Frequently Asked Questions
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 website by 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.