Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
What is financial aid?
Financial aid consists of grants, scholarships, loans, and employment opportunities that are available to help students pay for the cost of attending the university. Most financial aid resources are based on your documented financial need and are intended to supplement, not to replace, your financial resources. Financial need is determined from the information you supply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). http://www.fafsa.ed.gov Grants are gift assistance awarded on the basis of financial need and requires no repayment. Scholarships are gift assistance awarded on the basis of academic achievement or other special ability and requires no repayment. Financial need may be a factor in some awards. Loans are money that must be repaid at a future date, usually following graduation or when you cease to be enrolled on at least a half time basis. Need and non-need-based loans are available. Employment is a work-study program of on-or off-campus jobs that involve a direct exchange of money (at least the federal hourly minimum wage) for work performed. Work-study is awarded on the basis of financial need.
Detailed information about financial aid programs is available in the Financial Aid Guide. State financial aid program details are available on the Florida Department of Education's website.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Apply for financial aid each academic year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Beginning in January, you may file either of two formats of the FAFSA, paper or electronic. The electronic version of the form is FAFSA on the Web. FAFSA on the web can be the easier and faster way to file your application; it does not require you to download or install any software. The encrypted Web site contains an optional "Pre-application," which you can print and complete before entering your FAFSA data on-line. As you enter data on-line, there are edits and prompts to help you with the completion of the form. After all required information has been entered, you and your parents (if you are a dependent student) can electronically sign the application. If you filed a FAFSA in the previous year, you can use the Renewal FAFSA, which the U.S. Department of Education will email you a reminder in November or December to complete the Renewal FAFSA on the web.
How do I apply for a loan?
All students who complete an accurate FAFSA will be awarded a loan, if eligible, which can be viewed on iRattler. You must accept your loan on iRattler before it can be processed. All new students to FAMU must sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete Loan Entrance Counseling on www.studentloans.gov. Parent PLUS and Graduate PLUS loans are credit based loans and cannot be accepted on iRattler. Credit checks must be conducted on www.studentloans.gov and once the Office of Financial Aid receives approval the loan will be accepted on iRattler and submitted for completion with the loan processor. PLUS Loans are released when a valid MPN is received. Grad PLUS loans are released when a valid MPN and Grad PLUS loan entrance counseling is completed.
How do I apply for Work Study?
To request consideration for work-study, answer "Yes" on the FAFSA. Each year there are many more requests for work-study than there are funds. Consequently, all eligible students cannot be awarded work-study.
How do I apply for scholarships? The scholarship process at FAMU begins with your admission application. Foundation Scholarships are awarded through the University Foundation application process http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?GiveToFAMU&FoundationScholarships . All institutional scholarships are awarded directly through the department offering scholarship funds. We also encourage all students to use search engines such as www.fastweb.com and other resources for scholarship opportunities.
Can I apply for financial aid as an independent student? Federal regulations define your dependency status. If your answer to each of the questions stated on the FAFSA is "no," you are a dependent student. The Office of Financial Aid recognizes that the definition of a "dependent" student stated on the FAFSA does not accommodate extenuating family circumstances. There may be family circumstances in which a federally defined dependent student should be considered as "independent." The Office of Financial Aid Professional Judgment Appeals Committee reviews such circumstances. To request such a review, complete the Dependency Override Appeal Form. Notice: The following circumstances do not qualify; singularly or in combination, as extenuating circumstances and do not merit a dependency override:
1. Parents refusal to contribute to your education.
2. Parents are unwilling to provide information the FAFSA or for verification, which is the process by which a college or university confirms the data on an individual student's FAFSA.
3. Parents do not claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes.
4. You demonstrate total self-sufficiency.
What is the FAFSA application processing priority date?
The FAFSA application processing priority date for FAMU is March 1st. Your FAFSA should be filed by March 1 for financial aid consideration during the fall and spring semesters. Use the Florida A&M University federal school code, 001480, on your FAFSA to assure that the application data is sent to FAMU. You may submit the FAFSA after the priority date, but it is likely that only loans will be available. It is unlikely that gift aid other than the Federal Pell Grant (for undergraduate students only) or work-study will be available.
Where can I get help completing my FAFSA?
The U.S. Department of Education provides help on-line in completing the FAFSA and via telephone at the Federal Student Aid Information Center: 1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243]. The center's hours of operation are 8:00 AM to midnight Monday through Friday, Eastern Standard Time and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday.
What happens after I file my FAFSA?
Approximately 72 hours after filing your electronic FAFSA, the federal processor will email a Student Aid Report (SAR) to you at the email address listed on your FAFSA. You can access your SAR on-line by providing your Social Security number, date of birth, and first two letters of your last name. Your SAR either will identify your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or request that you take additional action, which will allow your EFC to be determined. The EFC is used in determining your financial aid eligibility. Carefully read and follow your SAR instructions. You are not required to submit your SAR to OFA. The FAFSA processing agency will electronically transmit your SAR data to OFA, if you listed the FAMU federal school code, 001480, on your FAFSA. If you do not receive your SAR within four weeks of filing your FAFSA, you should telephone the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4 FED-AID [1-800-433-3243] to determine the processing status of your application. Special Note: If you apply via FAFSA on the Web and do not provide an e-mail address, the federal processor will send you a SAR Information Acknowledgement. It has fewer and less detailed comments than the SAR. For that reason the SAR Information Acknowledgement, unlike the SAR, cannot be used to make corrections to your FAFSA. The Office of Financial Aid will notify you of your financial aid eligibility status during late spring or early summer provided all required supplemental documents, if any, have been received and you are admitted to an eligible program. Late applicants are notified subsequently on a weekly rolling basis. Your EFC helps determine your financial need. Financial need is the difference between your total annual educational expenses and your EFC. To determine your financial need, the Office of Financial Aid subtracts your EFC from the average cost of attendance (COA) for your program and grade level at FAMU (COA - EFC = Financial Need).
How do I receive my award letter?
The Office of Financial Aid sends award letters electronically to all students. Each student will receive one notification. Please continue to check iRattler for any updated financial aid information. Financial aid is paid in two disbursements if the award is for the academic year, half in the fall semester and the other half in the spring semester. All First Time In College (FTIC) student loans are delayed the first 30 days of their beginning semester. If the award is for only one semester, payment of a Federal Stafford Loan will be made in two disbursements within the semester; other aid will be disbursed in one payment. Your financial aid will be credited to your student account to pay for (1) your tuition and fees and (2) room and board, if applicable. When tuition and fees, room and board, are paid, your remaining aid, if any, will be disbursed to you as a student refund. The University Controller's Office will either direct deposit the refund in a bank account you have selected or mail the check to your home address that is on file with the Office of the Registrar. Note: Only the Office of the Registrar can change your address on university records unless you update your address by logging onto iRattler. CAUTION: If you have outstanding university debts other than the three named above, you will be responsible for paying them from your remaining financial aid. If you want the university to deduct payment for such debts from your financial aid, you must complete a "Title IV Authorization/Restriction Form."
What is verification?
The process by which a college or university confirms the data on an individual student's FAFSA is called verification. The federal processor selects the FAFSAs for which the data submitted must be verified. If your application is selected for verification, you will be required to provide the Office of Financial Aid with documentation in support of the information reported on your application. For this purpose, you will be asked to submit documents such as a copy of your federal income tax return(s) (along with your parents' if you are a dependent student; or your spouse's, if you are married) or a statement certifying non-tax-filer status. You also will be asked to complete an dependent or independent verification worksheet.
How can I get my FAFSA that I completed for another school sent to FAMU?
To have a copy of the FAFSA that you completed for financial aid consideration at another school sent to FAMU, please call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243] and request the addition of the FAMU federal code (001480) to your FAFSA. In addition, you may go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov and add FAMU to your Student Aid Report (SAR).
What if I do not qualify for any need-based financial aid?
If you are not eligible for need-based financial aid, you will be offered a non-need-based unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan.
If I take classes at another university as well as FAMU, can I receive financial aid at both institutions?
No; you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant or Stafford Loans from two schools simultaneously. The school you plan to receive your degree from should be the school where you receive financial aid.
What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw from the university?
The university refund policy is stated in the Schedule of Classes. Financial aid recipients who withdraw from all classes may be required to repay a portion of the aid received. OFA strongly encourages you to discuss with a Financial Aid Administrator the effect that withdrawing from all classes will have on your financial aid before you implement the change. All Bright Futures recipients who withdraw from a course must repay the funds before eligibility can be determined for the next year. After officially withdrawing from all classes, you must immediately notify OFA of your enrollment status change.
How can I get a copy of my federal tax form?
In most cases, a "Tax Return Transcript" from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will meet financial aid requirements. The transcripts can be ordered on a Form 4506, "Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form," which is available at http://www.irs.gov. NOTICE: Written requests submitted on IRS Form 4506 and requests made via telephone (1-800-829-1040) should be fulfilled within 10 to 15 days. The IRS has provided an information sheet with detailed steps on how to make the request.
Where can I submit a request for a loan deferment?
Please contact your loan servicer to obtain a loan deferment form, then submit completed deferment form to the Registrar's Office for enrollment verification.