2023-2024 Catalog

Types of Financial Aid Available

Merit Scholarships

Occidental offers a limited number of merit scholarships at the time of admission. Merit scholarships are based on academic ability, achievement, motivation, and promise. Recipients are selected by the Office of Admission at the time of admission and renewal is based on your cumulative grade point average (GPA). Merit scholarships are pro-rated if you do not attend for the entire academic year, are enrolled less than full-time (fewer than 12 units), or cease enrollment. Merit scholarships for transfer students are pro-rated based upon the grade level determined at the time of admission. Students enrolled in fewer than 6 units are not eligible for merit scholarships.


Need-based Grants

The Federal Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) are federal programs for which the Office of Financial Aid determines your eligibility. If you are eligible, your financial aid offer will list the type and amount of your academic year’s federal grant(s).


The Cal Grant is a grant program for qualified California residents attending college in their home state. Offered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), Cal Grant A or Cal Grant B will be reflected on your financial aid offer but may initially be included in your need-based Oxy Grant total. Cal Grant recipients must take a minimum of 16 units per semester in order to graduate in four years; eligibility is prorated for transfer students based on their grade level at the time of admission and any previously received Cal Grant funds. More information on eligibility and renewal criteria can be found at www.csac.ca.gov.


Occidental College need-based Grants, which includes institutional donor-named and donor-funded grants, are offered to qualified students from the College’s own funds. To be eligible, students must be enrolled full-time (grants may be prorated for enrollment in at least 6 units) and maintain satisfactory academic progress as outlined later in this section.


Need-based grants are provided through the generosity of individual donors, private corporations and agencies, alumni gifts, and other College resources. During the academic year, the College may notify you that your general need-based grant comes from a specific donor. This does not mean you have been awarded additional grant funds but that a specific donor has made your need-based grant possible. Donors to Occidental College want to hear from the students they support. Therefore, you may be asked to write a thank you letter to a specific donor, and attend a donor event, during the academic year in which they receive the grant. Because of the importance attached to these acknowledgements, a hold may be placed on the disbursement of your grant, or your grant may be canceled, if a requested thank you letter is not received in a timely manner.


Student Loans

Student loans are available and can be either need-based or non-need-based. “Subsidized” student loans do not accrue interest while students are in school, in a grace period or in deferment. The federal government pays the interest on the borrower’s behalf during these periods in the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan program. The federal government does not pay the interest at any time for students receiving “unsubsidized” student loans. Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans are available to eligible students who complete a FAFSA.


Occidental College has two subsidized student loan programs available: the Occidental College Low-Interest Loan and the Occidental College No-Interest Loan. Details on the interest rates and grace periods are available in the promissory notes and disclosure statements for each loan but can also be found on the Office of Financial Aid’s website.


Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

The Federal Direct PLUS Loan program is designed to provide long-term competitive-rate financing to credit-worthy parents of dependent students. A Federal Direct PLUS Loan annual amount may not exceed the student’s cost of attendance less any other financial aid the student is eligible to receive for the year. The interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan but is determined annually.


Private Educational Loans

Private educational loans, also called alternative loans, are available for both students and parents. These loans are designed to supplement federal, state and institutional aid. Borrowers must be creditworthy and may be asked for a co-signer for approval or to receive a more competitive interest rate. A private educational loan annual amount may not exceed the student’s cost of attendance less any other financial aid the student is eligible to receive for the year.


Campus Employment

Part-time, on-campus employment is supported by the Federal Work Study (FWS) and the Occidental Work Award (OWA) programs. The amount indicated on your financial aid offer is the maximum amount that you are eligible to earn during the academic year under the program. Students will receive a monthly automated email notifying them of their year-to-date earnings. They will receive a similar email when they are close to exhausting their award. For more information, please refer to the Office of Financial Aid’s Policy Guide.