The main source of financial aid for graduate students at Cal Poly State University comes from Stafford loans. A subsidized Stafford loan is based on need, while an unsubsidized loan is not. The government pays the interest of a subsidized loan until 6 months after the student stops attending school for at least half-time. With an unsubsidized Stafford loan, interest starts to accumulate with the first disbursement.
A graduate student is considered independent regardless of their age and is therefore eligible for more aid than a dependent undergraduate student would be. For example, the maximum amount a student can receive from a Stafford loan per year increases from 5,500 dollars to 8,500 dollars when they become a graduate student. Also, there are numerous scholarships available, both through Cal Poly and outside organizations. These scholarships have varying requirements that can be based on merit and/or need.
Non-resident Tuition Waivers
A limited numer of non-resident tuition waivers are available for graduate students. The waivers may be used as a means to help attract highly qualified applicants from outside the State of California. Requests for waivers should be made by the program or the student's prospective advisor (with the endorsement of the graduate coordinator). The request should be in the form of a memo, addressed to the Dean of Research and Graduate Programs, which summarizes the basis for the nomination of the student for a tuition waiver. Among the criteria that should be addressed in the memo are:
1. Scholastic achievement including GPA, standardized tests such as GRE, GMAT, etc., and honors/awards (only students with a 3.0 GPA overall will be considered);
2. Other significant accomplishments such as research or work experience;
3. Contribution the student would make the program (e.g. bring ethnic, gender, geographical diversity or unique background and skills);
4. Significance of the waiver in the student's decision to enroll (e.g. personal circumstances, competitive offers from other universities).
The memo should be accompanied by copies of the application to Cal Poly, undergraduate (and other graduate, if applicable) transcripts, and other documentation in support of the nomination.
Tuition waivers will normally be for four consecutive quarters, beginning with the first term of enrollment and are non-renewable. Most students should be able to establish California residency during that period.
Nominations may be submitted at any time. However, priority will be given to those received by May 1 for admission to Fall Quarter. While requests may be made for admission to any academic quarter, it is anticipated that most waivers will be awarded to students whose initial enrollment is in Fall Quarter.
Questions may be addressed to Lori Ann Walters
or (805) 756-2328