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Fees and Payment FAQs

Spring 2019

General Tuition and Fee questions

What are the current tuition and fees?

Current tuition and fee information can be found online.

How are non-resident fees assessed?

Non-resident tuition is assessed for non-resident students (out-of-state and foreign VISA students) in addition to mandatory campus fees.  Authority for this fee may be found in the Education Code, Section 89705.  Non-Resident tuition is charged on a per-unit basis (currently $396 per unit).  For fee-assessment purposes, zero-unit courses are counted as one unit.  In addition to the non-resident tuition fee, out-of-state students are also required to pay all tuition and mandatory fees that resident students pay, in accordance with published payment deadlines.

What if I decide not to attend?  How are my fees impacted?

Any student who decides not to attend must officially withdraw from the University for the term.  You must drop all of your classes by 11:59PM the day prior to the start of the term to avoid potentially owing a debt to the university.

Can I appeal fees?

An appeals process exists for students who believe that individual circumstances warrant exceptions from published policy.  Students can file a University Fee Appeal, or visit the Cashier’s Office located in Cougar Central (CRAVEN 3800).

Petitions for refunds outside the scope of published policy are approved only when applicants can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, and the Chief Financial Officer or designee determines that the tuition and fees were not earned by the University.

Does Extended Learning have different fees and deadlines?

Please refer to Extended Learning’s website for all fee, deadlines, and refund policies.

Financial Aid, Payments, and Due Dates

How do I pay my tuition and/or fees?

Payments can be made online via your Student Center at MyCSUSM or in-person at the Cashier’s Office in Cougar Central (CRAVEN 3800).  Additional details can be found on the tuition page.

If I qualify for financial aid, how and when will I receive it?

If you are deemed eligible, all forms of financial aid (including student loans) are credited to your CSUSM student account to cover the cost of tuition and/or mandatory campus fees.  Per federal regulations, the earliest funds can be credited to your account is no sooner than ten (10) days prior to the start of the term.

What fees will financial aid not pay?

Financial aid awards do not pay user fees such as parking fees, late fees, or fines.

What are the enrollment requirements for financial aid eligibility?

Undergraduate students receiving student loan funds must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) units at the time funds are paid to be eligible for disbursement.  Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of five (5) units.

What if financial aid does not cover all fees?

If financial aid does not cover the full cost of fees, students are responsible for the balance owed.  Payments can be made online or at Cougar Central. 

What if my financial aid is more than what I owe?

If the amount of financial aid credited to your student account is greater than what is owed, you will receive a refund for the difference.  Refunds are processed within 10 days after the funds are applied to your student account.  It is highly recommended that all students sign up for direct-deposit for the quickest way to receive refunds.

It appears my financial aid will disburse after the fees due-date, will my classes be dropped for non-payment?

Meeting all of the criteria below will exempt you from having your classes dropped due to non-payment:

  • You have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and all required documents
  • You have been awarded for the 2018/2019 aid year and have received an official notice of eligibility from the Financial Aid and Scholarships office
  • You meet SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress)
  • You have a “Financial Aid Applicant” indicator in your Student Center

Important:  Being exempt from having classes dropped does not negate your responsibility for paying any balance still owed after aid is disbursed (nor does it change your due-date).  If a balance is still owed after the add/drop deadline, your account will be considered past-due, and subject to late fees and having a hold placed on your account which will prevent any further registration.

How will I know for sure that I’m exempt from having my classes dropped?

By virtue of having an indicator titled “Financial Aid Applicant”.  You can confirm this by checking your “Holds” section of your Student Center.  Be sure to click on the details link to confirm which term.  You should also receive a communication that confirms your exemption.

Why am I being allowed to be exempt from having my classes dropped?

Since aid is typically disbursed after the fees due-date, the exemption allows financial aid students to register for classes, and exempt them from having classes dropped while waiting for aid to disburse.  While the exemption does allow for this, you are still responsible for payment of any balance owed to the university after aid has been disbursed.  If a balance exists after aid is disbursed, please arrange for payment prior to the add/drop deadline to avoid having your account be past-due and potential for late fees, holds, and collection agency proceedings.

What if I have applied for financial aid, but don’t have an exemption?

Students who have applied for financial aid, but do not show an exemption in their Student Center (example: students who apply for aid within 10 days of the fees due date), must pay any balance owed in full by the appropriate deadline to avoid having all of their classes dropped.  In the event that a student who has paid fees and later becomes eligible for financial aid, a refund will be processed.  It is highly recommended that all students sign up for direct-deposit for the quickest way to receive refunds.

I’m not receiving financial aid, any chance I might be exempt from having my classes dropped?

You may be exempt if you are a student that has federal or state authorized tuition assistance.  Other acceptable exemptions are limited, but may include:  CSU dependent or employee waiver, Department of Rehabilitation, military tuition assistance, US Department of Labor, Veterans Affairs fee waiver, and Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation. 

Will I have to make a payment if I am exempt from having classes dropped?

You are responsible for any balance owed to the university.  Exemptions may be removed if a student is determined to be ineligible for aid.  Make sure you complete and submit all required documentation in a timely fashion to ensure disbursement of your aid and stay up to date with your financial aid status in your Student Center.  Students whose financial aid awards do not cover the tuition and fees in full for a term are responsible for paying the remaining balance. Outstanding balances that remain after the add/drop deadline will be considered past-due, and subject to late fees, holds, and collection proceedings.

Are payment plans available?

CSUSM is pleased to offer students and families interest-free installment payment plans.  There is a non-refundable $25 service fee for each term a payment plan is utilized.  Installment payment plans are made up of a down payment (mandatory campus fees) and three installments (tuition and course/class fees). Learn more about installment payment plans.

What if I fail to pay my tuition and/or fees?

If all fees and tuition are not paid in full by the published due-dates, you risk having all of your classes dropped (unless you are exempt).  Failure to drop all classes by 11:59pm prior to the term start may result in owing a debt to the university.  Having a past-due balance to the university may result in having a hold on your account, incurring late fees, and collection agency proceedings.

What if I make a payment that is returned for insufficient funds?

Writing a bad check is against the law.  California Civil Code, Chapter 522, Section 1719, allows recipients of bad checks to sue in small claims court for up to three times the amount of the check or $100, whichever is more, plus the face value of the check and all court costs.  Placing a stop payment, closing an account, or disputing a credit card charge does not release students from their financial obligation to the university, nor does it automatically withdraw them from enrollment.

A dishonored check or disputed credit card charge:

  • Will result in the university no longer accepting payment for any services by personal check
  • Will result in the student being required to make payments in the form of cash, money order, or Cashier’s check
  • Will result in a financial hold of the student’s records and denial of services until full payment is received
  • Will result in a $20 dishonored check/disputed credit card fee, plus a $15 administrative late fee
  • May result in a $15 administrative late fee if a dishonored item is not paid within seven (7) days
  • May result in having all of your classes dropped

What happens if I owe a debt to the university?

Should a student, or former student, fail to pay a debt owed to the university, the university may withhold permission to register, revoke eligibility to use facilities or various services until the debt is paid (see Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Sections 42380 and 42381).

For example, the university may withhold permission to send official transcripts of grades for any person owing a debt.

If a student believes that he or she does not owe all or part of an unpaid obligation to the university, the student should contact Student Financial Services at (760) 750-4490 or or in-person at the Cashier’s Office in Cougar Central (CRAVEN 3800).

NOTE: Extended Learning (EL) classes may have a different fee structure and drop/refund policies.


When are refunds processed?

The refund process begins after the add/drop period for students who have a credit balance on their student account.

How will I receive my refund?

For payment made by debit card, check, or cash, refunds are remitted back to the student via direct-deposit or check sent US Mail.  Check refunds may take up to 7-10 business days, depending upon the postal service.  It is highly recommended that all students sign up for direct-deposit for the quickest way to receive refunds (1-2 business days). 

For payment made via credit card, refunds are remitted back to the card used for the original transaction and may take 10-14 business days to appear on your credit card account.

If I receive a refund via US Mail, what address will it be sent to?

All refund checks are mailed to the “MAIL” address listed in your Student Center.  Please visit your Student Center to make sure your MAIL address is up-to-date and accurate. 

How is my refund impacted by cancellation or withdrawal?

To receive a full refund of tuition and fees, you must officially withdraw or drop all of your courses by 11:59pm the day prior to the start of the term.  Refer to CSUSM withdrawal policies as to how to officially withdraw and/or cancel registration.

Are there other circumstances where I may receive a full refund?

Students will receive a full refund of tuition and fees under the following circumstances:

  • The tuition and fees were assessed and/or collected in error
  • The course or program for which tuition and/or fees were assessed was cancelled by the university
  • The university made a delayed decision that the student was not eligible to enroll in the term for which tuition and fees were assessed and collected, and the delayed decision was not impacted by the student
  • The student was activated for compulsory military service

How is my refund calculated if I withdraw or cancel after the term starts?

Starting with the first day of the term, refunds for complete withdrawal or cancellation of registration will be prorated, based upon the date of withdrawal and the percentage of the period of enrollment completed.  Failure to withdraw prior to the first day of the term obligates the student to pay a portion of fees, including any tuition for the reservation of space in a class.

Prorated refunds will be processed for a student’s complete withdrawal up to the 60% point of a term.  A student who withdraws from the university after the 60% point in the academic term, or fails to officially withdraw from the campus shall not be entitled to any refund of tuition or fees.

Regulations governing the refund of mandatory fees, including nonresident tuition, are included in Section 41802 of Title 5, California Code of Regulations. For purposes of the refund policy, mandatory tuition fees are defined as those system wide fees and campus fees that are required to be paid in order to enroll in state-supported academic programs at the California State University.

Are there any fees for associated with a refund?

An administrative fee of $5.00 applies to all refunds.