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Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions


Questions

  1. What is Financial Aid?
  2. Do I need to apply for admissions before I apply for Financial Aid?
  3. What is the priority deadline for Financial Aid?
  4. Can I receive Financial Aid at two schools for the same semester?
  5. Do I have to include parent information on the FAFSA, or can I be considered "independent"?
  6. I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
  7. Do I have to reapply for aid every year?
  8. I applied for aid at a different school, but now I want to attend GSU. What should I do?
  9. My parents refuse to give me their financial documents. What are my options?
  10. Do I have to apply every semester?
  11. If my parents are divorced and I am a dependent student, whose information do I report on the FAFSA?
  12. Do I report stepparent's information on the FAFSA?
  13. What do I do if I did not keep a copy of my taxes or W-2s?
  14. When I received my Student Aid Report in the mail, it said I was selected for verification. What does this mean, and what will I need to do to complete the verification process?
  15. If I was selected to be verified last year, does that mean I will also be selected this year?
  16. Are graduate students eligible for Pell Grants?
  17. Do I have to be a full time student to be eligible for a Student Loan?
  18. What is a Master Promissory Note?
  19. What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan?
  20. When will I receive a financial aid award notification?
  21. I plan to attend during the summer term, but when I got my award letter, it only shows an award for fall and spring semesters. Why? 
  22. How do I receive a scholarship?

1)  What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is defined as any resource that you receive (other than funds that you receive from your parents and your non-need based earnings) to assist you in paying for college. It includes (but is not limited to) loans, grants, scholarships, tuition and fee waivers, work-study athletic scholarships, and veterans benefits.

2)  Do I need to apply for admissions before I apply for Financial Aid?

No. You should submit the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) each year as soon as possible (October 1). 

NOTE: The Office of Financial Aid cannot complete the awarding process until you are admitted to the university. So, you should begin the admissions application process as soon as you can.

3)  What is the priority deadline for Financial Aid?

The priority deadline is March 1. You must have your FAFSA filed and all other necessary documents submitted to the Financial Aid Office by this date to ensure that your financial aid award will be processed on time.

4)  Can I receive Financial Aid at two schools for the same semester?

No! If you will be taking classes, you can only receive federal financial aid from the school you will be pursuing a degree from.

5)  Do I have to include parent information on the FAFSA, or can I be considered "independent"?

The guidelines to determine your dependency status are listed on the FAFSA. If you answer "yes" to at least one of the questions listed, you will be considered an independent student by the U.S. Department of Education and therefore do not need to include parent information on the FAFSA. If your parent is remarried and you are a "dependent" student as defined by the federal processor, you will also need to provide your step-parent's information and income on the FAFSA.

You must be able to answer "YES" to at least one of the following:

  1. Are you 24 years of age prior to January 1?
  2. As of today, are you married?
  3. Do you have any children who receive more than half of their support from
    you?
  4. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with
    you and who receive more that half their support from you, now and through
    the end of the upcoming academic year.
  5. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward of the court?
  6. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  7. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training? statement)
  8. Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  9. Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  10. Are you homeless or at risk of being homeless?
  11. At the beginning of the academic year, will you be working on a Master's or Doctorate degree?

You may file an appeal with our office if you have extenuating circumstances such as both parents being deceased or incarcerated.

The Financial Aid Office will not be able to approve a dependency override for the following circumstances:

  • You live on your own and pay all of your own bills
  • Your parent(s) do not claim you on their tax returns
  • Your parent(s) refuse to give information on FAFSA or verification documents
  • Your parent(s) do not financially support you

6)  I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free. There is no good excuse for not applying.

7)  Do I have to reapply for aid every year?

Yes. In order to receive financial aid, our office requires you to fill out a new FAFSA each year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year you will receive notification of a "Renewal Application" from the Department of Education which contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on you making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.

8)  I applied for aid at a different school, but now I want to attend GSU. What should I do?

If you listed Grambling's school code (002006) on your FAFSA and you have been admitted to the University, we will be able to begin the financial aid process. If you have not, you will need to add our school code to your FAFSA by going online to: www.fafsa.ed.gov and then “Make FAFSA corrections”

9)  My parents refuse to give me their financial documents. What are my options?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to process your financial aid award without your parent’s information if you are a dependent student.

10)  Do I have to apply every semester?

No. A student must apply for financial aid each "Academic Year" that they plan to attend. The academic year at GSU begins with the Fall semester and includes the following Spring and Summer semesters.

11)  If my parents are divorced and I am a dependent student, whose information do I report on the FAFSA?

You would report information about the parent you lived with for the greater amount of time during the 12 months preceding the date you file your FAFSA application.

If you didn't live with either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal amount of time, then use information about the parent who provided the greater amount of financial support during the 12 months prior to the date you file your FAFSA application.

If you didn't receive any parental financial support during that time, you must report information about the parent who most recently provided the greater amount of parental support.

12)  Do I report stepparent's information on the FAFSA?

Your stepparent's financial information is required on the FAFSA if:

- the parent you received financial support from was a single parent who is now remarried.
- the parent you received financial support from was divorced or widowed but has now remarried

This does not mean your stepparent is obligated to give financial assistance to you, but his or her income and assets represent significant information about the family's financial resources. Including this information on the FAFSA helps the Federal Processor form an accurate picture of your family's total financial strength.

13)  What do I do if I did not keep a copy of my taxes or W-2s?

The IRS offers a free tax return transcript that shows most line items contained on the return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, a tax return transcript will meet the requirements for your financial aid department. The transcript can be ordered from irs.gov

14)  When I received my Student Aid Report in the mail, it said I was selected for verification. What does this mean, and what will I need to do to complete the verification process?

The U.S. Department of Education selects a percentage of financial aid applications for additional review each year. This review process is known as verification.

A student whose application is selected for verification must document the accuracy of the application information by submitting information regarding:

  1. Adjusted Gross Income 
  2. Parents' Tax Return Transcript - required if student was required to complete the FAFSA with parent information and the parent did not do the IRS data retrieval on the FAFSA
  3. Household Size
  4. Number in College
  5. Sources and amounts of Untaxed Income

The Financial Aid Office will contact students selected for verification via their banner web account. Students will be notified what documentation is required to complete the verification process. The documentation will be compared to the original application and any corrections will be made through the Federal Processor. A response to the corrections must be received from the Federal Processor before a financial aid award can be made. Students who are selected for verification and do not provide all requested documentation will not receive an award while their file remains incomplete.

15)  If I was selected to be verified last year, does that mean I will also be selected this year?

Not necessarily. You will know when you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) each year if you have been selected for verification.

16)  Are graduate students eligible for Pell Grants?

No. The Federal Pell Grant is funded only for financially eligible undergraduate students (as determined by the FAFSA) who have not completed a Bachelor's or professional degree.

17)  Do I have to be a full time student to be eligible for a Student Loan?

No, you must be enrolled in at least six hours as an undergraduate or five hours as a graduate.

18)  What is a Master Promissory Note?

A promissory note is the legal agreement between you and your lender stating they agree to disburse the funds on your behalf and you agree to repay the loan in due course.

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

If you are eligible for and take out a subsidized direct loan, the federal government will pay the interest for you while you are in school and up to six months after you cease to be a student (at least half-time), at which time you will need to begin repaying the loan.

If you are eligible for and take out an unsubsidized direct loan, you are responsible for all the interest that accumulates. You will have the option of either paying the interest as it accumulates or capitalizing the interest (adding it to the principal balance). If you choose to pay the interest back as it accumulates you will pay less in interest overall. Like a subsidized loan, you will have to begin payment six-months after you cease to be a student (at least half-time).

20)  When will I receive a financial aid award notification?

Students who have been admitted to the University will be packaged for financial aid when the Financial Aid Office has received valid FAFSA results from the Department of Education and any necessary documentation is completed. The University notifies students when awards are ready to be accepted on banner web.   If you are an incoming freshman or a transferring student, you will receive an email that explains how to accept your awards on banner web.  

21)  I plan to attend during the summer term, but when I got my award letter, it only shows an award for fall and spring semesters. Why?  

Financial aid for summer is awarded separately. Generally, we offer your maximum eligibility for fall/spring. If you plan to attend during the summer and accepted all the aid offered to you for fall/spring, you may have no remaining eligibility left for summer. We review summer aid eligibility after spring grades are evaluated and after you have registered for summer term.

22)  How do I receive a scholarship?

Academic Scholarships are awarded to New Freshmen admitted by Dec. 1 of each year with the highest academic scores based on the scholarship criteria listed on http://www.gram.edu/finaid/scholarships/. The Scholarship Committee pulls the pool of students that are admitted after Dec.1 of each year and sends notices to students that are awarded. The students with the highest test scores and GPA are awarded an Academic Scholarship. There are also other scholarships listed on http://www.gram.edu/finaid/scholarships/ that continuing students may apply for.