August 10, 2021 - 10 tips to get ready for fall semester

This is the first in our Back-to-School series. Stay tuned for a message about health and safety actions and a special Back-to-School Berkeley Life Roundup. 


Dear undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students,

Welcome back! We’re excited to start a new year with our amazing learning community. To help you start the semester smoothly, here are a few tips: 

  1. Review and complete all outstanding tasks in CalCentral.

  2. Financial aid begins disbursing on August 16. Ensure you receive your aid on time: complete your tasks in CalCentral, resolve any holds, and make sure you are enrolled in a minimum of 6 units. Estimate your balance due or expected refund and create a spending plan

    • University Village Albany residents who may be experiencing holds are encouraged to read our FAQs.

  3. Get your money faster. Sign up for direct deposit and update your US bank account information. Learn how easy it is

    • Need a paper check? Paper refund checks are mailed to your local address within 10 business days. 

    • Be sure to keep your local address current in CalCentral

  4. If you choose, grant your parents/guardians or partner delegate access to certain parts of your student account. Make sure they have their code phrase to view your financial information in CalCentral, pay bills, or speak to Cal Student Central. Without delegate access, we will not be able to talk to your parents/guardians or partner.

  5. Do your actual living expenses (i.e., housing, books, health insurance) differ from your Estimated Cost of Attendance? Request a cost of attendance adjustment when the form opens on August 25. 

  6. Have you or your family/support network experienced a loss of income as a result of COVID-19? If so, learn if an Expected Family Contribution Appeal may be the right step for you.

  7. Make sure you are officially registered. This means you have done three things:
    1) enrolled in at least one class; 2) paid 20 percent of tuition and fees (even if not yet due) by August 20; and 3) have no holds against your registration. 

    • August 24 - Deadline to withdraw for Fall 2021 or you will be subject to the prorated penalties.

    • Note: If you do not intend to enroll in Fall 2021, you must proactively withdraw by August 24 to avoid financial penalty. New students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission to discuss the possibility of deferring prior to withdrawing.

    • Late enroll, drop, and add fees: To avoid future late fees, pay tuition and fees in full, enroll and make a payment on the Fee Payment Plan, or apply for a Fall 2021 co-payable emergency loan (available August 18). Get more information on late payment penalties.

    • As a reminder, the Cancel for Non-Payment (CNP) policy has been suspended for the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters. 

  8. Need to speak with someone about financial aid, billing and payments, enrollment or transcripts? Cal Student Central will offer online and phone advising, and limited in-person services for financial aid, registration, and billing inquiries. For more information, including hours of operation, please visit the Services & Areas of Support page. For other questions, please reach out to the applicable offices: 

  9. Ask the new chatbot your questions 24/7/365. Get your financial aid, registration, billing, payment, and rec sports questions answered through text and video in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese. It’s as easy as visiting the Cal Student Central, Financial Aid and Scholarships, Office of the Registrar, and Berkeley Rec Sports websites.

  10. Pick up your Cal 1 Card. It is your campus ID card allowing access to buildings, debit accounts, meal plans, and university services.  

    • Current First-Year and Transfer Students - Living on Campus: you will receive your card at move-in.

    • Current First-Year and Transfer Students - Not Living on Campus: pick up your card at Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) check-in, August 16-18.

    • Fall 2020/Spring 2021 First-Year and Transfer Students: If you were unable to get your card last year due to COVID, please pick yours up at the tabling event 1-3 p.m., August 23-27 on Lower Sproul Plaza. Visit the Cal 1 Card website for more details. 


Have a wonderful semester and Go Bears!


Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs


This message was sent to all undergraduate and graduate students.