There are a variety of scholarships, grants and loans available for our undergraduate students here at Sofia University.


Federal Pell Grant

A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree.

The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $5,730 for the 2014–15 award year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015). The amount you get, though, will depend on the following criteria:

  • your financial need,
  • your cost of attendance,
  • your status as a full- or part-time student, and
  • your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

You may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time. If you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you’ll receive the full amount you qualify for—each school participating in the program receives enough funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education to pay the Federal Pell Grant amounts for all its eligible students. The amount of any other student aid for which you might qualify does not affect the amount of your Federal Pell Grant.


Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans are federal student loans which are available to eligible students to help cover the cost of higher education at Sofia University. These loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans

  • Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need.
  • Sofia University’s financial aid office determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need.
  • For a subsidized loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays for the interest
  • while you’re in school at least half-time,
  • for the first six months after you leave school (referred to as a grace period*), and
  • during a period of deferment (a postponement of loan payments).

*Note: If you receive a Direct Subsidized Loan that is first disbursed between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, you will be responsible for paying any interest that accrues during your grace period. The interest rate for loans first disbursed in this period is 4.66%. If you choose not to pay the interest that accrues during your grace period, the interest will be added to your principal balance.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need.
  • Sofia University determines the amount you can borrow by considering the cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive.
  • For an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for paying the interest during all periods.
  • If you choose not to pay the interest while you are in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, your interest will accrue (accumulate) and be capitalized (that is, your interest will be added to the principal amount of your loan).
  • The current interest rate for direct unsubsidized loans first disbursed between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015 is at 4.66%.

The following chart provides maximum annual and total loan limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans as of July 1, 2012.

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate $7,500 per year—no more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500 per year—no more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Maximum Total Debt from Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans $31,000—no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500 for undergraduates—no more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

The loan origination fee for Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is currently 1.072%.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Federal Direct PLUS loans are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses at Sofia University.

A credit check will be performed during the application process. If you have an adverse credit history, you may still receive a Direct PLUS Loan by obtaining an endorser who does not have an adverse credit history or documenting to the U.S. Department of Education’s satisfaction extenuating circumstances relating to your adverse credit history. If you are a parent borrower, the endorser cannot be the child on whose behalf you are borrowing.

If a parent borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student may be eligible for additional unsubsidized loans to help pay for his or her education. The dependent student should contact the Sofia University’s financial aid office for more information.

Here’s a quick overview of Direct PLUS Loans:

  • The U.S. Department of Education is the lender.
  • The borrower must not have an adverse credit history.
  • Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.21%.
  • The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by Sofia University) minus any other financial aid received.
  • The current loan origination fee is 4.288 % for Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

Work Study

Federal Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their education expenses. This program is a need-based federally funded financial aid program offered to eligible U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S.

Federal Work-Study Program award students can reasonably expect to earn $5,000 to $10,000 per year through work study funding and the FWS hourly wage range during the 2013-2014 academic year is $8 to $15. Students must have applied for financial aid and have been awarded FWS funds as part of their financial aid award package to be eligible for a FWS position. FWS employers pay a percentage of a student’s wages; the federal government pays the remainder.

There are numerous opportunities for FWS positions both at the university and off campus. Students frequently work in jobs connected with their research or career goals – and will seek those positions once they’ve arrived on campus. The Federal Work-Study Program award funds on a first come, first served basis.

Students may work no more than two jobs, provided their total earnings through work study do not exceed the amount of their total FWS award. The award amount acts as the maximum gross amount the student may earn at their particular position. Students are required to monitor their earnings to be sure they do not exceed their ceilings.
For information related to the Federal Work-Study Program, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.

Alternate Resources

There are a variety of other resources available for financial aid which includes the possibility of seeking assistance from community organizations and employers as well as loans from private lenders.

Religious, Social and Professional Organizations

Many religious organizations (church, synagogue, mosque, etc.), community organizations (Rotary Club, Elks, Moose, etc.) and professional organizations often provide student assistance programs in the forms of grants or scholarships. If you are a member of a group or organization, ask if they offer any student assistance programs and, if so, ask them what the award criteria are.


Some companies offer tuition reimbursement for their employees. Consult your Human Resources or Benefits Office to see what programs might be available to you.

Alternate Loans

Sofia University maintains a portfolio of alternate lending programs. These programs are offered through private lenders to students. Generally, the terms of these loans are not as favorable as the Direct Stafford Loan programs. Contact the Sofia University Financial Aid Office for information about the availability of alternate lenders. Participation in an alternate loan program requires additional financial counseling. Alternate loan applications will not be processed without this debt counselingAnchor


Questions? Contact the financial aid office at, or by calling (650) 493-4430, ext. 712.