Occupational Therapy Financial Aid & Scholarships

Scholarships for Occupational Therapy Schools California

Investing in your Future

Your education at Samuel Merritt University is an investment in you and in your future.  Not only will you have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in health care, but Samuel Merritt University graduates have a loan default rate of less than one percent.  This means that students who borrowed to attend Samuel Merritt University have found employment in their chosen field that allows them to pay off their loans. 

The Financial Aid Office at Samuel Merritt University has helped thousands of students afford their education.  We are here to help you through the financial aid process and make your academic dreams come true.

Please review the following tabs for more information.


Almost any student who needs financial assistance to attend Samuel Merritt University may be eligible to receive financial aid.  Some of the requirements for aid are:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen to apply for federal, state and institutional aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. 
  • You must be enrolled at least halftime and seeking a degree.
  • You must not be in default on any federal aid.
  • You must be registered with the Selective Service if you are male, at least 18 years old, and were born after December 31, 1959 – unless you meet certain specified exceptions.
  • You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress while enrolled.

Your Financial Aid Package:  Budgets and Cost of Attendance

Your Financial Aid Package at Samuel Merritt University is personalized to you.  We develop your financial aid package using guidelines set by the Department of Education and the estimated costs of each program.
In addition to the cost of tuition, books and fees, financial aid can also cover other educational costs, so the total cost of attendance includes:

  • Books and Supplies
  • Room and Board
  • Transportation
  • Personal Expenses
  • Other fees as determined by program/college
  • Loan Origination Fees

The estimated cost of tuition for Occupational Therapy for the 2015/16 academic year is $44,669.  The Cost of Attendance below includes all anticipated costs to attend our University.   These costs are estimated and each student has their specific financial needs.  Financial aid counselors are available to assist you with budgeting. 



Student Body Fee


Lab Fees


Background Check




Drug Screen


Loan Fees


Physical Exam


Health Insurance/ Medical Expenses


Computer cost


















Once you receive your financial aid package, you will check this budget against your actual living expenses and we can make necessary adjustments to meet your needs.

Types of Financial Aid

Scholarships and Grants

These are “gift aid” and do not need to be repaid.  These can come from the government, private groups and directly from Samuel Merritt University.

In the academic year 2014/2015, Samuel Merritt University awarded over $792,000 in scholarships to students.  Scholarships for Occupational Therapy include:

  • Sharon Clark Diaz
  • Employee Campaign
  • Marshall Steele, Jr.
  • Hitchcock Heydman
  • Henry & Bernice Bigge
  • Faculty Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship
  • Elks of the Year
  • William Breslin

These need to be repaid and could include a combination of several types of loans from federal and private sources depending upon the program you are in, your year in school, and other education loans you have.  

Direct Loans- Graduate and undergraduate students may be eligible to apply for the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan).  Loan terms are set by the federal government.  This is money that must be repaid, and payments do not begin until six months after you graduate. 

    • Direct Subsidized Loans   No interest accrues on these loans while you are enrolled at least half  time, but you are responsible for the interest accrued during the six month grace period after you graduate.Eligibility is based on FAFSA results and this loan is for undergraduate students only.
    • Direct Unsubsidized Loans.  These loans are not need-based. Loan amounts vary based on your program.  Interest accrues on this loan while you are in school.  The current interest rate is 6.8% fixed.


Graduate PLUS Loan- This loan for graduate students is part of the Federal Direct Loan Program, so the loan terms are set by the federal government.  The fixed interest rate is 7.9%.  The Direct Graduate PLUS Loan can be used to cover educational expenses, including living expenses, which are not covered by Direct Unsubsidized Loans.  Interest accrues on this loan while you are in school.  The repayment period for a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan begins at the time the GRAD PLUS loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement. However, you may defer repayment while you are enrolled at least half time.  

Alternative Loans-Credit-worthy students can apply for alternative loans, also called private loans.  These loans are not guaranteed by the federal government.  Interest rates are dependent on borrower credit, cosigner’s credit and lender. Should you choose to pursue a private loan, you will apply with a lender of your choice.  For a list of lenders and further details, please refer to www.elmselect.com. Note: Your choice of lender is not restricted to the lenders on this list.  Samuel Merritt University is providing this list as a possible resource.


Applying for Financial Aid

FAFSA: All prospective and current students wishing to apply for financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students can complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and use the Samuel Merritt University school code of 00701200. If you have already completed your FAFSA you can check the status by going on-line to www.fafsa.ed.gov or call the U.S. Department of Education at 1.800.4.FEDAID.
CREATE A BUDGET:  A student’s financial aid package begins with the cost of attendance.  The cost of attendance is the sum of all the costs related to your attendance at Samuel Merritt University.  Included are tuition, fees, room, board, transportation, health insurance and personal expenses related to educational expenses.  Prior to accepting any financial aid, it is important to create a budget of reasonable expenses. This should include all the items listed in the cost of attendance, as well as any other expenses for which you are obligated.

FINANCIAL AID AWARD PACKET: Approximately two weeks after completion of your FAFSA, the results will be sent to the Financial Aid office at Samuel Merritt University. You will be sent an email when your financial aid award is ready for viewing on via the Financial Aid Portal.  Students should log into the Financial Aid Portal via SMU Total Access and look for the ‘Financial Aid Portal’ icon  in the My Finances quick launch menu to access their current financial aid awards.

In the Financial Aid Portal, students can:

  • View award letter
  • Accept/Decline awards
  • Reduce loans
  • Print forms to submit to the financial aid office
  • View disbursement information

COMPLETE ENTRANCE LOAN COUNSELING: Student accepting and Direct Loans must complete Entrance Loan Counseling. To complete the entrance counseling on-line, please go to www.studentloans.gov and log-in with your FAFSA Pin number to proceed. This is valuable information about your student loan and it will quiz you on your understanding of the Direct Loan program. Once you have completed the Entrance Loan Counseling, Samuel Merritt University will be informed and you will have met this requirement.
COMPLETE MASTER PROMISSORY NOTE: Go to www.studentloans.gov and complete the Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford AND Graduate Plus Master Promissory Notes. Upon arriving at the website, click on the green "sign in" button. Have your FAFSA Pin number available, you will need this to proceed. If you are apply for Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Parent Plus Loan and Graduate Plus Loan.  You will need to complete a separate promissory note for each loan.


Contact us

We realize that the financial aid process can be difficult and overwhelming.  We are here to help.  Financial Aid staff can assist with budgeting, understanding your awards and understanding the process.  The SMU staff is committed to each and every prospective student and enrolled student.  We have an open door policy and are available via phone or email.

Financial Aid Office:
3100 Telegraph Avenue
Suite 1110
Oakland, CA 94609
Phone 510.869.1590
Fax 510.869.1529

Campus Service Center:
3100 Telegraph Avenue
Suite 1000
Oakland, CA 94609
Phone 510.869.1550
Fax 510.869.1551

Hours of Operation
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (M-F)
or by appointment call 510.869.1550

Request more information

Vestibulum id ligula porta felis euismod semper. Nullam id dolor id nibh ultricies vehicula ut id elit. Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis. Donec sed odio dui.