Frequently asked questions

Q. How do I apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

A. 5 Steps to Apply For FAFSA

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Since this is a government form, you should be sure to only apply for this on the government website listed below. The FAFSA is what you’ll use to apply for federal and state grants, loans, scholarships and work-study. Apply for FAFSA in January and February of your senior year.

See the 5 easy FAFSA application steps below:

Step 1: Gather all of your family’s tax forms (including the student’s if eligible). Your most current taxes should be filed in order for the FAFSA process to go smoothly. FAFSA requires the student’s form be linked to the IRS website or your family will need to submit a tax transcript later.

Step 2: Apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The student and one parent both need a PIN in order to electronically sign your FAFSA.

Step 3: Go to www.fafsa.gov or www.fafsa.ed.gov to begin your FAFSA.

Step 4: Check your email for your Student Aid Report from the Department of Education. Verify that all of your information is correct. If anything is incorrect, immediately go back to the FAFSA website and make corrections.

Step 5: Check your personal and new college email accounts for your financial aid award letters from each school you listed on your FAFSA. You will need to accept or decline each award package you receive.

*Be sure to check our calendar of events for upcoming FAFSA seminars where foundation College Advisors will be on-hand to assist you.

Q. When does the Office of Student Financial Services make scholarship decisions/offers?

A. Scholarship decisions and offers are made after admission offers are sent to students, beginning February 1 and continuing through the beginning of the Fall semester. Scholarship funds are extremely limited and highly competitive. Every scholarship committee reviews many applications each year. Unfortunately, many qualified students do not receive awards. Only scholarship award recipients will receive official notification from the committees. The scholarship committees in the Office of Student Financial Services generally make their final decisions and will begin notifying award recipients in early April. Though OSFS awards scholarships throughout the calendar year, the office awards the bulk of its scholarships for the upcoming year by the beginning of June.

Q. When do departments makes scholarship decisions and notifications?

A. Scholarship decisions and offers are made after admission offers are sent to students. Contact your academic department to learn about its specific scholarships awarding procedures.

Q. How will I know if I was selected as a scholarship recipient or not?

A. Most universitites notify scholarship recipients by letter and/or email. The Office of Student Financial Services often uses a Financial Aid Notification (FAN) to notify recipients of scholarship awards. Except in specific circumstances, only scholarship recipients receive official notification from the University.

Q. What is the average amount of a scholarship offer?

A. Scholarship amounts vary from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per semester or year. The dollar amounts of scholarships awarded through the Office of Student Financial Services are determined by weighing the student’s documented financial need (as determined by the FAFSA), their scholastic achievements, and any extra-curricular activities. Preference is given to students with the greatest financial need and who are academically worthy. Most college and departmental scholarships are merit-based and vary in amount.

Q. Can I receive more than one scholarship?

A. Yes, but typically universities attempt to distribute its scholarship monies to as many eligible students as possible. Being awarded one scholarship will not necessarily preclude a student from receiving another, however, preference will be given to eligible students who have not been awarded any other scholarship support.

Q. How are scholarship recipients chosen? Are there specific criteria?

A. The following criteria are used (though not always exclusively and not always by every office at the University) in selecting scholarship recipients: financial need, socioeconomic status, academic and extra-curricular achievements, and hardships.

Q. Are my chances of receiving a scholarship enhanced if I complete a financial aid application (FAFSA)? If so, when should I complete it?

A. Most college and departmental scholarships are merit-based, but some University offices also consider socioeconomic disadvantage or financial need as derived from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students who wish to be considered for scholarships through the Office of Student Financial Services are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA along with their scholarship application to assist in the consideration process. Scholarship funds are limited and highly competitive.