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A1)—All students applying for federal and state financial assistance must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This can be done either with the paper application or on-line at www.fafsa.ed.gov . The on-line option is the fastest method of the two. Students must apply every year for financial assistance. The USF Federal School Code is 001664.
A2)—All students applying for financial assistance are required to complete the USF Student Profile Form . Do not send in tax returns or other information unless it is requested from you at a later time.
A3)—The only way we can assess whether you qualify for assistance is if you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) . After the initial review of your FAFSA we may be required to request additional documents to verify certain items on your application. After a complete review, we will send you a Financial Aid Award Letter stating the maximum amounts of aid you will be eligible to receive. Do not take someone else’s word that you won’t qualify. Every family’s financial situation is different. We can guarantee you one thing—you cannot qualify for financial assistance if you do not apply.
A4)— Applicants are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. As files are reviewed, completed and awarded accordingly. Apply early and respond to all missing items requests for additional information.
A5)—The federal government selects a portion of the applications for verification. This means that Financial Aid Services must collect tax documents and other information to verify the information you submitted. If necessary, FAS makes corrections to the data and continues to process your assistance when the corrections are received. (more)
A6)—Yes, both missing document requests and financial aid awards can be viewed on-line at MyUSF Portal . You can also accept your loans on-line using this valuable tool. In the very near future ALL correspondence with USF students will be accomplished through MyUSF Portal and E-Mail. Please ensure your preferred E-Mail address is updated in the portal and please check your E-Mail at least twice a week .
A7)—A subsidized loan is available to students who have financial need based upon the Federal formula. While a student is enrolled at least half-time (six credits for undergraduates—four credits for graduates) the federal government pays the interest on this loan on the student’s behalf. This interest payment also occurs during the six month grace period.
An unsubsidized loan is available to students to assist with educational expenses. This federal loan is not based upon financial need and therefore all students are eligible to apply. Students are responsible for paying the interest on an unsubsidized loan. While enrolled, students have the option to pay the quarterly accrued interest. Any outstanding interest remaining will be capitalized (added on) to the principal balance.
A8)—First you need to sign and return the award letter telling us you want the loan. You can also accept your loan via MYUSF portal . If you are a first time borrower at USF you will need to complete a Loan Entrance Interview online at Direct Loan Servicing Online , you can also electronically sign your Master Promissory Note on the same website. We highly recommend using electronic services.
A9)—Different forms of aid require certain enrollment to get the maximum aid that is stated on the initial award notification. Federal Pell Grant recipients must be enrolled at least 12 credit hours to receive the maximum Pell Grant. The stated Pell Grant is reduced to 75 percent for enrollment of 9-11 credits and is reduced to 50 percent for enrollment of 6-8 credits.
If you are eligible for the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, you must be enrolled full-time, 15 or more credit hours, to qualify for the full award amount listed on your award letter. Your award will be prorated for all credit hours less than 15. In other words, MAP has a different award value for every enrollment situation from 3 credit hours to 15 credit hours. Your award is prorated at the time the aid is disbursed.
A10)—Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to continue to receive their aid. The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is explained fully on our website.
A11)—If your financial assistance completely covers your bill and there is money left over, you can get a voucher for your books that will later be deducted from your financial assistance. Barnes & Noble has a computerized listing of all students who are eligible for book vouchers. Be sure to give Barnes & Noble your USF Student ID number for identification purposes. If you are not currently eligible to receive a voucher, your name will not be on the listing. If your file is not complete, you will not be eligible to receive a book voucher at all.
A12)—Any change to a student’s enrollment, especially a drop in credit hours, may impact your financial aid award and tuition bill. There are many factors that should be considered before dropping or withdrawing from a class. It is highly recommended for students to contact their advisor and Financial Aid Services to evaluate their options.
A13)—Financial Aid Services is required to calculate a Return of Title IV Funds on all students who withdraw from all of their classes. This process also requires a review of students who receive all “F” grades to see if they attended and earned the failing grades or did not attend and did not officially withdraw. It is very likely that a portion of the aid received will need to be paid back to the federal government and USF. This policy is required by law, and students who owe a refund on Title IV aid cannot receive assistance at any school until it is repaid. Students must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Process and withdrawals may impact future aid eligibility.
A14)—If the assistance presented in your Financial Aid Award Letter does not meet your educational expenses, you should contact Financial Aid Services. A counselor will review your situation to evaluate additional loan, outside loan options, or special circumstances.
A15)—If your assistance is greater than your bill, any amounts due you will be refunded to you in the form of a check from the Business Office. This check will be mailed to your home address. Per request in advance to the Business Office, this check can be picked up during normal office hours.
A16)—Students applying for summer aid must have the previous year’s FAFSA on file. Undergraduate students are required to complete a separate application for financial aid that becomes available in April preceding the summer courses. This application is available on paper, but the easiest way to complete it is online.
A17)—You will be classified as a dependent student unless you can answer “Yes” to any of the questions in Step Three of the FAFSA. If you cannot answer yes to any of these questions, your parent(s) financial information and signatures will be needed to complete the FAFSA and any documents we request from you. If there is an extreme situation regarding your dependency status, contact Financial Aid Services for a further review.
A18)—If you or your family experiences a change in financial situation, you can contact Financial Aid Services to see if you qualify for special circumstances. You will be asked to complete a form describing the change and provide supporting documentation of the financial impact. Common situations may be loss of employment, a reduction in income, extensive medical or dental expenses, divorce/separation, and/or the death of a parent or spouse.
A19)—If you are still interested in a loan, an alternative loan might be a different option. Alternative loans are available through private lenders, but these loans are credit based and may require a co-signer. These loans do have deferment options while the student is in school but the interest rate on alternative loans is higher than the federal loan programs. If you don’t want to borrow a loan, USF has a “Ten Pay Plan” available at a cost of $90 per semester. This plan is available through the Business Office and helps to spread out the payments over the course of the academic year.