An overaward occurs when the total of all aid received by the student exceeds the student's cost of attendance budget, thereby requiring the financial aid office to reduce or cancel awards in the student’s financial aid package.

Any overaward that exceeds the cost of attendance beyond the federally allowable tolerance of $300 will require the financial aid office to reduce awards. 

Cuesta College will not reduce or cancel Pell Grant or Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) awards to eliminate an overaward situation.  In most cases, we will accommodate an additional award by reducing or cancelling student loans and/or federal work-study awards.

These overaward provisions pertain to students who receive funds under any of the following need-based programs:

Federal Pell Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Federal Work-Study
Federal Subsidized Loan (FFEL or Direct)
Cal Grant



An overpayment occurs when a student is paid more than that for which they are eligible.  If a financial aid overpayment is made as a result of a student’s error or failure to report requested information, the student is responsible for repaying the amount of the overpayment. The Financial Aid Office may reduce the student’s federal award(s) in a subsequent enrollment period during the same award year the overpayment occurred.  If the overpayment amount cannot be satisfied by deducting the amount from a future disbursement, the student is responsible for making direct restitution.

As required by federal regulations, the Financial Aid Office will report the overpayment to the Department of Education via the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) within 30 days from the date when the overpayment was created. Indication of an outstanding overpayment will be recorded on future output documents generated by the Department of Education, and may prevent the student from receiving certain types of financial aid funding.

Some items to note:

  • If you have a grant overpayment of $50.00 or less, you do not have to repay the funds and the overpayment will not be reported to NSLDS. This amount is program specific, not cumulative: if you had to return $150.00 in Pell funds and $40.00 in FSEOG, you would have to return the $150.00 but not the $40.00.