Can I request merit aid as an OOS applicant?

Hi everyone!

I was lucky enough to be accepted into UCSB a couple of days ago, which has been my dream school for years now. I love their Linguistics program and am so grateful for the opportunity to study there. However, as I’m sure everyone knows, the tuition for OOS students is VERY expensive.

I didn’t apply for financial aid in the beginning of this year because I don’t believe my family qualifies (and my guidance counselor agrees). It’s one of those “don’t qualify for financial aid, but still can’t afford 70k per year in tuition” sort of situations. Is there any way to appeal for a merit scholarship as an OOS student? I have no idea how all of this financial aid stuff works in the UC system-- any advice would be deeply appreciated!

You ALWAYS do a FAFSA. What’s their deadline. But - it’s unlikely you will get any. But ALWAYS do one.

I would call the department you got into and ask if there are departmental scholarships for incoming students.

You might check your parent’s employer for scholarships or other local ones.

But UC - very little is given to OOS.

Good luck tho.

I would find a cheaper and equally suitable program. You’re in a non-paying major - meaning you’re not going to have a huge paying job most likely…so find a state flagship, private school with merit, or an alabama or south carolina or arizona - you can still apply - that will make it very affordable.


Thank you so much for this. I’ll fill out a FAFSA ASAP.

No you don’t always need to fill out a FAFSA. If a family knows they won’t qualify, no need unless they want the federal loans.

OP, you won’t get any need based or merit aid from a UC. They only offer regents scholarships to OOS, which is insanely hard to get and you would have known if you were being considered for a regents scholarship by now. They don’t offer need-based to OOS. They want OOS full payers to subsidize their budget. Sorry you did not understand this earlier.

Do you have affordable options?


You are correct that you typically don;'t need a FAFSA. Like my EFC is 90K. However, some schools will waive an app fee if you do a FAFSA or pull you in for a scholarship - even merit - because you filled one out.

99 times out of 100 - if you’re not taking a loan it doesn’t matter. But it’s good practice - and you’ll save a few bucks too applying - Chicago, WUSTL, for example, will waive your app fee.

That’s why I say always do it. It takes 20 minutes to fill out - I know some struggle but it’s not hard. And it can’t hurt you…but at a UC you’re going to pay full freight.

There’s a lot of solid options out there that gives scholarships - not sure your state - but Stony Brook, Miami Ohio, SDSU, Ohio State, Hofstra, etc.

@itsgettingreal21 Got it, thanks for the info. Luckily I do have affordable options (I’m in NY and was accepted to a SUNY) so if UCSB doesn’t work out, I do have a place to go.


well so you wanted the beach :slight_smile: Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook are all fine - and I saw that Stony Brook had a highly rated program…similar to UCSB which I saw was #20 on the ranking I saw.

Good luck to you.

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Thanks so much :slight_smile:

Sadly, no.

I’m sorry that you did not understand the ramifications of the Cost of Attendance for UCSB:
"2020-2021 Undergraduate California Non-Resident University Residence Halls

Item Amount
Tuition $12,570
Campus Based Fees $1,821
Books And Supplies $1,260
Health Care Allowance $3,537
Loan Fees $96
Room and Board $15,039
Personal Expenses $1,371
Telephone/Cell Phone $351
Transportation $573
Non-Resident Tuition Fee $29,754
Total $66,372"

The Universities of California are public schools sponsored by the State of California, which means that taxpayers have funded the UC’s. There is no money for non-resident students.

The State of California created and developed these public universities (UC’s and CSU’s), to provide for the children of residents, accessible and affordable options, to attend a university.

Most of the scholarships are about $2K per year. Regents Scholarships are just a little bit more: “The Regents of the University of California established the prestigious Regents Scholarship Award in 1962 to recognize incoming undergraduates of outstanding academic achievement and promise. At UCSB, the award is coordinated by the Office of Admissions. Currently the award is $5,000 per year for four years for entering freshmen.” Regents Scholarship - UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

They are extremely competitive and have probably already been assigned and are not enough to cover the cost of tuition, let alone the total cost to attend.

The Pandemic affected the dollars going into the universities. This year and the next couple of years are going to be financially difficult.

Since you did not fill out the FAFSA prior to your acceptance, it’s going to be very difficult for the Financial Aid office to find funding for you other than Federal loans (about $6K).

On your application, when you check off the box that asks if you will apply for FA, they assume you will need it for 4 years.

The Financial Aid offices (at the UC’s and CalStates) have been working on providing packages, to the students who applied in the Fall, with the limited money they were budgeted by the State.
(Financial Aid also has to budget for returning Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors). The dollars are already budgeted as acceptances are received. Yes, they run out of money. It’s finite.

Merit dollars and scholarships are a drop in the bucket-That funding comes mostly from the State and some private donors but it’s not a lot. As an OOS student, you pay the full fees noted above. Financial aid doesn’t miraculously appear and pay for everything.
They just don’t have the money from the State. Where would it come from? You need an affordable university. Work with your parents to figure out what they can afford. Good Luck!


Understood, thank you for the in-depth response. I followed some bad advice from a counselor and I will admit that I was a bit blindsided by the costs… should have done my own research.


I’m sorry. That’s a bummer. What did the counselor tell you?

I was told that UCSB was a safety-- which I disregarded, because I know UCs should definitely NOT be considered safeties no matter how good one’s stats-- and that I would most likely receive a merit scholarship. I also feel like I just wasn’t well-informed on how expensive colleges are these days (it’s one thing to hear it but another thing entirely to see the number), which I think is my own fault.

Either way, I’m very privileged to have choices ahead of me, even if it means not attending UCSB.


Actually, the UCs give $0 in state or institutional need based aid to OOS students. $0.

You can complete a FAFSA to be eligible for the Direct Loan or a Pell Grant if you are eligible. But the total of those two funds won’t finance an OOS cost at any UC.

The merit scholarships available are also a drop in the bucket.

OOS students should plan to be full pay at California public universities.

Great that you have an affordable option in your acceptances! That matters.

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My daughter went from SoCal to SUNY Buffalo and loved seeing the change of seasons and learning to drive in the snow.
The SUNY’s are very underrated! They are strong schools. You will enjoy your time there.
Our daughter graduated with an engineering/software degree and came back to work in San Diego.
When you are done with your degree, you can apply to work in California. We’ll still be here!


This was so encouraging thank you so much!!

Can Regents Scholarship go to an OOS applicant?

@gumbymom can clearly answer this with the approximate amounts one might get…MIGHT. These are competitive awards and are not large in dollar amount.

If you are an OOS student, you should expect to be full pay at the California public universities.

If you have further questions, I would suggest you start your own thread. You will get much better and more specific to your question answers with your own thread.

Regents is available for OOS and International students however only a drop in the bucket towards the actual costs of $65K/year.

UC Davis does have the Deans scholarship specifically for high performing OOS students which is around $13500/year.

UC Regents Scholarships and the amounts/year:
Amount: Awards vary by campus and are not transferable if you transfer to another UC campus.

  • UC Berkley $2,500
  • UC Davis $7,500
  • UC Irvine $5,000
  • UCLA $2,000
  • UC Merced $7,000
  • UC Riverside $10,000
  • UC San Diego $2,000
  • UC Santa Barbara $5,000
  • UC Santa Cruz $5,000

In addition, certain perks are provided to Regents recipients: priority registration (not at UCSB), extended library privileges, honors dormitories, faculty mentorship, and others, dependent upon campus.

Historically, both UCB and UCLA have provided higher amounts for Regent scholars that have financial need but does not state if OOS and International students are eligible.

UCLA specifically states: The Regents Scholarship need-based award is determined annually and is designed to supplement the Cal Grant A and B programs, Pell Grant and other outside scholarship awards

UCB also states: Scholars with financial need are awarded a scholarship up to their full need as assessed by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.

Number of Scholarships Awarded: Varies annually—students in the top 1-2% of the applicant pool are considered for the scholarship.

Eligible Students: Entering freshman or transfer student who demonstrate academic excellence (based upon GPA, standardized test scores, and other academic criteria) along with personal accomplishments. Must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident or CA Dream Act Student. Students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 3.25 GPA in order to continue receiving the scholarship.