Frequently Asked Questions
To apply for financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is used to determine which aid programs you will be awarded. You can apply online at www.fafsa.gov/.
Federal student aid programs are based on the concept that it is primarily your and your family’s responsibility to pay for your education. Because a dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength.
Determining a student’s dependency status is important in determining a student’s eligibility for federal aid programs. Your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. An applicant is considered to be a dependent student unless he or she can answer “Yes” to one of the dependency questions on the application and are able to provide supporting documentation. If the student applicant answers “No” to all of the dependency status questions then her or she is considered to be a dependent student for federal student aid purposes and must provide parental information.
Please be aware that not living with your parents or not being claimed by them on tax forms does not make you an independent student for purposes of applying for federal student aid. Occasionally, unusual circumstances may exist that require a review of the student’s dependency status. These unusual circumstances are commonly cases of abuse or abandonment. If you feel that you have an unusual circumstance, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Withdrawing from all classes or dropping a class at any point after the drop/add period will negatively impact your completion rate and possibly affect your eligibility for future aid. Additionally, if you withdraw from all courses during the semester, you may be required to return some of your financial aid.
We always award students with their maximum eligibility in federal aid based on their qualifications. However, because of federal loan limits, students may not have enough funds to cover all of their educational costs. If you are in need of additional funding beyond the aid you were awarded, you could consider a Parent PLUS Loan or a private student loan.
If you want to receive financial aid funds, then yes, you have to complete the FAFSA every year.
After you apply for aid, you may be offered either a subsidized or unsubsidized loan, or a combination of both. The primary difference between the two is the interest rate and when the interest begins to accrue.
- Subsidized Loans are awarded on the basis of financial need. You will not be charged any interest while the loan is in deferment status, such as while you are enrolled, as the federal government subsidizes or pays the interest.
- Unsubsidized Loans charge interest from the time the money is first disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest is capitalized, meaning that you pay interest on any interest that has already accrued. One way to minimize how much interest accrues is to pay the interest as it accumulates.
Only undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need are eligible for Subsidized Loans. Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students. We use federal regulations to determine the amounts each student may borrow by considering the cost of attendance and other financial aid.
To learn more about Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, visit the Department of Education’s Direct Loan comparison website.
Financial aid is disbursed after drop/add has ended. Only students who have completed all the necessary requirements can expect for their funds to disburse at the end of drop/add. Check the Dates/Deadlines section of the website for the exact date of when aid will disburse.
Why am I considered not to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) when I have no failing grades? I was advised to withdraw from the class rather than receive a low grade.
Even though withdrawing from a class may help your GPA, the SAP Policy considers hours dropped with a “W” as attempted. You must complete 67% of the classes you attempt to be meeting the progression portion of the SAP Policy.
Verification is a process mandated by the US Department of Education to confirm the accuracy of the information provided on the FAFSA. All requested documentation must be provided before a student’s financial aid eligibility will be determined.
You should complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. We encourage all students to apply by the April 1 priority date, as some resources are limited and may run out. However, if you miss the April 1 priority date it does not mean you cannot apply. You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible so your aid eligibility may be determined.
In general, financial aid will pay for you to take a course twice. If you pass the course with a grade of a D or higher, financial aid will only pay for you to retake the course one additional time. If you have never passed the course, financial aid will continue pay for you to take the course again (meaning that you failed the course or withdrew from the course). If you are retaking a course for the third time after successfully completing the course (a grade of D or higher) previously, those hours will not count for financial aid purposes. This means that if you are only enrolled in 6 semester hours and one course is not counting because you have repeated it, your financial aid will be calculated on being enrolled in 3 semester hours. The repeat coursework rules only apply to undergraduate students. Repeating a course can also impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress status (SAP). All grades count for SAP and all hours attempted and earned count as well. PLEASE NOTE: If you have questions regarding your courses and repeat coursework, please contact your financial aid counselor. The rules for repeat coursework are quite complex and your individual situation will need to be reviewed.