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Financial Aid and Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) FAQs

As voted in by students and passed by the UC Regents, the University requires that all students have major medical insurance, and provides the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) to meet this requirement. Students are automatically enrolled in SHIP and the premium is charged on the Cal Central account.

Students can choose to keep SHIP or waive enrollment if they have comparable coverage that meets the University's criteria. Note: While all students are eligible to use services at the campus health center, the Tang Center will only accept SHIP insurance.

As part of the waiver decision making process, students should consider how maintaining and/or waiving out of SHIP can impact their financial aid offer. The information below will assist students and families in understanding how being granted a SHIP waiver and/or keeping the SHIP coverage may impact the financial aid budget and awards. Note: These are general guidelines and may not apply to all students or in all cases.

Independent Students

All graduate and undergraduate independent students, as defined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or the California Dream Act Application, have the cost of health insurance in their standard Cost of Attendance (COA). This expense remains in an independent student’s COA regardless of being granted a SHIP waiver. Financial aid, including outside resources, are available to meet all expenses in the COA.

Q: Will my aid change if I waive out of SHIP?

A: Being granted a SHIP waiver will not result in a change in an independent student’s financial aid package or COA.

Q: I initially waived SHIP but I am going to submit a waiver reversal to enroll in SHIP. How will this impact my financial aid?

A: Because an independent student’s standard COA includes the cost of health insurance, waiving and/or re-enrolling in SHIP at a later date will not result in any decreases or increases in an independent student’s financial aid package.

Q: I am receiving an outside and/or departmental resource to pay for my SHIP coverage. How will this impact my current aid package?

A: Students must report all outside resources, including departmental awards and outside agency awards, to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. These awards, including funds provided for SHIP, are considered a resource and must be incorporated into the financial aid package. This may cause a change to your awards as the total of all financial aid awards cannot exceed a student's COA. 

Dependent students

All dependent students will have the cost of health insurance included in the Cost of Attendance (COA) prior to the start of the semester, approximately August 15 for Fall 2017 and January 12 for Spring 2018. University Health Services (UHS) provides updated information  to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office prior to the start of each semester to determine which students have enrolled in SHIP and which have been granted a SHIP waiver. Based on the information provided by UHS, financial aid awards will be adjusted accordingly: increased financial aid to cover the expense for those that remain on SHIP or the addition of a fee waiver for those who waive out of SHIP. 

Q: I want to waive out of SHIP. How will my aid change if I waive out of SHIP?

A: The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office will adjust your COA to include the cost of SHIP and add a fee waiver to your financial aid package which will apply to the SHIP charge on your student billing account. 

The timing of the waiver can impact your awards and the activity on your billing account. If you are granted a SHIP waiver prior to your aid disbursing, you will not be awarded any additional financial aid. If you are granted a SHIP waiver after your aid has disbursed, your awards may be reduced to account for the SHIP waiver. This can result in adjustments on your student billing account. 

Q: How will my financial aid change if I decide to enroll in SHIP and/or if my waiver request is denied?

A: Maintaining SHIP will result in additional financial aid, although the type of aid awarded to cover the cost of SHIP can vary from student to student. For example:

  • Dependent students awarded only loan and/or work-study will likely receive additional loan and/or work to cover the cost of SHIP, if eligible.

  • Dependent students with specific types of grants or scholarships, like Freshman Scholarship, Transfer Scholarship, Berkeley Scholarship, Fiat Lux, or Undergraduate Grant will likely receive additional grant or scholarship funding to assist with the SHIP expense.

  • Dependent students with conditional financial aid awards may see adjustments to conditional aid packages aligned with their choice to enroll in or waive SHIP, but they will need to complete all requirements for these adjustments to become part of an official financial aid award letter. Conditional offers are estimates of financial aid eligibility and are subject to change. 

Q: I initially waived SHIP but I am going to submit a waiver reversal to enroll in SHIP. How will this impact my financial aid?

A: The timing of the reversal is important in determining how your aid may be impacted. We encourage you to stop into Cal Student Central and request to talk with a financial aid counselor. We will evaluate your eligibility for additional funding to assist you with SHIP. 

Q: I am receiving an outside and/or departmental resource to pay for my SHIP coverage. How will this impact my current aid package?

A: Students must report all outside resources, including departmental awards and outside agency awards, to the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. These awards, including funds provided for SHIP, are considered a resource and must be incorporated into the financial aid package. This may cause a change to your awards as the total of all financial aid awards cannot exceed a student's COA. 

Please Note: UC Berkeley reserves the right to adjust awards to correct any awarding errors. Changes to qualifying information or revisions of federal, state or institutional policy may result in updates to aid eligibility and adjustments of financial aid awards. Information is subject to change.