General Student Aid Eligibility
To be eligible for FSA funds, a student must meet the criteria listed below. The University ensures that eligibility requirements are met before the awarding of aid occurs. A student must:
- Be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible program
- Not be enrolled simultaneously in elementary or secondary school
- Demonstrate financial need (for some FSA programs)
- Sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) status that they:
- Are not in default on a federal student loan and does not owe money on a federal student grant
- Will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
- Show they are qualified to obtain a college education by one of the following:
- Having a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Education Development (GED) certificate
- Completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law (or - if state law does not require a homeschooled student to obtain a completion credential - completing a high school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law)
- Enrolling in an eligible career pathway program and meeting one of the “ability-to-benefit” alternatives:
- Passing an approved “ability-to-benefit” test
- Completing six credit hours or equivalent coursework toward a degree or certificate
- Have a valid Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
- Be registered with Selective Service, if required
- Not be in default on a Title IV loan or, if in default, have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the loan holder
- Have not obtained loan amounts that exceed annual or aggregate loan limits made under any Title IV loan program
- Not be liable for an overpayment of a Title IV grant or Federal Perkins Loan or, if liable, have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the debt
- Be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
- Not have property which is subject to a judgment lien for a debt owed to the U.S. or, if subject to a judgment lien, have made satisfactory repayment arrangements with the debt holder
- Not have been convicted of an offense involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs that occurred while enrolled and receiving Title IV aid
- Have completed repayment of funds to either ED or the holder of a loan, as applicable, if the student has been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a crime involving fraud in obtaining Title IV aid
Student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have the results sent to the University. Once the results are received by the University, they are reviewed to ensure that the student meets all eligibility criteria. If a student is deemed ineligible due to one of the above issues, the Student and Financial Services team will inform the student of the issue so that the student can work towards resolution.
If the student meets the eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and all the required documents have been received, they will be awarded financial aid funds.
Transfer coursework is used to establish grade level for loan eligibility. Credit evaluations from unofficial transcripts are accepted to determine loan eligibility.
Financial Aid Programs and Assistance
The University participates in a variety of financial aid programs. Assistance may include scholarships, grants, and loans. Scholarships and grants are gift awards that do not need to be repaid. Loans are considered self-help awards, since repayment is required. The type and amounts of aid awarded depends upon the student’s financial need and the cost of attendance.
The University participates in the following Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs:
Additional Assistance Options
Non-FSA assistance may be available to students. Click on the link below for additional information:
University Payment Plan and Fees
|Description of University
Payment Plans and Fees
|Pay-in-Full Payment Plan Processing Fee
|Pay-by-Term Payment Plan Processing Fee
|Late Payment Fee
|Returned Check Fee
|Declined Credit Card Fee
Application and Forms
The financial aid process begins when a student indicates their interest in financial aid during the application process and discusses their intent with an Academic and Finance Advisor. Students may be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds once they have completed the entire financial aid process.
FSA forms, applications and/or instructions for applying are available on the FSA website at https://studentloans.gov. This site is a resource of information from the U.S. Department of Education about how to apply for and manage student loans. These forms and instructions include, but are not limited to:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a need analysis document published by the Department of Education
- Students must complete the FAFSA and receive a valid federal output document in order to be eligible for Title IV funds
- Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and/or PLUS or GradPLUS loans are required only of those students interested in borrowing through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program
- Entrance Counseling is required for all first time borrowers and first time students at any post-secondary education institution
Students must complete these applications, forms, and processes electronically in order for the SFS Department to determine eligibility.
Verification is the selective confirmation of certain student and parent-reported data (for dependent students). Applications are selected for verification either by the Central Processing System (CPS) or by the Student and Financial Services (S&FS) team. The Financial Aid Office verifies all applications selected by the CPS. Any Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) may be selected for verification, even if the prior ISIR was not selected.
On a case-by-case basis, the SFS team may institutionally select an application for verification if there is a discrepancy or a condition that is unusual and warrants review.
To minimize award notification updates and post-award questions, the University packages and disburses funds only after completing any necessary verification. The verification process must be completed for selected applicants before any Title IV aid (excluding PLUS and Unsubsidized Stafford loans if those loans represent the only award) will be disbursed. A student will receive an updated award letter if, based on verification documentation, Title IV award amounts have changed.
Information that must be verified and the acceptable documentation for students selected for verification are determined annually and published before the start of an award year. In accordance with the new regulation, the University may verify different items from year to year.
Database matches requiring clearance of Reject or C-Codes fall into six categories and must be resolved prior to award and disbursement of Federal Student Aid (FSA).
- Selective Service
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Primary verification of citizenship
- Secondary verification of citizenship
- Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Date of Death
- Veteran’s Affairs (VA) - Veteran Status
- National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
- Financial Aid History
- Department of Justice (DOJ) - Drug Abuse hold file
Students with a Database match, Reject, or C-Code are notified via their Student Aid Report (SAR). The Financial Aid Office also sends a written notice to the student requesting any documents required to complete the process.
The student must submit these documents to the Financial Aid Office in order to receive any FSA for the award year.
Documentation received requiring corrections to the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) will be used as the source for corrections by the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid Office will hold documentation used for resolution on file.
Student budgets are an important component in the financial aid process. Standard student budgets are used to award financial aid by reflecting the cost of attendance for the average student population at a modest, but adequate, standard of living. The Student and Financial Services Team approves special budget considerations for additional costs on a case-by-case basis as covered through a Professional Judgment decision.
Direct and Indirect Costs
Students apply for financial assistance to help pay for costs related to receiving an education at the University. Some costs are direct charges such as tuition, books, and fees, while other costs are considered indirect costs such as housing, utilities, food, and other incidental personal expenses. Indirect costs are included in the student budget because they are costs a student must consider when determining the expense to attend the University. The student may apply for student financial assistance to help cover education-related expenses such as these.
Awarding/Packaging Financial Aid
The University’s institutional packaging philosophy ensures students are awarded aid from the Title IV student financial assistance programs in a consistent and equitable manner. Students are informed of the amount of Title IV aid for which they are eligible. A member from the Financial Aid Office will counsel the student regarding their rights and responsibilities. It is the student’s decision to determine the amount of student loan debt they believe is appropriate for them to cover their education costs, which may include direct and indirect costs.
Federal financial aid awards are intended to meet the student’s level of financial need. Financial aid recipients who qualify can expect to receive a Pell grant (a grant based on financial need) and scholarships first in order to reduce future loan indebtedness. The Pell grant program is available for students in an undergraduate program if the student meets all other eligibility criteria.
The combination of Title IV student financial aid programs offered to a student is referred to as packaging. Students are packaged with federal aid after all required documentation has been received, including an ISIR. An ISIR is accepted for release of payment from Title IV federal student financial aid programs when any conflicting information is resolved, additional information requested by the U.S. Department of Education in the ISIR is provided, and/or when students have completed the verification process.
Title IV federal student financial aid is awarded based on an academic year. For graduate students, the academic year is at least 18 credits and at least 30 instructional weeks. For undergraduate students, the academic year is at least 24 credits and at least 30 instructional weeks.
The Director of Student and Financial Services has the authority to exercise professional judgment based upon unusual and special circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
Return of Title IV Funds
Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption the student will attend the University during the entire period for which the assistance was awarded.
The University is required to determine whether any Title IV funds must be returned to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs when a student does not complete the period of enrollment in which the student is currently enrolled. For example, due to a student’s withdrawal from the University, the University dismissing a student, not participating in a course for more than 28 consecutive days, or a student transferring to a substantially different program.
The percentage of earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid is calculated based upon the scheduled number of days in the period of enrollment and the date either in which the student withdrew from the University or when the student ceased participating in their course work for more than 28 consecutive days. For purposes of determining the percentage of Title IV aid earned, the date of withdrawal is determined to be the last date the student participated in a course. For students who have ceased participating in their course for more than 28 consecutive days, the University will record in the Return of Title IV calculation worksheet, as the date of determination, the 14th day after the last date the student participated in an academic-related activity.
As mandated by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Return of Title IV calculation determines what portion of Title IV funds, whether disbursed or could have been disbursed, that can be used to pay institutional and non-institutional charges.
For students subject to a Return of Title IV calculation, the calculation accounts for the initial charges that are assessed for the period of enrollment. Initial charges may only be adjusted by those changes the University makes prior to the student’s withdrawal (for example, dropping a course unrelated to a withdrawal).
The following Title IV aid programs in which the University participates are covered in the Return of Title IV calculation and are referred to as the Title IV aid programs:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Direct Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized)
- Federal Direct PLUS Loan (for parents of dependent students and graduate students)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
If the calculation results in the return of funds, those funds will be returned first to the federal loan programs. If the remaining amount exceeds the amount of the loan disbursements, the remaining amount will be returned to the federal grant programs. The order, in which Title IV aid is returned, if required, is as follows: