Frequently Asked Questions

Please refer to the list of common questions our office typically receives below. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us at finaid@sf.edu.

Financial Aid FAQ

Applying for Aid

What do I need to do to apply for financial aid at the University of Saint Francis?

If you wish to be considered for federal, state and institutional funding through USF, you must:

What is the USF’s Federal School Code?

The Federal School Code for USF is 001832.

Who is considered an independent student?

Based on the definition established by the federal government, you’re independent if you:

  • are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the year prior to filing the FAFSA;
  • are a graduate or professional student;
  • are married when you file the FAFSA;
  • have legal dependents other than a spouse who receive more than half of their support from you;
  • were an orphan or ward of the court until age 18;
  • are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Why am I required to report my parents’ income for the purposes of determining student aid when they do not plan to assist me with my college costs?

If you are a dependent student as defined by the federal government, you must report not only your own income on the FAFSA, but the income(s) of your parent(s) as well. The parents of dependent students are expected to contribute to their educational costs and federal student aid programs are based on this concept. Simply living outside of your parental home without their support does not make you an independent student based upon the definition used by Federal Student Aid.

My parents are not married. How do I complete the parent section of the FAFSA?

Answer the FAFSA parent questions about the parent that you lived with most during the past twelve months. If this parent is remarried as of the FAFSA filing date, answer the FAFSA parent questions about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).

Is there a priority deadline in applying for financial aid?

Yes. You can file the FAFSA beginning October 1 and will need to submit it before the USF priority deadline of April 15 for institutional funding. The university will only award institutional funds to students completing the FAFSA after the April 15 deadline as funds are available. April 15 is also the FAFSA deadline if you wish to be considered for funds from the State of Indiana. If you miss the April 15 deadline, you should still be able to file the FAFSA, but you will not be considered for grants from the State of Indiana.

How do I know that my FAFSA has been received and processed?

When you file your FAFSA, you will receive a confirmation page that indicates your FAFSA has been successfully submitted. Please print a copy of your confirmation page for your records. You may log in to My FAFSA to check the status of your FAFSA application at any time. You will receive a link to your Student Aid Report via email in approximately two to three weeks. Make sure to watch your junk mail folder if you use an email filter.

Awarding

When will USF notify me about my financial aid package?

If you are a new student, you will receive your financial aid notification as early as mid-March, provided that you have been accepted to USF and your FAFSA has been received. For returning students, you will receive your aid notification as early as mid-May (for students who receive electronic notifications), provided that you are enrolled for the upcoming semester, your FAFSA has been received, you have submitted supporting documents if requested and USF has verified satisfactory academic progress.

Is there any way to find out what my family may be expected to pay prior to receiving my financial aid package?

Yes. Whether you are a first-time freshman or a new transfer student, you can use the Net Price Calculator, which has been devised by USF to assist your family in estimating net price by approximating scholarship and other sources of gift aid.

How does USF determine my financial need?

Your financial need is determined by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from USF’s set Cost of Attendance.

How does the government determine my EFC?

The EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is measured based on the information you reported on your FAFSA. The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law and includes such components as your family’s income, assets and benefits. Family size and the number of family members in college are also considered. Your EFC will be reported to you on your FAFSA confirmation page and via the Student Aid Report (SAR). The EFC is an index number by which the university will calculate eligibility, but is not a guarantee of how much you will be billed.

Why have I been asked to submit copies of my tax return transcripts for verification?

A portion of all students who file a FAFSA are selected for verification by the federal government. It is very important that you submit all requested documentation, as you will not receive funding until verification is complete.

What is a Pell Grant and how do I know if I am eligible for one?

The Pell Grant is a federal award that is given to undergraduate students with no prior bachelor’s degree who demonstrate financial need. The amount you receive depends on your level of financial need as determined by your EFC, Cost of Attendance and full- or part-time enrollment status. You will be notified by USFin your financial aid award letter if you are eligible for a Pell Grant.

What should I do if my financial circumstances change after applying for financial aid?

If your family experiences a change in your financial circumstances, such as an involuntary loss of employment or unusual medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance, you may request a review of your financial aid file. Professional judgments are reserved for extreme situations and you must provide the appropriate documentation requested.

Disbursement of Aid

I expect an overpayment of financial aid that I will use for education-related living expenses. When can I expect to receive this check?

Your federal, state and institutional financial aid funds, with the exception of your federal work-study award, will be disbursed at the start of each semester to your student account after your financial aid file is complete. Generally, the Business Office begins mailing student account overpayment checks the second week of each semester. The Business Office prints overpayment checks once per week thereafter.

Please contact the Business Office at busofc@sf.edu with any questions regarding your expected overpayment check.

I would like to purchase my books and supplies, but my overpayment check has not yet arrived. What should I do?

Please contact the Business Office at busofc@sf.edu to see if you qualify for a book voucher. A book voucher may be available to you if the Business Office calculates an anticipated student account credit.

When will I receive my bill? When is it due?

Billing information for the fall semester will be mailed to your address on file with the university in July and the balance is due by the statement date in mid August. Billing information for the spring semester will be mailed to you in December and the balance is due in early January.

All of my financial aid has been disbursed, yet I still show a balance on my bill. What are my options?

Will my federal work-study be credited to my student account?

No. Your federal work-study award allows you to work on-campus to earn money for your college expenses. The amount listed for this award is simply the amount you are eligible to earn, the amount will not be applied to your student account. You will receive a bi-weekly paycheck which can be used for your expenses. The exact amount received will be based on the actual hours worked and your rate of pay.

Scholarships

What types of scholarships and grants are available from USF?

USF offers many scholarship and grant opportunities. Academic scholarships are awarded to incoming full-time undergraduate students to USF. Academic scholarships are automatically offered to you by the Office of Admissions if you are a qualifying incoming student. Additional sources of aid are available from USF as well.

When will I be notified if I am receiving a USF scholarship?

Generally, you will be notified of your award through the Financial Aid Award Notification. Financial Aid Award Notifications are sent to new students beginning in mid-March and to returning students in mid-May.

Where can I go to look for information on outside scholarships?

  • Check out our list private scholarship opportunities, where outside scholarship applications are posted on a rolling basis.
  • Complete a free online scholarship search. Some recommended sites are available on our Financial Aid Links page.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open for scholarship opportunities in your community. Local businesses and hospitals, philanthropic organizations, churches andparent or student employers are examples of places that may offer scholarships.
  • High school seniors often have an excellent resource in their high school guidance office.

Loans

What is a federal Direct Loan? How can I apply for one?

Federal Direct Loans are for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. You must be enrolled as at least a half-time student (six credit hours) to be eligible for a Direct Loan. You do not need to have financial need to qualify for a Direct Loan; however, if you are an undergraduate student and demonstrate financial need, the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest that accrues on your loan during certain periods.

Direct Loan eligibility is limited by cost of attendance and by both yearly and cumulative maximums. You will be notified of your Direct Loan eligibility on your financial aid award notification from USF. To apply for the federal Direct Loan, you must have a FAFSA on file, complete a federal Master Promissory Note (MPN) and entrance counseling. The MPN is only required to be completed once and is good for 10 years while attending USF. After the MPN is completed, Direct Loans will credit to the student account each semester unless students notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing that they wish to decline all or a portion of the loan.

What is a Federal PLUS loan and how can I apply for one?

Federal Parent PLUS loans are loans parents can borrow in order to pay for educational costs for their dependent undergraduate children who are enrolled at least halftime. Eligibility is based on credit, not income or need. Your parent may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus your other financial aid as long as you are enrolled at least half time. Your parent will begin repayment of the Parent PLUS loan 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed; however, the parent may request deferment of payment by contacting their loan servicer (contact information available at studentloans.gov).

Federal Grad PLUS loans are loans for graduate students. The graduate student borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and must be enrolled at least halftime. Eligibility is based on credit. You may borrow up to the cost of attendance, minus any other aid you have received. You must complete a FAFSA and have applied for your maximum annual loan eligibility through the federal subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan Program before applying for the Graduate PLUS loan. You may qualify for in-school deferment, though interest will accrue after full disbursement of the loan. You will begin repayment of the loan upon graduation.

I received my billing statement and my Direct Loan has not been credited to my student account. What do I need to do?

There are several potential reasons why your Direct Loan may not have been disbursed to your student account. The two most common reasons are:

  • You have not yet signed the Master Promissory Note (MPN).
  • You have not yet completed your entrance counseling. Entrance Counseling goes over the basics of borrowing and repaying the Direct Loan and is mandatory for all first-time borrowers.

My Financial Aid Award Notification included a Direct Loan that I do not wish to borrow. What do I need to do to decline this award?

Please notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing via email that you wish to decline your Direct Loan. Please include your name, the date and your student ID number in your correspondence.

Why can’t I borrow a higher amount on my loan?

If your loan is a Direct Loan, there are specific yearly borrowing limits that have been outlined by the federal government. Your yearly borrowing limit will depend on the number of credit hours you have completed.Additionally, there are cumulative borrowing limits that may also affect the amount you are eligible to borrow. If you are a dependent undergraduate student, the cumulative Direct Loan maximum is $31,000 (no more than 23,000 of which can be subsidized). Independent undergraduate students may borrow up to $57,500 (no more than 23,000 of which can be subsidized). Graduate students may borrow up to $138,500.

All certified educational loans, including Direct, PLUS and certified alternative loans, are limited by the yearly cost of attendance at the university.

What is the difference between a subsidized and an unsubsidized Direct Loan?

A Direct Subsidized Loan is a need-based federal loan. The government will pay the interest that accrues on this loan while you are enrolled at least half time in school and during the six-month grace period prior to repayment. Interest will begin to accrue at a fixed interest rate once you enter repayment.

A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is a federal loan in which the interest will begin to accrue at a fixed interest rate once the loan is disbursed. You can either opt to pay the interest quarterly or allow the accrued interest to be capitalized (added to the principal of the loan) after graduation. You will still qualify for a six-month grace period prior to beginning repayment following graduation or dropping below half-time status.

Academic Progress

What happens to my student aid if I drop a class?

During USF’s drop/add period, financial aid will be repackaged based on any changes to your enrollment.  After the drop/add period, there will be no enrollment-based change to your financial aid unless you drop below half-time enrollment. Please note that although you will be billed for and will retain financial aid eligibility for any courses that you have dropped after the drop/add period, you will receive a “W” for withdrawal on your transcript. This class will be considered a course that you attempted and must be considered when we review your file for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

What happens to my student aid if I withdraw completely?

If you completely drop all courses during the drop/add period, you will receive a refund, which is calculated based on USF’s refund policy. The refunded portion of your financial aid will be returned to the provider of that aid, while the non-refunded percentage will be retained by USF.

If you completely drop all courses after the drop/add period, you may still receive a refund based on USF’s refund policy. However, all courses dropped are now considered withdrawals. You will receive a W on your transcript for each course and these courses will be considered courses that you attempted when we review your file for SAP.

What if I have special circumstances that prevent me from satisfactorily completing a semester?

If you lose your eligibility for financial aid based on your SAP, you may appeal for reinstatement of your eligibility if circumstances beyond your control prevented you from meeting the established standards. To appeal, you must submit a completed SAP Appeal form along with required supporting documentation. Your appeal must be filed in writing within 30 days of the date of the notification of suspension.

Verification

What is verification?

Verification is the process that requires all colleges and universities participating in federal student aid programs to verify selected students’ data provided on the FAFSA to ensure that information about family and finances are correct.

Who gets selected?

A portion of all students who file a FAFSA are selected for verification by the federal government. It is very important that you submit all requested documentation, as you will not receive funding until verification is complete.

What do I need to do if I am selected?

The verification process requires USF to collect documentation that confirms information regarding your family and finances. This includes, but is not limited to, copies of your Federal Tax Return Transcript for you and your parents if you are a dependent student or you and your spouse if you are married, if you did not utilize the IRS data retrieval feature when filing your FAFSA and the verification worksheet.

Will verification affect my aid?

It depends on the information submitted; if the information on the required documentation matches the information submitted on your FAFSA, your eligibility will not change. If the information submitted is different from the information submitted on your FAFSA, your need-based aid could either increase or decrease depending on the differences found.

When do I need to complete the verification process?

If you receive a letter or email requesting needed materials, you will want to submit these forms as soon as possible in order for the Office of Financial Aid to process your financial aid for the upcoming year. You will not be eligible to receive any form of financial aid until this process is completed, which may cause late fees to be assessed to your student account and the inability to register for classes for the following semester until the process has been completed and the bill paid in full.

Was I selected because I did something wrong?

No. This process was established by the government to ensure the billions of dollars being invested in financial aid programs are being used properly.