FINANCIAL AID 101 FAQs

 

Click on the links below for Financial Aid 101 FAQs:
General Financial Aid 101 FAQs
Loan FAQs
Grant FAQs
Parents FAQs


General Financial Aid 101 FAQs

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A : You can apply for financial aid online by completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at(insert link here). Add FAU’s school code (001481). Please make sure to include your housing plans on the FAFSA, since leaving this section blank could result in underfunding. You must complete a new FAFSA once every academic year.

Q: How many credits do I need to take to receive financial aid?

A: In order to receive financial aid you must be enrolled at least half time (6 credits for undergraduate students, 5 credits for graduate students). This applies to grants and loans. IMPORTANT: To receive the full amount of your offered grant, you must enroll in at least 12 credits. If you enroll in less than 12 credits, your grant will be prorated.

Q: How soon can I apply? What is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

A: A new FAFSA becomes available on January 1st of each year. The 2014-2015 FAFSA will be available on January 1st, 2014. We recommend that you apply as early as possible - March 1st is our “priority deadline” for certain types of grants. However, you can complete your FAFSA at any time during the school year. If eligible, you will receive any aid to which you are entitled - regardless of when you completed your FAFSA.

Q: How can I submit my FAFSA early (before March 1) if I haven’t filed my taxes yet?

A: You can complete FAFSA before you have filed your taxes by indicating “Will File” on your application and entering estimates of your previous year’s income. After you have filed your taxes, you will have to go back to your FAFSA and change your status to “Already Filed,” correcting the information if necessary.

Q: When I complete my FAFSA, what types of aid am I applying for?

A: By completing the FAFSA, you have applied for grants and loans. Please keep in mind that although loans are a type of financial aid, they are still loans and must be repaid.

Q: Where can I look for available scholarships?

A: There are many scholarships available for students, and FAU offers many resources to help you in your search. All FAU scholarships are listed in an online, searchable database. Click here for more information on how to apply for scholarships.

Q: How will I know how much aid I qualify for?

A: After completing your FAFSA, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report) which will contain estimates of your aid eligibility. After you have been awarded by FAU, an award notification will be emailed to you via your FAU email account. If you are a First-Time-In-College (FTIC) student, in addition, an email will be sent to the email used on your FAFSA. You will be instructed to log on to "Accept Your Award".

Q: How can I check on the status of my financial aid?

A: First, log into your MyFAU account, click on “Self Service,” and then click on “Financial Aid Status.” Here, you can check to see if you have unsatisfied requirements or if you have submitted documents which have not yet been reviewed. If you have been awarded, you will see a message stating the amount which you have been awarded and instructing you on how to accept your award. If you have questions, you may contact your financial aid counselor by e-mail. You may also contact the Boca, Jupiter, or Davie financial aid office directly.

Q: I was selected for Verification; what does this mean?

A: Per Federal regulations, we are required to verify a portion of financial aid applications. Click here for more information about verification requirements. Please be aware that we cannot award financial aid until all outstanding verification requirements have been satisfied.

Q: How long will it take to be awarded?

A: Normally about four to six weeks; we may have to request additional documents after you complete your FAFSA. You should apply as early as possible. (January 1st through March 1st, prior to the following Fall term). Some program funds are limited and awarded on a "first come first served" basis.

Q: How and when will financial aid pay my tuition and fees?

A: Financial aid begins to disburse during the second and third weeks of classes. The aid will automatically apply towards your balance. After your tuition and fees are paid and your balance is zero, any leftover funds will be distributed to you as a “refund”.

Q: How will I receive my financial aid refund?

A: Signing up for direct deposit will expedite receipt of funds for financial aid and all other refunds due from your student account. Effective January 2013, refunds checks will no longer be mailed; they will have to be picked up at the Controller's office on the Boca Raton campus. For more information on direct deposit instructions, click here.

Q: How does my academic progress affect my financial aid?

A: In order to receive financial aid, you must meet the criteria for maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Generally, this means you must maintain a 2.0 minimum GPA (3.0 for Graduate students), complete at least 67% of your attempted credits, and not exceed 180 attempted credit hours. Click here for more information.

Q: How do I find how much I owe the school? How do I track my balances?

A:  The financial aid disbursement estimator is designed as a tool to help you determine what you need to pay the University and represents only an ESTIMATE of what financial aid may disburse based on your enrollment and award status. For details, click here. The Controller’s office handles all student account transactions. To check on the status of your account, please log on to MyFAU and click on FAU Self-Service link and then click on Student Services tab or link.

PLEASE NOTE:  Students receive their account statements via their FAU E-mail address ONLY.

 

Q: The financial aid application asks for information about my parents but I do not receive any support from them. What do I do?

A: Federal regulations require your eligibility to be based on your income and that of your parents' unless you meet certain criteria. Click here for more information about being a Dependent vs. Independent student.

Please contact your financial aid counselor if you feel that you have exceptional circumstances, or if your parents are unwilling to provide their information for FAFSA purposes.

Q: How can I get information about my award?

A: You may access your Financial Aid information online. Click here for instructions on how to access this information. You may also email your financial aid counselor or visit the financial aid office in-person (at the Boca Raton, Davie, or Jupiter campus). Due to the Privacy Act, only general information can be given over the phone.

Q: My award is based on last year's income. My income and/or my parents' income has changed. What should I do?

A:  Speak with your Financial Aid Counselor and you may be able to submit a request for Professional Judgment to our office. The request for Professional Judgment and Checklist forms are available in the Office of Student Financial Aid. You will be asked to submit written documentation of the change. After a review, you may be awarded additional assistance.

Q: How do I get money for books?

A: Financial aid refunds do not begin to disburse until the second and third weeks of classes; disbursement of aid is a function of the Controller’s office. It is essential that you set aside personal funds to cover expenses incurred during the first few weeks of class. You may request a portion of your financial aid to be distributed to you early - an “advance” on your financial aid - if you meet all eligibility criteria. Click here for more information about the Short Term Advance.

NOTE: For students under 18 years of age, please download and submit the Parental Short Term Advance Applicationto the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Q: Can I apply for summer financial aid?

A: Yes. However, summer financial aid is typically very limited. We highly recommend that if you receive a financial aid refund in the fall or spring terms and you plan on taking summer courses, you should save a portion of these funds to help pay your summer tuition. Click here for more information about Summer Savings Accounts.

On February 1st, you can complete the Summer Aid application online via Self-Service. Click here for more information. Apply early! Some funds are limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Q: What if I need to take some or all of my classes at another school?

A: As long as you are degree seeking at FAU and the classes will be credited toward your FAU degree, you may be eligible to receive assistance. Contact the FAU Financial Aid Office to see what forms you must complete and for which programs you may qualify. Please refer to Financial Aid Policies - Concurrent Enrollment page.

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Loan FAQs

Q: How do I apply for a loan?

A: To apply for a Direct loan, simply complete your FAFSA. We will offer you the maximum amount of subsidized and/or unsubsidized Direct loans for which you are eligible. To apply for a Parent PLUS loan or a Graduate PLUS loan, visit studentloans.gov. If you are applying for a private or alternative loan (through a bank), you will need to contact potential lenders on your own - we are not permitted to recommend specific private lenders.

Q: How many credits do I have to take to receive a loan?

A: You must be enrolled half-time to receive a Direct loan. For undergraduates, this is 6 credit hours. For graduate students, half time is 5 credits.

Q: What is the difference between a Direct Subsidized loan and a Direct Unsubsidized loan?

A: A Direct Subsidized loan will not accumulate interest until you graduate or drop below half time status; it is considered “subsidized” because the government pays the interest on it while you are in school. A Direct Unsubsidized loan will start to accumulate interest right away. You should always exhaust your subsidized loan availability before accepting an unsubsidized loan.

Q: I was offered a Direct loan; what steps do I need to take for the loan to disburse?

A: First, you must accept your award on your MyFAU. Next, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) as well as Entrance Counseling. Both the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling requirements may be satisfied online at www.studentloans.gov. Entrance Counseling is a tutorial that will explain to you the terms of your loans, such as interest rates and repayment options. Your Master Promissory Note is your guarantee that you will repay your loan.

Q: I accepted a Direct loan but I want to modify the amount, how can I do that?

A: You can submit a Direct Loan Revision Request form from our Forms to Download page to request an increase or decrease of your loan.

Q: I accepted my financial aid but it isn’t enough to cover my expenses. Can I increase my loan?

A: If you are a dependent student, you can ask your parent to go to studentloans.gov and apply for a Parent Plus loan. If approved, you will receive additional loan money. If denied, you may submit a Direct Loan Revision Request Form to request additional unsubsidized loan funds.

If you are a graduate student, you may go to studentloans.gov and apply for a Graduate PLUS loan.

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Grant FAQs

Q: I was awarded a grant - will I have to repay it?

A: A grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. However, under certain circumstances, (if you withdraw from classes, for example), you may be billed back a grant which has already disbursed.

Q: How is grant eligibility determined?

A: When you complete your FAFSA, the federal processor determines your eligibility using a number of factors. Basically, your FAFSA calculates whether or not you are eligible for grants. If you are eligible for Pell grant, your FAFSA also determines the amount of funding you receive.

Q: Can I get a Pell grant over the summer?

A: Pell grant is not awarded for the summer terms; however, you may be able to receive Pell grant funds over the summer if you are eligible and did not use all of the funds you were offered in the fall and spring terms. You may also be able to receive summer financial aid by completing the Summer Aid Application on February 1st - click here for more information.

Q: I was offered a Pell grant - how many credits do I need to take to get the full amount?

A: In order to receive the full amount of Pell grant for which you are eligible, you must be enrolled in 12 credits by the end of the add/drop period. If you enroll in 9 to 11 credits, you will receive 75% of the pell grant for which you are eligible. If you enroll in 6 to 8 credits, you will receive 50% of the pell grant for which you are eligible. You must be enrolled at least half-time to receive financial aid, including grants.

Grants are always prorated based on the number of credits for which you are enrolled at the end of the add/drop period.

Q: I was awarded a grant and added a course after the drop/add deadline. Will my grant increase?

A:  If a student who has been awarded a grant adds a class after the drop/add deadline, the grant award will NOT increase due to late enrollment. The student will be awarded for the number of credits enrolled at the end of the drop/add period.

Q: Are there separate applications for different grants (i.e. FSAG Grant, 1st Generation Grant?)

A: No - the FAFSA covers all state, institutional, and federal grants. You should complete your FAFSA early (before March 1), since some grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Q: Why didn’t I receive any grants besides the Pell grant?

A: The Pell grant is considered an “entitlement” grant - meaning that, if eligible and maintaining all necessary criteria, you will be awarded the Pell grant. Other grants (First Generation Grant, FSAG) are not entitlement grants and are very limited. Unfortunately, this means that many students are technically eligible for these additional grants but do not receive them. Some of these grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis - that is why you should be sure to complete your FAFSA as early as possible.

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Parents FAQs

Q: What is the FERPA?

A: “FERPA” stands for “Family Education Rights and Privacy Act”. The FERPA is a federal law which is designed to protect the student’s educational records. Per the FERPA, we cannot disclose a student's financial aid information to anyone other than the student - unless he or she has given written permission for us to do so with a FERPA release form, submitted to the Registrar’s Office. The FERPA applies to the student as soon as he or she is admitted to FAU, regardless of age or dependency status.

Q: How can I get information about my child’s financial aid?

A: Students can directly access their information by logging into MyFAU and clicking on “Self Service,” then “Financial Aid Status.” You should encourage your child to monitor this information herself in order to gain experience with financial aid planning and processing. Before contacting our office directly, keep in mind you may only inquire about your child’s financial aid if he or she has completed a FERPA release form authorizing us to give you such information. You may email your student’s financial aid counselor or call or visit in person at the Boca, Jupiter, or Davie financial aid office. Be sure that you have your child’s z number.

Q: May I initiate revision to my son's/daughter's award?

A: No. Only the student may request changes in type of award or amount of award. College is a setting where students begin to make their own decisions. Therefore, parents are encouraged to let their child understand and experience the many challenges of budgeting, time management, and financial aid processing. We urge the student to contact our office herself with any questions or concerns, in order to build greater involvement and financial literacy.

Q: Our FAFSA is based on the previous year’s tax return, but I’ve recently had a significant change in my household (i.e. job loss or divorce). What can I do?

A: Contact your child’s financial aid counselor and explain your situation - you may be eligible to request Professional Judgment. Include your child’s z number in any e-mails and make sure that he or she has submitted a FERPA form.

Q: What is the difference between PLUS loans and Alternative loans?

A: PLUS Loans require a completed FAFSA by students, while Alternative Loans do not. Please refer to Financial Aid - PLUS Loan Information and Financial Aid - Alternative Student Loans for more details.

Q: I applied for a Parent PLUS loan and was denied due to my credit - can we still receive additional funds?

A: Yes. If you are denied a Parent PLUS loan, your child may submit a Direct Loan Revision Request Form to our office in order to request additional unsubsidized Direct loan funds.

Q: How can my son/daughter qualify for work-study?

A: The Federal Work-Study Program is a federally-funded program for eligible students who demonstrate financial need. Students will be required to complete a FAFSA application. For more details please refer to Financial Aid - Student Employment and click on Need Based Employment .

Q: How can we apply for student loans? What types of loans are available?

A: First, complete your FAFSA - if eligible, the student will be offered Direct Loans. These are federal loans in the student’s name and are not credit based. If you would like to request additional funds, you can visit studentloans.gov and request a Parent PLUS loan. This is a credit based loan which is in the Parent’s name. If approved, you may receive additional funds - if you are denied, your child may submit a Direct Loan Revision Request form to request additional Direct Loan funds. You may seek private or alternative loan funding on your own; however, we are not permitted to recommend potential lenders. We recommend that you exhaust your federal loan options before pursuing a private loan.

Q: How can my child apply for different state and federal grants (i.e. Pell grant, FAU grant, FSAG)?

A: The FAFSA covers all state, institutional, and federal grants. By completing your FAFSA, you have already applied for them all! You should complete your FAFSA early (before March 1), since some grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Q: Why didn’t my child receive any grants besides the Pell grant?

A: The Pell grant is considered an “entitlement” grant - meaning that, if eligible and maintaining all necessary criteria, the student will be awarded the Pell grant. Other grants (First Generation Grant, FSAG) are not entitlement grants and are very limited. Unfortunately, this means that many students are technically eligible for these additional grants but do not receive them. Some of these grants are distributed on a first come, first served basis - that is why you should be sure to complete your FAFSA as early as possible.

Q: Where can we look for available scholarships?

A: There are many scholarships available for students, and FAU offers many resources to help you in your search. All FAU scholarships are listed in an online, searchable database. Click here for more information on how to apply for scholarships.

Q: What should I do if my child wants to take courses at another institution?

A: As long as your son/daughter is degree seeking and enrolled in at least 6 credit hours at FAU, then classes may be credited toward an FAU degree and your son/daughter may be eligible to receive assistance. Students are not eligible to receive financial aid at more than one institution for any one term. Therefore, you must apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA application at the institution where you are degree-seeking, referred to as your home institution. Additional forms are required, please refer to Financial Aid Policies - Concurrent Enrollment page.

Q: What happens if my child doesn't perform well in his/her classes?

A: Financial aid regulations require that students maintain satisfactory academic progress. Generally, this means that students must maintain a 2.0 GPA (3.0 for graduate students) and successfully complete 67% of their attempted classes. If they do not, they may be placed on probation or denied future assistance. Please refer to Financial Aid Policies/Rules & Regulations - Academic Progress page.

Q: How can my child receive assistance to purchase books and other class materials?

A: It is essential that the student set aside personal funds to cover expenses incurred during the first few weeks of class, since financial aid refunds do not begin to disburse until the second and third weeks of classes. Your child may request a portion of her financial aid to be disbursed early - an “advance” on her financial aid - if she meets all eligibility criteria. Click here for more information about the Short Term Advance.

Funds will be directly deposited into the student’s bank account. FAU Short Term Advance Applications are available between two weeks BEFORE the start of classes until two weeks PRIOR to the end of classes of each semester.

Q: Why am I getting a statement when I have financial aid that covers all my charges?

A: Every student is sent a monthly bill via their FAU email for tuition, fees and other charges. This statement reflects all payments received through the statement date. If you are certain you have financial aid that exceeds your tuition and fees plus any other amounts due to the University, you can disregard this bill. For questions regarding your Billing Statements, please go to the Controller's Office FAQs webpage .

Q: How would I be able to calculate/estimate college cost for my child?

A: Internet calculators are available for you to estimate college costs, loan payments, financial aid payment estimations, or graduated student loan repayment. Please refer to our FAU Financial Aid Disbursement Estimator .

 

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