Transitioning to USF

Transition to college can be a challenging, stressful time for students (and families), even under the best circumstances.

Students will receive a great deal of information about USF, general campus supports, and transitioning successfully to campus during orientation programming.

For students coming to campus with mental health needs, there are some specific things that should also be considered, noted below, to ensure as smooth a transition to USF as possible.

While all students should have a copy of their insurance card, or know their insurance coverage information, this is particularly important for students with mental health needs.

It is recommended that students keep this information with them at all times.

There are a wide variety of support services available to USF students.

Two offices that provide specific support that may be beneficial to students with mental health needs are:

For academic support and information, students can contact:

Many students opt to waive the USF student insurance (Aetna), and maintain their insurance coverage through their own insurance plans (usually through family coverage).

  • Students should confirm that they will have insurance coverage for routine medical care (including mental health services) in San Francisco with their personal coverage before waiving student insurance.
  • Students should be aware of the expected out of pocket costs for care when using their personal insurance plan—this includes deductibles, co-insurance, and co-payments. (For reference, the student insurance plan does not have a deductible, and the co-payment for office visits is $20.)
  • Out of state policies, particularly smaller regional insurance providers, may not offer medical care outside of particular geographical areas.
  • Out of state Medicaid coverage is not transferable to California, and usually does not provide coverage for medical care in California; an exception may be emergency/catastrophic care. If you have Medicaid coverage, please check with your insurer regarding out of state services.
  • Generally, Medi-Cal (CA Medicaid) coverage is not transferable between counties. Students who have Medi-Cal coverage outside of San Francisco County will need to transfer their coverage from their home county in order to use their insurance coverage to access services in San Francisco.
  • If students find that they do not have coverage for health care in San Francisco through their current insurance, they have a few options:
    • Students may choose to opt into the USF student health plan (Aetna). Please note that there is a cost associated with this plan, and there are deadlines for enrollment.
    • When moving from another state to California to attend USF, it is considered a qualifying event that allows the purchase of a new health insurance policy on the marketplace; students may consider purchasing a policy that will provide coverage in CA.
    • Students may apply for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) in order to have coverage for health care services in San Francisco, if they meet eligibility requirements. 
    • Students might explore low or no cost services, which may be available for mental health and medical needs. Please note that availability for these services can be extremely limited, and student eligibility for these services may vary.

USF does not provide on campus psychiatry or medication management.

Students should arrive at USF with a plan for ongoing medication management and prescription refills.

  • Some students choose to continue working with their home providers, either remotely (via telepsychiatry) or by visiting their providers when home on school breaks, while others choose to connect with a local provider for medication management.
  • Students should be aware that they could experience issues or delays with refilling out of state prescriptions locally, particularly with certain types of medication. If students plan to obtain refills from out of state prescribers in San Francisco, they should confirm ahead of time with their preferred pharmacy and doctor that they are able to do so.
  • If students will be seeking medication management services in San Francisco, they should get these services set up as soon as possible, and not wait until they run out of their medication to seek services. There could be a delay of several weeks (or possibly more, depending on insurance coverage) in obtaining an appointment, depending on provider availability.
  • Students can check with their insurance company for other prescription refill options. Some insurance plans allow individuals to obtain 90-day refills for some medications. Others may offer the option of refills by mail.

For reference (please note that this is not a referral to, or endorsement of, these services), two pharmacies close to USF are:

  • Lucky (located on Fulton St.)
  • Target (located on Masonic Ave.)

Students should be aware of the limitations of on campus mental health services offered by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). In particular, CAPS does not provide psychiatry or medication management services.

Students may want to start the process of identifying and connecting to an off-campus provider prior to arrival at USF, as this can be a time-consuming process. Please note that it may take several weeks (or more) for students to get connected to an off-campus provider.