Financial aid •

December 15, 2022

University of Central Florida financial aid: a complete guide

Read all about financial aid at the University of Central Florida, including scholarships, loans, and grants.

UCF financial aid

The University of Central Florida, founded in 1963, is a public college located in Orlando, Florida. Its original mission was to fuel the talent pipeline for the space program in the US. 

Since then, UCF has made a name for itself as one of the country's most innovative schools and best-value universities. 

If you’re considering applying to UCF but want to know how you can pay for your education, here’s what you need to know.

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A snapshot look at the University of Central Florida 

The University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 and is a metropolitan research university. The school aims to help solve tomorrow’s challenges through academic, inclusive, and operational excellence.

One of the school’s founding goals was to help provide talent for the United States’ growing space program, but it has since grown to enroll more than 61,000 undergraduate students in many disciplines. UCF students can select from 13 colleges and more than 230 degree programs. 

UCF includes multiple campuses and also offers online bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees, and certificate programs.

Outside of their classes, students can get involved with intercollegiate and intramural sports. The school competes in NCAA Division I and offers sports like baseball, basketball, cheerleading, soccer, and football. 

As a public school, UCF aims to keep costs low for students. It claims that more than 50% of its first-time-in-college students graduate with no college debt.

Ranking: 148 in National Universities

Size: 61,456

Demographics: 44% male, 56% female 

Tuition: $6,379 for in-state students, $22,478 for out-of-state students

Acceptance rate: 45%

Average GPA of accepted student: 4.25

Key dates and deadlines (2021):

Application: May 1

Financial aid deadlines: June 30

School details

A look at scholarships offered by the University of Central Florida 

One of the best ways for students to pay for their education is through scholarships. Unlike student loans, which you have to pay back, scholarships are simply free money that you can use to pay for school.

The UCF financial aid office offers information on how students can pay for college. They have a list of available scholarships, including state and federally-funded opportunities, UCF-specific scholarship programs, and private scholarships that students may be eligible for. 

You can also fill out the Access 2 Opportunities scholarship application, which will make you eligible for more than 200 scholarships at UCF!

As we mentioned earlier, UCF claims that more than half of its first-time-in-college students are able to graduate with no college debt, thanks to its generous student financial assistance. 

Outside of UCF, you can look for scholarships and grants offered by private organizations. Many local businesses and community groups have their own scholarships that students can apply for. There are scholarship opportunities for almost anything that you can think of! 

For more on which scholarships you can apply for and how Mos can help, check out our financial aid tips and tricks.

Student loans

There’s no hiding the fact that college is expensive. If you can’t afford to pay your tuition and living expenses out of savings and scholarship funds, your next best bet is to apply for student loans.


Borrowing money to pay for school is one way to invest in yourself. Just remember that you’ll have to pay back those loans, plus interest.

UCF has a webpage dedicated to student loan information. It describes the different loan programs that are available to students.

One of the best loan programs for students is the Federal Direct Loan Program, which is offered directly by the federal government. The loans in the program can be either subsidized or unsubsidized.

Subsidized loans do not build up interest while you’re still in school.

Unsubsidized loans start building up interest as soon as you get them. Both types of loans are eligible for federal loan programs like loan forgiveness and income-based repayment. 

If you don’t get enough federal loan aid to cover your college expenses, there are also private loan options. Many private lenders will give you a student loan to help pay for the cost of school.

The drawback of private loans is that they generally come with fewer perks than federal loans. For example, you usually have to start paying back federal loans right away. They also aren’t eligible for federal programs like income-based repayment or loan forgiveness. This can have a profound impact on the overall cost of the loan. 

In general, it’s better to max out your government loans before turning to private lenders.

For more on finding the right student loan for you, check and work with a human advisor that can help you find the best loans.


One of the most important things for students to do is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a universal application for student aid that is used by many federal, state, and school-based financial aid and grant programs.

When you fill out the FAFSA, you and your parents will have to provide some financial information, so make sure you set aside a bit of time for this. The information you’ll have to provide includes things like your family income and how much you’ve saved for school.

The government and UCF will use this information to determine how much need-based aid you’ll get. This will be based on your family’s expected family contribution (EFC) to the cost of your education.

The FAFSA process starts on October 1 for financial aid awarded in the next academic year. The form is open until the end of June of the year you actually attend school, so you can fill it out anytime up until then.

FAFSA dates

However, some aid programs award money on a first-come, first-served basis. That means you should fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible.

For more on applying for FAFSA, including important dates and how to make sure your application is successful, check out Mos.

University of Central Florida financial aid FAQs 

Let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about financial aid at UCF.

What is the University of Central Florida’s cost of attendance?

The University of Central Florida’s cost of attendance is $17,879 a year for in-state students. Of that amount, $5,954 is tuition. Out-of-state students pay extra tuition, which increases their cost of attendance to $33,978.  These costs are based on taking no more than 17 credit hours per semester.

UCF cost of attendance

How many students pay no tuition at UCF?

The University of Central Florida offers great financial aid programs. While it does not publish information about how many students receive aid that covers their full tuition, the school claims that more than 50% of first-time-in-college students graduate with no college debt!

Can out-of-state students receive financial aid?

Yes, all students who attend UCF are eligible to receive financial aid, whether they are in-state or non-Florida residents. However, out-of-state students won’t be eligible for some resident aid programs, like the Bright Futures Scholarship.

How do you qualify for in-state tuition?

UCF offers lower tuition rates to residents of Florida. To qualify for legal residency for tuition purposes, you must prove that you have moved to Florida and intend to reside there permanently. Moving simply to attend college isn’t sufficient.

Supporting documents such as driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations can assist in proving residency. Students must establish residency at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes to be able to qualify as residents for tuition purposes.

Does UCF offer merit-based scholarships?

Yes, UCF has merit scholarships for its incoming students. For example, the Florida Bright Futures scholarship can cover as much as the full cost of tuition and fees based on your achievement in high school.

Is there financial aid for graduate students?

Yes, UCF has financial aid programs available for students in its graduate program. Financial aid packages can include fellowships, scholarships, and work-study.

What is the average financial aid at UCF?

In 2020, UCF offered financial aid to 54% of incoming students based on financial hardship or need. The average award given to those students totaled $7,205.

Is there a way to reduce educational costs?

Students who are Florida residents pay reduced tuition rates. If you are able to establish Florida residency before or after enrolling, you may be able to pay less for your education.

You can also try to reduce indirect costs of your education, such as housing. Finding an inexpensive apartment and living with roommates or nearby family could help you save money.

Does UCF have financial aid for members of the military?

Yes, UCF has financial assistance available to military members. It also offers an online degree program for veterans and active duty members of the military. Students can work with an online coach to make the transition to classes at UCF smooth.

What is Florida Prepaid?

Florida Prepaid is a state program that lets families start saving for their children’s education. Using the plan allows the family to lock in tuition costs at UCF and other public universities in the state.

Universities like the University of Central Florida that you might be interested in 

If you’re not sure whether the University of Central Florida is right for you, these other schools might fit the bill.

Universities like UCF

University of Florida

The University of Florida is another public school located in Gainesville, Florida. It has a large student population of more than 50,000 and a 160-year history of providing a top-notch education to its students.

If you’re looking for a public university with a reasonable cost of attendance, the University of Florida is a good alternative to UCF.

Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) is another public school. It’s located in Tallahassee, Florida. 

The school has more than 40,000 students and is known as one of the top research universities in the United States. It also offers multiple online degree programs.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is another public school located in Florida. It has a smaller student body of just over 10,000.

Florida A&M University was founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students. Today, it’s one of the top schools among historically black colleges and universities.

If you’re looking for a public university with a reasonable cost of attendance but a smaller student body, FAMU could be a good choice for you.

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The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a well-known state school in Florida. It’s a great choice for students who want to get a great education at a reasonable price. Depending on the scholarships and grants you qualify for, you may be able to get most of your college costs covered!

If you’re looking for the best way to pay for school, Mos can help. Get the most financial aid possible with help tackling financial aid, grants, and scholarships--all in one place. Explore Mos memberships today.

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