We’re here to help you understand your student loans and grants
To provide as much information as possible about FSA, we’ve compiled answers to a range of questions we hear frequently. For answers to specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Financial Services.
Looking for the 2024-25 FAFSA?
There are some changes for the 2024-2025 aid year.
The FAFSA Simplification Act is a significant revision of the process used to award federal financial aid beginning with the 2024-2025 aid award year. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form itself, the way need is assessed, and some procedures that schools employ in distributing aid have all changed.
The 2024-25 FAFSA will be more user friendly with fewer questions. Among the other important changes required by law in the 2024-25 FAFSA:
The methodology used to determine aid
The formulas used to determine family size
Expanded access to Federal Pell Grant, including for students whose school closed while they were enrolled
A mandate to use data from the IRS, where possible
Now you can lock in your tuition at one price from start to finish of your program. Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need as determined by their completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while you attend school at least half time, as long as you complete your program on time.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students; there is no requirement to demonstrate financial need. With an unsubsidized loan, you are responsible for paying the interest, which begins accruing at the time the loan is disbursed. If you do not pay the interest as it accrues, the interest will be added to the principal balance.
Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate students who have not previously earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. Maximum Pell Grant awards can vary from year to year and may be higher or lower in future award years. In addition to a maximum yearly amount, there is also a limit to the amount of Pell Grant you can receive over your lifetime.
Grade level is determined by the number of credits applied to your primary program. For new students, grade level is determined by applied transfer credits. For continuing students, grade level is determined by the total number of credits applied to your primary program at the start of the academic year.
Dependency status is determined by a variety of factors. A “yes” answer to any of the dependency questions on the FAFSA will classify you as independent; a “no” answer to all of the dependency questions on the FAFSA will classify you as dependent.
Processing times for awarding FSA can vary from student to student, depending on individual situations and documentation requirements. You can see estimated processing times for your FSA package on the student website by navigating to Financial Plan > Awards & Disbursements.
If you are experiencing difficulty with the FAFSA website, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800.433.3243. There is also a Live Help button located within the FAFSA application you can use to contact the Information Center live and online.
Award letters are generated after FSA is packaged. It will be presented to you on the student website at the time funds acceptance is required. After that, your letter will be available by navigating to Financial Plan > Awards & Disbursements > Print Loan Confirmation. It will be posted in your Letter Center on the student website, as well.
FSA loan and Pell Grant disbursement dates are based on each student’s individual schedule, successful completion of credit hours, and weeks of instructional time — therefore, the dates can vary greatly from one student to the next. Specific disbursement dates can be found on your student website by navigating to Financial Plan > Awards & Disbursements > Disbursement Status.
Typically, disbursements are scheduled the day a new payment period starts. We will begin to determine your eligibility for those funds at that time and anticipate funds will post to your student account within five to seven days of that date. If you are a first-time borrower, first-year undergraduate student, however, your first disbursement will be scheduled 30 days after the start of your first payment period. If a delay occurs, Financial Services will work to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
FSA loans and Pell Grants disburse twice during your academic year, shortly after the start of each payment period. Generally speaking, disbursements are scheduled toward the beginning of each 12-credit payment period. Scheduling will be different if an academic year is fewer than 24 credits. Refer to your award letter for specific disbursement dates.
FSA loans and Pell Grants disburse twice during your academic year, at the beginning of each payment period. Generally speaking, disbursements are scheduled at the beginning of each 12-credit payment period. Scheduling will be different if an academic year is fewer than 24 credits. Refer to your award letter or contact Financial Services for specific disbursement dates.
Although FSA funds can be rescheduled for a number of reasons, the most common is a change in your schedule. Because eligibility for FSA disbursements depends on successful completion of credits and weeks of instruction, a schedule change may create delays.
Generally, Pell Grant and loan funds are scheduled to disburse around the same time. However, they are two different types of aid, and the disbursements actually come in at different times. Specific disbursement dates can be found on your student website by navigating to Financial Plan > Awards & Disbursements > Disbursement Status.
Many students get to the last academic year in their program and find that disbursements and refunds appear to be handled differently than they had been in the past. This situation can occur if your last academic year is 24 credits or fewer.
A full academic year
Generally, an academic year consists of two payment periods. The University is required to disburse FSA at least twice per academic year, usually at the beginning of each payment period.
Any FSA funds in excess of tuition and electronic course materials fees that are required to be sent to you will be provided no later than 14 days after they disburse.
Academic years between 12 and 24 credits
When less than a full academic year remains at the end of your program, your last academic year will be a partial one. In that case, your FSA award will be prorated based on a reduced number of credits. This will result in an FSA award that may be lower than expected.
You are eligible to receive the first disbursement of FSA funds when the University confirms you are enrolled in courses for the payment period and have met certain eligibility requirements. The second disbursement may not be disbursed until you successfully complete half of the required weeks of instructional time, half the required credit hours in the first payment period, and continue to meet the aforementioned eligibility requirements.
Academic years between six and 12 credits
If your last academic year is between six and 12 credits, federal regulations require that the entire academic year be treated as one payment period. Although the University is still required to disburse FSA funds at least twice in that academic year, tuition and electronic course materials fees for the entire academic year must be considered when calculating a credit balance.
It is possible that the first disbursement will not be enough to pay for all your tuition and electronic course materials fees. In that case, the second disbursement must post to your account before a credit balance is available.
In some cases, funds from the first disbursement are enough to pay all of your tuition and course materials fees. When this occurs, some credit balance funds can be released at the time of disbursement. Any additional credit balances will be available once the second disbursement posts to your account.
Between the prorated loan amount and the difference in the way funds are disbursed, your experience with FSA funds at the end of your program may be different from what you are used to.
Academic years with fewer than six credits
If the last academic year in your program is fewer than six credits, you will be considered a less than half-time student. You must be in attendance at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan, so Direct Loan funds cannot be awarded for these credits. Pell Grant funds may be awarded if you’re eligible.
Awards, disbursements and refunds for academic years of fewer than six credits will be prorated and calculated as described above.
A debit memo is the transaction you will see processed on your account summary when a credit balance is about to be sent to you or returned to the FSA fund. Your account summary can be accessed on the student website by navigating to *Financial Plan > Billing*.
Elections for receiving a credit balance can be changed anytime by navigating to Financial Plan > Overview > *Manage Cards & Direct Deposit*. If direct deposit was not set-up previously, click Change to Direct Deposit; if direct deposit was set-up previously, click Update Direct Deposit. An election to receive funds by direct deposit must be on file prior to the completion of any refund calculation to ensure funds will be electronically transmitted to your designated bank account.
Credit balances will be processed within 14 calendar days of the date funds are disbursed. Once the credit balance process is completed, direct deposits should appear in your designated account within 3–5 business days, and paper checks should be received within 3–10 business days. Please remember that processing times can vary, and the University cannot be held responsible for delays in mail delivery.
You can view your account summary to see when a debit memo has posted by navigating to Financial Plan > Billing.
The University participates in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) program, which electronically provides enrollment status and attendance data to the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS). The Registrar’s Office reports attendance data on all students once per week. If your servicer participates in the NSC program, you do not need to take any action to put your loans into a deferred status; if not, please contact our Admissions & records Service Center at 800.866.3919 for further assistance.
Once a graduation application is submitted, several financial and academic audits must be completed before the diploma can be released. Typical processing time for these audits is 1–3 weeks.
FSA awards are based on a combination of student eligibility criteria, program of study and grade level. If your cost of tuition and fees for the academic year is greater than your financial aid award, a shortfall of funds will exist. There are many sources of funding for educational purposes. Please see our Financial options page for further information, or contact Financial Services for additional resources.
Schools are only permitted to retain up to $200 of the current academic year’s FSA funds to satisfy prior academic year charges for tuition and fees. Refer to your award letter or contact Financial Services for specific academic year and payment period dates.
Always consult a tax professional with questions about education tax credits.
The 1098-T form will be available to students no later than January 31st of each year for the recently ended tax year. You can consent to electronic delivery of this form or receive a paper form in the mail. Delivery options can be selected by logging in to student website and navigating to Financial Plan > Tax Forms > 1098-T. The 1098-T statement will be available 3–7 days earlier if the electronic delivery option is chosen.
Be advised that the University reports qualified tuition and related expenses by payments received, so not all students will receive a 1098-T. If no payments posted to your student account within the 1098-T reporting year, you may not receive one.
Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.