Is it possible to negotiate financial aid as a transfer student?

Hi all,

I am starting class at UCLA this Fall as a transfer student. I’ve only been offered about 7.5k in loans by FAFSA, and I received the CAL grant. Still, I’m struggling to come up with other several thousands of dollars required to pay housing and my meal plan.

Is it possible to negotiate financial aid with the school? My parents can’t help me out but as a 22 year old I’m not considered financially independent by UCLA. Is there anyway to negotiate a grant from the school, or at least an increased loan?

I’d appreciate any advice.

UC’s do not negotiate financial aid. Since UCLA uses only FASFA, your FA is pretty much determined based on what you have reported. If you do not qualify for anymore need-based aid, there is really no other options unless you meet criteria for an FA appeal.

If a student’s or student’s family finances change after filing the FAFSA or DREAM application, our office can consider an appeal to account for the change of circumstances. Please bear in mind that not all appeals are granted.

Circumstances that qualify for a reevaluation of income are:

  • Loss of employment
  • Divorce
  • Death of a Parent
  • Parents’ out-of-pocket medical and/or dental expenses (please submit a statement explaining the circumstances, copies of parents’ federal tax returns for the last year, verification of the medical condition that necessitated the expenditure and verification of out-of-pocket costs paid).

You can use a Projected Year Income Petition to submit an appeal based on loss of earnings. Please read the instructions carefully and submit the appeal form and all supporting documentation to Financial Aid and Scholarships office.

All appeal forms can be found on our Forms and Publications Page Please ensure you select the correct academic year.


You are a transfer. UCLA area rents are expensive. Room and Board fees try to stay competitive with local rents.

UCLA receives its funds from the State of California’s taxpayers, so they are limited in what and how they disperse funds. We’ve just been through a pandemic and the universities lost a lot of revenue from losses of R&B, student stores, franchisees, etc. They don’t have the extra funds.

Federal loans are very limited and they don’t want students being in debt for life:
"Third Year and Beyond Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit:

  • $7,500 per year-No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
    Undergrad students whose parents can’t obtain PLUS loans may be eligible for:
  • $12,500-No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
    Federal Student Aid

CalGrants are specific in amounts. What are the Cal Grant Award Amounts - California Student Aid Commission

Contact the FA office at UCLA and ask them about your loan status.
Most transfers have work/savings and can commute to the UC where they applied.

This is where preparation pays. Perhaps UCLA isn’t the right school for you.

Kids talk about taking loans like it’s nothing. My daughter just came to me and her soon to be Freshman boyfriend is having a panic attack because he now realizes the amount of loans he took when he could have gone elsewhere for less.

Perhaps you should consider taking a semester off or at a community college if you can still earn more credits there - and choose a lower cost school (both tuition and living) that won’t leave you as stressed - both today and tomorrow.

In general, publics have no leeway to negotiate. Privates do but that doesn’t mean they will.

You need to understand the financials at each school before you apply.

I’m not sure about transfers - but you may look into Arizona. As a first year student (even out of state), it’s much cheaper. You have lots of other schools too that are cheaper for first year. I don’t know the rules for transfer.

Put yourself someplace you can afford.

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What is the gap you are trying to fill? What is your FAFSA EFC?

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