 minutes when you have all of the information necessary readily available. Always remember to apply as early as possible (January 1 through March 2, prior to the following fall term) because some program funds are limited and awarded on a "first-come-first-served" basis. From the time that you submit your FAFSA online, it usually takes 3-5 business days for our school to receive your FAFSA.

How will I know how much aid I qualify for?

An award letter stating the type of aid, amount and conditions of your award will be mailed to you. You must review your award letter and if you find any discrepancies with your estimate, please contact the Student Financial Services office as soon as possible.

What happens if I decide to attend part-time?

Your aid may be reduced or canceled in some cases in order to comply with regulations or eligibility requirements.

What is an estimate, and how do I get one?

La Sierra University Enrollment Services (Recruitment) will provide all new students with a preliminary estimate of the financial aid awards that they may receive. Estimates are based upon information supplied to the enrollment services staff by the student or student's family. Verification of the student's information may modify the actual amounts provided in the student's official aid offer from La Sierra University Student Financial Services.

I was awarded a federal direct loan, but I want to reduce the amount. how can I do that?

Contact your financial aid counselor in the office of Student Financial Services.

What if I need to take some or all of my classes at another school?

You can only receive financial aid from the school in which you are accepted and enrolled in a program. As long as you are seeking a degree at La Sierra University and the classes will be credited toward your La Sierra University degree, you may be eligible to receive assistance. Contact the La Sierra University Student Financial Services office to see which forms you must complete and for which programs you may qualify.

What if I completely withdraw from classes? will I have to repay my financial aid?

Yes, if you withdraw before 60% of the term is completed, you will be required to repay a percentage of the aid you received since the funds were awarded to meet educational expenses for the entire quarter.

How will my fees be paid and what happens to the money that exceeds my fees?

Approximately three weeks (five weeks for first-time borrowers) after school starts your aid will be applied to your tuition. Any remaining credit will be mailed by the bursar's office to your local address on file at the registrar's office, or deposited directly into your bank account if you have submitted the Direct Deposit form to the bursar's office. Direct Deposit is the preferred method of delivery since it expedites the process and gets you your refund sooner.

What happens if I have been awarded a loan, but never complete the paperwork for it?

If you are a first-time borrower at La Sierra University, you will need to complete the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note for the Federal Direct Loans at www.studentloans.gov. If you have been awarded a Federal Perkins Loan, you must complete the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note in person at the Department of Accounts and Loans, Administration Building room 107. Loans will not pay onto your student account until the paperwork requirements have been completed. 

How can I get information about my award?

You can call, email, or come to the Student Financial Services office to get the information.

Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?

No, but you must be admitted before you can receive your award letter or financial aid.

How do I know which offices to deal with for financial planning?

The office of Student Financial Services is responsible for advising applicants about financial aid; collecting all required paperwork; determining estimated family contributions; and awarding all financial aid except leadership/merit type scholarships (which are awarded by the office of Enrollment Services). The office of Student Financial Services is the central processing office for the FAFSA, and all financial aid, including government grants and loans, outside resources, and La Sierra University aid.

The office of Student Financial Services establishes your total payment package. After you have received all the financial aid, grants, and scholarships available from the Financial Aid and Enrollment Services offices, you will receive financial clearance and Student Financial Services can guide you in setting up a payment plan.

are deadlines important?

Yes! Deadlines are critical. March 2 is the priority deadline. For example: a qualifying California resident will lose the Cal Grant (up to $9,704!) if they miss this deadline. There may still be other funds available later, but many funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to maximize your aid offer, apply early!

My family income has changed since I filed my fafsa. What should I do?

Submit a request for professional judgment to a counselor at the Student Financial Services office. You will be asked to submit written documentation of the change. After a review of your request, you may be awarded additional assistance.

What is considered in calculating how much my family can afford to contribute?

It's a complex calculation which takes into account a variety of factors including family income and size, total assets, parents' age (and their need to save for retirement) and the number of family members in college.

If the information on the FAFSA does not accurately reflect your ability to pay for college, or your family has extenuating financial circumstances, you should contact your student financial services counselor if you have any questions.

The FAFSA asks for information about my parents, but I do not receive any support from them. What do I do?

Federal regulations require your eligibility to be based on your income and that of your parents unless you are 24 years old; married, or have legal dependents other than a spouse; are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; an orphan or ward of the court (or you were until age 18); or will be working on a degree beyond a bachelor's. If you think that you have exceptional circumstances contact your La Sierra University financial counselor about a possible dependency override.

What determines how much I'll be offered, and whether I'll get loans, grants, or work?

The amount of your award is determined by the amount of your financial need and available funding. The greater your need, the more aid we can offer you. The kind of aid you are awarded depends on your eligibility for the various aid programs. Each has its own requirements. Most students are offered a combination of gift assistance (grants and scholarships which don't have to be repaid) and "self-help" aid (loans and/or work opportunities).

can I get a book advance?

A Book Advance allows students to use a portion of their anticipated financial aid, up to $550, to purchase textbooks and supplies from the campus bookstore prior to the beginning of Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. Students who have been awarded federal or state aid and who will have a credit balance after tuition and other campus charges are paid are eligible for a book advance.

1) Joe's charges for the quarter are $14,000 and he has approved aid in the amount of $14,600. Joe would be eligible for a book advance of $550.
2) Sue's charges for the quarter are $14,000 and she has approved aid in the amount of $14,200. Sue is eligible for a book advance in the amount of $200.
*The amount of the book advance is based on a student's registration, charges, and aid at the time the advance is made. Any changes to the registration, charges, or aid after the advance is given may require the student to repay the funds received.