Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions
1. What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?
Subsidized Stafford Loans are based on financial need. The government will pay the interest to the lender on this loan while you are in school at least part-time, as well as during a six month grace and any deferment periods. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are a non-need based form of aid. Although the interest rate on these loans is set by the federal government, therefore keeping it low, borrowers are responsible for all interest accrued on the loan. Interest payments can be deferred until graduation and will then be capitalized and added to the principal balance of the loan or you can make payments on interest while in school.
2. What is verification?
Federal regulations require colleges to check the accuracy of the information submitted on the FAFSA. This is what is referred to as the verification process. To complete this process the Office of Student Financial Aid may require you to submit certain documents including, but not limited to Federal tax returns, W2's, and our institutional verification worksheet. Your financial aid will not be complete until all required documents are submitted. Verification must be completed before your student account can be credited with financial aid such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, and Federal Stafford (subsidized/unsubsidized) Loans. Please be aware that your financial aid may change once the verification process is complete.
3. What is the difference between a dependent and an independent student?
- To be considered an independent, a student must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Be at least 24 years old by December 31st of the award year for which aid is being sought
- Was at any time since the age of 13, an orphan, ward of the court, or foster child
- Is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- On active military duty for purposes other than training
- Has legal dependents other than a spouse (for example, dependent children or an elderly dependent parent)
- Is a graduate or professional student
- Is married
- Is, or was when he/she reached the age of majority, an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship as determined by a court in the student's home state
- Is and unaccompanied youth who is homeless or is self-supporting and at risk of homelessness
- To be considered an dependent
A student who does not meet any of the criteria for an independent student generally would be classified as a dependent student and would report parent information when applying for federal aid.
4. If I do not live with my parent(s) and take full financial responsibility of myself, am I considered independent?
No, you are not. Useless you meet the above listed criteria (see question 3).
5. If my parent(s) did not carry me on their taxes, does that make me independent?
It has no bearing on being able to be considered as "independent" whether or not your parents claimed you on their tax return. The Higher Education Act established requirements for establishing independence. Several questions are addressed on the FAFSA. If the answer is "YES" to any of the questions you will be considered "Independent" for financial aid processes .Please note: Answering "YES" to some of these questions may require you to submit additional documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid to support your claim. In some instances, simply answering "YES" will NOT automatically make you independent.
6. How do I determine my household size on the FAFSA?
Your household consists of:
- Yourself and your parent(s) (including stepparent) even if you don't live with your parents
- Your parents' other children, even if they don't live with your parent(s), if (a) your parents will provide more than half of their support from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, or (b) the children would be required to provide parental information when applying for Federal Student Aid
- Other people if they now live with your parents, and your parents provide more than half of their support and will continue to provide more than half of their support from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013
7. How do I determine the number of people in college on my FAFSA?
You and any sibling(s) age 23 and under that are enrolled at least half time should be counted towards your number in college. Parents (stepparents included) and any sibling(s) over 24 years old, should not be counted into the number in college on your FAFSA
8. What is a promissory note?
A promissory note is signed document containing a written promise to repay a stated sum to a specified source on a specified date. You must sign a promissory note in order to receive your loan funds. No loan funds will be awarded without a signed promissory note.
9. What is entrance counseling?
All first time borrowers are required to complete an entrance counseling session prior to receiving their loan funds. During this session, you will be informed about your borrower rights and responsibilities.
10. When do I have to repay my loans?
Repayment of your loan begins six months:
- After you graduate
- Withdraw from school
- Or drop below halftime status.