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Federal Student Loan Basics

Federal Financial Aid

Funding your future

Federal Financial Aid is money from the U.S. Department of Education to help you pay for your college tuition and expenses– because nothing should hold you back from reaching your full potential. You also don't have to go it alone. Our finance advisors are on hand to help guide you through the process.

Key Dates & Deadlines

Students must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for each school year to qualify for federal financial aid.

Our FAFSA student code is 014593.

Federal Award Year FAFSA Open Date Federal FAFSA Deadline Tax year data used in FAFSA
2020-21 FAFSA Open Date Oct 1, 2019 Federal FAFSA Deadline June 30, 2021 Tax year data used in FAFSA 2018
2021-22 FAFSA Open Date Oct 1, 2020 Federal FAFSA Deadline June 30, 2022 Tax year data used in FAFSA 2019

Types of federal financial aid

Know your options

We want to ensure you get the maximum amount of aid available. There are two types of federal aid: federal grants and federal loans.

Responsible borrowing

Federal grants

Grants are distributed based on financial need. They are money that you don’t have to repay. Learn more about grants.

Typically awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or professional degree, which includes doctoral.

Typically awarded to an undergraduate student who demonstrates exceptional financial need to help pay for their education.

If your parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan, and you meet additional eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.

Federal loans

Low-interest loan options are on a non-need basis. The money borrowed must be repaid with interest. Learn more about loans.

Loans made to eligible graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

Loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need..

Loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the cost of education expenses not covered by other financial aid.

Get started with Federal
Financial Aid

Every student who meets the eligibility requirements can get some form of federal financial aid, regardless of age or family income.

Being eligible and staying eligible

The most basic eligibility requirements are that you
must:

The most basic eligibility requirements
are that you must:

  • Be a US citizen or an eligible noncitizen
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Be registered for selective service, if you are a male (you must register between the ages of 18 to 25)
  • Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in school
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan and not owe a federal grant overpayment
Being eligible and staying eligible

How to apply for federal financial aid

Use our quick, step-by-step guide.

Complete and submit the FAFSA form

All students seeking federal financial aid need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online as soon as possible after October 1.

The FAFSA code for University of Phoenix is 014593.

Complete the FAFSA online now

Review your financial aid offer notification

In your notification, we’ll explain the details of your financial aid package, which can include grants, scholarships, and federal student loans.

Complete your Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory

Students who receive a Federal Direct loan for the first time are required to complete these online forms before they’re eligible to receive payment. This process will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and can be accessed 24 hours a day.

Talk to an enrollment representative

Questions? We’ve done everything we can to simplify the financial aid process. If you have questions, please contact us.

Will you have funding to complete your
program?

Connect with a Finance Advisor

A finance advisor is ready to explain your financial aid options including grants, scholarships, loans and other services you may not even know about. Contact them today.

Frequently Asked
Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Category

What is the maximum amount available for Pell Grants?

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.

What is the maximum amount available for Federal Direct loans?

Federal student loan eligibility varies by grade level and student dependency status.

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 of an undergraduate student 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.

There are aggregate loan limits to the amount of Federal Direct loans you may borrow for undergraduate and graduate study as well.

As of July 1, 2013, first-time borrowers are only eligible to borrow Direct Subsidized Loans for up to 150 percent of the published length of the program in which they’re enrolled. This limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans.

What is the difference between a Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized Loan?

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; while you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 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 (capitalized).

You can find more information about Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized loans

How long does it take federal financial aid to be processed?

Processing times for awarding federal financial aid can vary from student to student, depending on individual situations and documentation requirements. You can see estimated processing times for your federal financial aid award on the student website by navigating to Account > Awards & Disbursements.

Do I need to do anything once my federal financial aid award is processed?

You’ll be notified on your student website when your federal financial aid award is processed, and you will need to complete Funds Acceptance for the Direct Loan as part of the Federal Financial Aid Active Confirmation process. This is how you will let us know exactly how much of your federal Direct Loan award you are willing to accept out of the total amount you are eligible to receive.

Why does federal financial aid not cover all tuition and mandatory fees?

Federal financial aid awards are based on a combination of student eligibility criteria, program of study and grade level. If your cost of tuition and mandatory fees for the academic year is greater than your federal financial aid award, a shortfall of funds will exist, and you will owe a balance to the University. Please see our tuition basics page for further information or contact Financial Services for additional resources.

Can the school use current academic year funds to pay for prior academic year charges?

Schools are only permitted to apply no more than $200 of the current academic year’s federal financial aid funds to satisfy prior academic year charges for tuition and mandatory fees. Refer to your award letter or contact Financial Services for specific academic year and payment period dates.

Who do I contact if the FAFSA website is not working properly?

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.

When will I receive my award letter, and where can I access it?

Award letters are generated after your federal financial aid award is determined. 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 Account > Awards & Disbursements > Print Loan Confirmation. It will be posted in your Letter Center on the student website, as well.

When is the next scheduled financial aid disbursement date?

Federal Direct Loan and Pell Grant disbursement dates are based on each student’s individual schedule, successful completion of both credit hours and weeks of instructional time — therefore, the dates can vary greatly from one student to the next. Anticipated disbursement dates can be found on your student websiteby navigating to Account > Awards & Disbursements > Disbursement Status. Your anticipated disbursement date will be updated, as needed, based on your successful completion of both credit hours and weeks of instructional time.

How long does it take funds to post to my account after the award process is complete?

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. However, if you’re a first-time borrower, first-year undergraduate student, 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.

How often are disbursements scheduled?

Federal Direct 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.

Why do disbursement dates get pushed back?

Although anticipated federal financial aid disbursements can be rescheduled for a number of reasons, the most common is a change in your schedule. Because eligibility for federal financial aid disbursements depends on successful completion of both credits and weeks of instruction, a schedule change may create delays.

Will the Pell Grant and Direct loan funds be disbursed at the same or will they disburse separately?

Generally, Pell Grant and Direct loan funds are scheduled to disburse around the same time. However, they are two different types of aid, and the disbursements may come in at different times. Specific disbursement dates can be found on your student website by navigating to Account > Awards & Disbursements > Disbursement Status.

What is a credit balance?

When your federal financial aid is disbursed, sometimes money is left over after your aid is applied to your tuition, mandatory fees, and other school charges. This remaining amount is called a credit balance.

What does debit memo mean?

A debit memo is the transaction you’ll see processed on your account summary when a credit balance is about to be sent to you or returned to the federal financial aid program (Pell Grant or Direct Loan). Your account summary can be accessed on the student website by navigating to *Account > Billing*.

How long after the disbursement date will a credit balance be received?

Credit balances will be processed within 14 calendar days of the date the funds are disbursed and the credit balance is created. 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. The University strongly encourages use of direct deposit for the fastest and safest delivery of your credit balance. 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 Account > Billing.

How can I change the delivery option for my credit balance to direct deposit?

The University strongly encourages use of direct deposit for the fastest and safest delivery of your credit balance. Elections for receiving a credit balance can be changed anytime by navigating to Account > 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.

How do I get my existing student loans into deferment?

The University participates in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC), 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. All servicers supporting the federal student loan programs are required to use NLSDS, you do not need to take any action to put your federal loans into a deferred status. If you have a private loan from a servicer that does not uses NLSDS, please contact our Admissions & records Service Center at 800.866.3919 for further assistance.

How does the education tax credit work for students?

Always consult a tax professional with questions about education tax credits.

When are the 1098-T tuition tax statements available?

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 Account > 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.

Start a conversation about your future with an enrollment representative today.

Call (844) 937-8679

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