Financial Aid FAQ's

How do I apply for financial aid?
What are the steps required to complete a FAFSA?
When is St. Thomas University's priority deadline for financial aid purposes?
How do I know if I am a dependent or independent student?
How long does it take to process my FAFSA?
When will my financial aid be awarded?
How can I get work-study? Can I keep all of my work-study money?
What is Financial Aid verification?
What do I need to submit in order to complete the verification process?
Do I need to be admitted before I apply for financial aid?
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven’t heard anything. What should I do?
I completed my FAFSA and now my family’s circumstances have changed. What should I do?
What are the most common mistakes people make on their FAFSA?
St. Thomas University is not listed on my SAR. What should I do?
My SAR says that I have been selected for verification. What do I need to submit?
My SAR isn’t accurate. How do I correct it?
If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?
How do grades affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid?
What happens to my financial aid if I decide to drop classes or withdraw from the University?
I am back in college. How do I stop making payments on my student loans?
I applied for financial aid. Why was I only offered loans?
How can I buy books if my financial aid isn’t here yet?
Who do I call to find out about my bill?
How do I know if I am entitled to a financial aid refund?
I probably don’t qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
St. Thomas University is not listed on my SAR. What should I do?
If I was convicted on a drug-related charge while receiving federal aid, what will happen to my financial aid?



How do I apply for financial aid?

The first step in completing the financial aid process is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines a student’s financial need, and how much the school is able to award the student in financial aid. It is recommended that the FAFSA be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The result of your FAFSA is called the Student Aid Report (SAR) and it summarizes the data you reported on your application. You will receive your SAR via e-mail confirmation. Please be sure to read and review this information carefully for accuracy. Should you need to make corrections you may do so online utilizing your Personal Identification Number (PIN) provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Be sure to E-sign your correction request prior to submission.
St. Thomas University's Federal School Code is 001468.


What are the steps required to complete a FAFSA?

The first step is to request a pin number, which is the electronic signature. The PIN request is done online at: http://www.pin.ed.gov once the pin number has been sent electronically (usually takes 48 hours); the FAFSA needs to be completed online using the student and parent’s tax transcripts from the previous year if they are a dependent student, or just their taxes (and spouse, if applicable) if they are an independent student. A parent of a dependent student needs to request a PIN number as well in order to sign this application electronically.


When is St. Thomas University's priority deadline for financial aid purposes?
 
All financial aid documents, including the result of the FAFSA or renewal FAFSA must be received by the Office of Financial Aid on April 1st to be considered "on time". Students whose files are completed accurately by this deadline will receive priority consideration for limited Federal State and/or Institutional funds. Students who complete their financial aid file after the priority deadline of April 1st will be processed in the order of completion date, but may not receive an award determination by the beginning of the Fall semester depending on file completion date. Late applicants should plan to have adequate resources to meet their tuition and living expenses.

Note: If you applied for financial aid by April 1st an award letter will be sent to you by June 1st. If you have applied by the priority deadline and have not heard from the Office of Financial Aid by July 1st, please contact the Bobcat Enrollment Center at 305-474-6900.


How do I know if I am a dependent or independent student? 

Students who are over the age of 24, married or have dependents of their own that they support more than 50% are considered independent students for financial aid purposes. Special circumstances will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Office of Financial Aid.


How long does it take to process my FAFSA?

If the application is completed online it takes 3-5 business days to be received and up to 14 business days for processing.


When will my financial aid be awarded?

Once the FAFSA is received by the Office of Financial Aid, an estimated award letter is sent to the student, and the proper documents that are needed to process the aid are requested. All documents that are needed must be completed online or submitted to the Bobcat Enrollment Center before any financial aid can be posted to the student’s account. If all documents needed to process your awards are submitted on time, your aid will be applied after the add/drop period for the term.


How can I get work-study? Can I keep all of my work-study money?

In order for a student to receive work-study, the student must indicate on their FAFSA that they want work-study, and the FAFSA must be received before April 1st of the new academic year for the student to be considered. If the work-study is part of the financial aid needed to pay their fees for that academic year, the student has the option to complete a work- study agreement form at Bobcat Enrollment Center indicating that their checks automatically go to the Business Office.


What is Financial Aid verification?
 
Verification is the process of verifying the information that the undergraduate student submitted on their FAFSA. The Department of Education picks 30 percent of all students receiving financial aid during the academic year.


What do I need to submit in order to complete the verification process?

If selected, the student needs to complete a dependent or independent student worksheet online at www.stu.edu/faforms. The student would also need to submit all tax transcripts and W2’s applicable for the previous year. This process of verification has to be completed before the student is able to receive any financial aid.

Do I need to be admitted before I apply for financial aid? 
No, you do not need to be admitted, but you must apply to the University prior to applying for financial aid. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1 by completing your FAFSA. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at the university.
 

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. Financial Aid awards are not renewable and require that you submit a new application every year. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
 

I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven’t heard anything. What should I do?
If you haven’t received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID to find out whether your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.
 

I completed my FAFSA and now my family’s circumstances have changed. What should I do?
A Financial Aid Administrator may exercise professional judgment to assist students that have extenuating circumstances which warrant a reevaluation of their eligibility for financial aid. These circumstances are as follows:

  • Involuntary loss of employment (e.g. termination, lay off) of student, spouse, mother or father;
  • Reduction or loss of untaxed income or benefits (e.g. unemployment compensation, etc.) for student, spouse, mother or father;
  • Divorce or separation of student or parent;
  • Death of mother, father or spouse;
  • Extraordinary medical expenses paid by student, spouse, mother or father not covered by insurance.
  • The Professional Judgment form must be completed and submitted along with all documents required for your special circumstance. Please see an Enrollment Specialist at the Bobcat Enrollment Center to request the Professional Judgment Form.

Note: If you are a dependent student, provide documentation for both yourself and your parent(s). If you are independent, provide documentation for both yourself and your spouse (if married).
 

What are the most common mistakes people make on their FAFSA?
Here are some tips on how to avoid these mistakes. Click here to see the most common errors people make when completing their FAFSA. Remember that making mistakes on your FAFSA could delay your application and possibly make you lose out on some financial aid.
 

St. Thomas University is not listed on my SAR. What should I do? 
The fastest way to ensure we get your FAFSA data is to make an electronic correction to your FAFSA data on line atwww.fafsa.gov. If you do not have internet access you must call the Federal Student Aid Processor at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) to add our school code. You will need your four-digit Data Release Number (DRN), found on the first page of your SAR, and the six-digit Title IV school code for St. Thomas University. Our school code is 001468.
 

My SAR says that I have been selected for verification. What do I need to submit? 
If you have been selected for verification you must submit your and your spouse’s (if married) and/or your parent’s (if dependent student) most recent year’s income tax returns and the verification worksheet.
 

My SAR isn’t accurate. How do I correct it?
The fastest way to correct errors on your SAR is online at www.fafsa.gov, using your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

 
If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?
Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of 6 months and the Perkins loan a grace period of 9 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period expires. If you use all of your grace period, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.
 

How do grades affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid? 
Students must make satisfactory academic progress towards their degrees in order to continue to receive financial aid. Please refer to our standards of satisfactory academic progress page for more information.
 

What happens to my financial aid if I decide to drop classes or withdraw from the University?
Depending on when you drop classes or withdraw from the University, you may be required to repay a portion, or all, of any financial aid you have received for the term. Dropping classes or withdrawing may affect your eligibility for the current term and subsequent terms. Contact an Enrollment Specialist at the Bobcat Enrollment Center prior to dropping classes or withdrawing from the University to find out how your decision may affect your financial aid and avoid any unnecessary financial hardship.
 

I am back in college. How do I stop making payments on my student loans? 
Generally, you must demonstrate to your lender(s) that your current enrollment meets the criteria for the deferment of your loan payments. If you have loans from more than one source, or more than one type of loan, you may have to notify each lender individually. Contact your lender(s) for more information regarding deferment options.
 

I applied for financial aid. Why was I only offered loans?
Loans are a form of student financial aid. Grant aid is limited, and is typically awarded to students demonstrating relatively high levels of need. Student loans offer the opportunity to borrow money to help pay for college at an interest rate and with repayment terms that would not otherwise be available. Students are not required to take out a loan, but in some cases loans are the only form of student financial aid for which a student is eligible.
 

How can I buy books if my financial aid isn’t here yet? 
At the beginning of each term, students who have financial aid awards exceeding their institutional charges may request a Bookstore Gift Card at the Bobcat Enrollment Center to purchase their books at the University’s Bookstore.
 

Who do I call to find out about my bill? 
You may call St. Thomas University’s Bobcat Enrollment Center at (305) 474-6900.
 

How do I know if I am entitled to a financial aid refund?
If your total financial aid award (excluding loan fees) exceeds the total amount due on your University billing statement you are entitled to a refund. After funds are credited to your University account and your account reflects an overage of funds, the University’s Business Office will issue you a refund for the overage. Your refund will be directly deposited into your personal bank account. Contact STU’s Bobcat Enrollment Center at (305) 474-6900 for additional information.
 

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.
 

St. Thomas University is not listed on my SAR. What should I do? 
The fastest way to ensure we get your FAFSA data is to make an electronic correction to your FAFSA data on line atwww.fafsa.gov. If you do not have internet access you must call the Federal Student Aid Processor at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) to add our school code. You will need your four-digit Data Release Number (DRN), found on the first page of your SAR, and the six-digit Title IV school code for St. Thomas University. Our school code is 001468.
 
The Office of Financial Aid will inform you in writing that your financial aid has been cancelled. You must contact an Enrollment Specialist at Bobcat Enrollment Center on how you may reinstate your eligibility for financial aid.
 

If I was convicted on a drug-related charge while receiving federal aid, what will happen to my financial aid?
The Office of Financial Aid will inform you in writing that your financial aid has been cancelled. You must contact an Enrollment Specialist at Bobcat Enrollment Center on how you may reinstate your eligibility for financial aid.