Federal Work-Study Program/Student Employment

SFCM offers Federal Work Study (FWS) and student employment opportunities on campus to help with our students' living expenses. To be considered for FWS, students must complete the FAFSA. Once you are awarded FWS, please contact Human Resources for assistance in finding positions available on campus and application forms. Please keep in mind that FWS funds will not be credited directly towards tuition, but students will be paid through payroll.

All new and returning students seeking employment are also encouraged to attend the On-Campus Job Fair, which takes place during the first week of classes. When attending the Job Fair, please remember to bring multiple copies of both your resume and your cover letter.

For more information about student employment at the Conservatory, please feel free to contact Michael Patterson, Human Resources Manager at 415-503-6237 or mpatterson@sfcm.edu.

Need-Based Federal Assistance

Federal student assistance is available to students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Federal student assistance can be used for educational expenses, including tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation and personal expenses. The FAFSA form is used to determine eligibility.

  • 2011-2012 Financial Aid Forms

Pell Grants
Pell Grants are awarded to students with very low family contributions (high-need), the maximum Pell Grant for the 2016-2017 academic year is $5,815. The amount of Pell Grant you are awarded is also based on your enrollment status (full-time, part-time). If you change your expected enrollment from what you put on your FAFSA, your Pell award will be adjusted. You may be eligible for Pell if you are enrolled less than half time.

Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
Eligibility requirements for this grant are as follows: First, the student must be a Federal Pell Grant recipient for the same payment period or award year. Second, the student must have completed a rigorous secondary school program of study and must currently be enrolled as a full-time student.

Supplemental Educational Grants
FSEOG is awarded to high-need students who attend at least half time and have also received a Pell Grant.

Federal Work-Study Program
If you are awarded Federal Work-Study and need assistance in locating a campus job, you should contact the Human Resources office. You will receive a paycheck twice a month, provided that you have worked during the period and turned in a time sheet.

Federal Perkins Loan
The Federal Perkins Loan is a pool of funds originating from the federal government, the Conservatory and the repayment of prior loans by alumni. When you are enrolled at least half time, no interest accrues. Nine months after you graduate or cease to be enrolled at least half time, interest accrues at a rate of 5% with required minimum monthly payments and maximum repayment of ten years. If you are receiving a Perkins award, please complete and sign a separate promissory note and return it with your award letter. Perkins Loans are credited to your account as soon as the promissory note is completed and signed.


The Conservatory uses the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. The Federal Direct Loan (DL) program is one of the Federal Stafford Loan programs. The direct type of loan was created by the federal government to help finance all or part of educational costs. The loans are certified by the Conservatory and funded directly by the U.S. Department of Education. The interest rate for new subsidized or unsubsidized loans for undergraduate students is fixed at 4.29%, and 5.84% for unsubsidized graduate student loans. The interest rate for Graduate PLUS or Parent PLUS Loans is 6.84%. All students need to carefully consider potential debt before accepting loans.

Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans are based on financial need, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and the Cost of Attendance (COA) at the Conservatory. The federal government pays the interest on these loans while the student is in school and for the first six months after the student leaves school or drops below half-time enrollment. After this six-month grace period, the student is required to make payments on the loan including interest.

All new Federal Direct Loan borrowers are required to complete the Entrance Counseling online at: www.studentloans.gov before receiving their first loan disbursement. Complete the Entrance Counseling as early as possible to avoid funding delays. The proof of completion form is for your records, the Conservatory will electronically receive notification.

The loan funds cannot be transmitted until the MPN and Entrance Counseling are completed. When the DL program receives the MPN, and you have completed the loan entrance counseling, the loan funds will be electronically transmitted to the Conservatory in your student billing account. Please note that money in excess of total charges will be reimbursed on registration day, and that all borrowers receive a disclosure statement when you sign your MPN; you are also sent a letter in your student mailbox at the time of disbursement to remind you of your right to cancel this loan.

The Direct Loan program will charge a 1.068% origination fee Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans.

For more information on the Federal Direct Loan program (both subsidized and unsubsidized loans), please read the Direct Loan student basics brochure here. For additional information and and calculators please visit www.studentloans.gov.

The Federal Direct Parent PLUS
The Federal Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) helps parents of dependent students pay college expenses. Parents may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus any financial aid received by the student. The interest rate for new loans is fixed at 6.84%. There will be a 4.272% origination fee on this loan. Payments on this loan begin immediately. If you are interested in borrowing the PLUS, the PLUS award must be accepted on the student's financial aid awards. One parent must also complete the PLUS request form. The Financial Aid Office will transmit the credit check request beginning in July. Once the PLUS is approved, the parent must sign the PLUS master promissory note which can be found at www.studentloans.gov.

To qualify for a PLUS, a parent must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen, have a valid Social Security number and a favorable credit history. Parents with an adverse credit history may still be able to borrow a PLUS loan with a co-endorser. Dependent students whose parents have been denied a PLUS loan may apply for an additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan, please contact the Financial Aid Office. For more information on the Direct PLUS program, please read the Direct Loan PLUS program basics brochure at: www.studentloans.gov.

A complete listing of your rights and responsibilities as a Direct PLUS borrower is available at: www.studentloans.gov.

Federal Direct GRAD PLUS Loan
A federally insured, credit-based educational loan similar to the Federal Parent PLUS Loan program. The Grad PLUS Loan helps graduate students with loan assistance beyond the Federal Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized loan program. Graduate students may borrow up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus financial aid received. The Grad PLUS loan has a 6.84% fixed rate, a higher rate than the Direct student loans. Eligibility requires you to pass a financial credit review. It has more advantageous benefits than most alternative or private loan options. We encourage you to first use your annual Federal Direct eligibility before borrowing through the Grad PLUS program. If you wish to borrow through the Grad PLUS program, accept the Grad PLUS loan on your award letter, complete the Grad PLUS application and return all forms to the Conservatory Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will transmit the credit check request beginning in July.

For more information on the Direct Grad PLUS program, please read the brochure at: www.studentloans.gov.

Private (Alternative) Loans for Education
A private alternative loan is a non-federal education loan, through a private lender, typically in the student's name and requiring a co-signer. Approval and interest rates are based on the creditworthiness of the borrower and co-signer. Each alternative lender has different eligibility requirements, loan rates, terms and conditions.

Exhaust Federal Student Aid Options First
Students who are eligible for federal student aid should complete the FAFSA and exhaust all federal and state options, including federal loans, before applying for a private alternative loan. Federal student loans generally have more favorable terms and conditions than private loans. We recommend that you utilize all federal loan eligibility prior to turning to a private loan.

Be Sure To Plan Ahead
Recent amendments to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) require that you complete a self-certification form and submit it to your lender for each alternative loan you apply for. If your lender does not provide you with the form, print the Private Loan Self-Certification Form and refer to your award letter to obtain your cost of attendance and your estimated financial assistance for the period of enrollment covered by the loan. Return the self-certification form to your lender upon completion. TILA also requires lenders to provide you with three disclosures: 1) upon your application, 2) when you are approved and 3) at least three days prior to disbursement. Timing of the last disclosure may delay loan disbursements by an additional one to two weeks. Please plan accordingly.

Do Your Research

  • Compare the Federal Direct PLUS Loan to alternative loans.
  • Ask questions of your lender.
  • Borrow only what you absolutely need.
  • Calculate your estimated monthly payment and total repayment amount.

An alternative loan is an agreement between the borrower, co-signer (if required) and the lender. The Conservatory cannot in any way be held liable in the event the borrower is dissatisfied with the rates, terms or service provided by any lender, nor is the Conservatory responsible for any damages incurred by the student as a result of the student's choice of lender. Apply for your alternative loan within 90 days of the beginning of the semester so your lender's credit does not expire. You have the right to select the alternative lender of your choice.

Rights and Responsibilities

  • All students applying for financial aid should be aware of these rights and obligations:Students have the right to receive full information about the financial aid programs available, how to apply for aid and the process by which aid is awarded.
  • Students have the right to know the costs of attendance, the tuition refund policy of the Conservatory, its academic program, faculty and physical facilities.
  • Students have the right to discuss their financial aid eligibility, award or cancellation with the Financial Aid Office. Students have the right to appeal the financial aid decision.
  • Students who borrow money have the right to know what their loan obligations are.
  • Students are responsible for applying annually for financial aid.
  • Students are responsible for telling the truth in their application for financial aid. Misrepresentation is considered a serious infraction and may result in withdrawal of aid, repayment of all funds already disbursed, permanent disqualification in the future, fine and/or imprisonment.
  • Students are responsible for understanding their loan obligation(s) and for repaying their loan(s) promptly.
  • Students on federal financial aid are required to make satisfactory academic progress as defined below in step 6.
  • Federal financial aid funds may be used only to meet educational costs. Any other use of funds is prohibited by law. Students must notify the Financial Aid Office of their acceptance of awards by signing the financial aid award and acceptance letter.
  • Students are responsible for meeting all deadline requirements and for submitting all documentation requested by the Office of Financial Aid.

Accepting and Maintaining your Award
After you have been accepted, the following steps need to be taken to accept your award:

  1. Complete and return your award letter. Each accepted student is sent a financial aid packet which includes two copies of your award letter. You must complete and return one copy to the Financial Aid Office and retain the other copy for your records. Please Accept or Decline awards by circling where appropriate. If you wish to lower the amount, please write in the new amount as clearly as possible in this area. Be sure to sign the bottom of the acceptance letter, and return immediately to the financial aid office.
  2. For loans, please see above.
  3. Register at least half time at the Conservatory. To be eligible for financial aid, you must first be accepted in a degree program and enrolled at least half time. If you indicated that you would attend the Conservatory full time on your FAFSA and only enroll half time, your award will be adjusted accordingly. Please notify the Financial Aid Office if you are enrolling for more or less units than previously indicated.
  4. Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress. In the Financial Aid Office, we must enforce standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress. We do this because it is a United States Department of Education requirement that qualitative and quantitative standards are kept. Here is a list of the requirements to receive federally regulated funds:
    • You must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average.
    • You must complete 80% of units attempted.
    • You must complete your degree with 125% of the time frame required for the degree.
    • You must maintain at least a half-time status each semester.
    • You must be enrolled in graded, degree credit courses to be considered for financial aid.
    • You must be admitted to the Conservatory and accepted in a degree or eligible certificate-producing program.
    • If you do not maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average or complete at least 80% of the units you attempt, you will be placed on financial aid probation. Financial aid probation means that if you do not keep your 2.0 GPA and complete 80% of your units attempted in one term, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid. You may become eligible again when you bring up your GPA and your completion rate.
    • If you have not received your degree within 125% of the time frame required for the degree, you will have to complete your degree without financial aid.
    • If you are not registered at least halftime, you will not receive either Stafford or Perkins loans. You may, however, be eligible for higher interest rate private loans.
    • In rare instances, exceptions may be made to the Satisfactory Academic Policy, but only if you provide a written petition detailing the exceptional, unavoidable circumstances which led to the probation, information on your ability to continue your program, and supporting specific documentation.

Veterans and Eligible Dependents of Veterans
Veterans and their eligible dependents should contact their local Veterans Administration for information about benefits available for attendance at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Office of Financial Aid
San Francisco, CA 94102-6011

Reading and Math Tutors

As part of the San Francisco School Volunteers program, the Conservatory places a number of students in various schools throughout the area to tutor in reading or math. As part of this program, SFCM students are paid by the Conservatory on an hourly basis for this volunteer work. For more information about this program and how to apply, please visit the San Francisco School Volunteers site, or contact the Financial Aid Office.

For current student volunteers: Time cards are available here.