Financial Aid FAQs

We would Love to answer your questions

If the FAFSA application and school codes have you scratching your head, you’re in the right place. Want to know more about federal aid and scholarships? Are you on track with your paperwork? Find the answers to your financial aid questions here.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should apply as soon after October 1 of every year as possible. Do not transmit your electronic FAFSA or sign, date or mail your paper FAFSA before October 1. If you do any of these things, your application will NOT be processed, and you will have to reapply.

When your FAFSA is processed, a formula is applied to the information you provided. The formula used to calculate your expected family contribution (EFC) is found on the first page of your Student Aid Report (SAR) and established by law to measure your family's financial strength on the basis of your family's income and assets. The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. If your EFC is below a certain number, you will be eligible for a Pell Grant, assuming you meet all other requirements.

Although the process of determining a student's eligibility for federal student aid is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility. You may qualify for an income adjustment* if:

  • There is a death in the immediate family within the last year.
  • A parent has become unemployed within the last year.
  • Medical expenses were extremely high due to an accident or health issue.
  • A parent becomes temporarily disabled.
  • Parent or guardian died in military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001.

*Note: Cell phone bills, credit card bills, prior debts, automobile payments, mortgage payments or any other personal expenses are not grounds for income adjustments.

Verification is a process where the Office of Financial Aid is required by law to compare the information from your application with the information you provided on the verification worksheet and with signed copies of your most recent federal tax returns (and your spouse's if you are married, or parents’ if you are considered a dependent for federal aid purposes). If there are differences between your application and the documents you have submitted, corrections may need to be made. Your financial aid cannot be processed until the verification process can be completed.

There are seven student status questions located on the second page of the FAFSA application which classify students as dependent or independent. To be considered independent, a student must first be able to answer “yes” to any the following questions:

  • Will you be 24 or older by January 1 of the school year for which you are applying for financial aid?
  • Are you married or separated but not divorced?
  • Will you be working toward a master’s or doctorate degree (such as M.A., MBA, M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., etc.)?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Do you have dependents (other than children or a spouse) who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both of your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a ward or dependent of the court?
  • Are you an emancipated minor or are you in a legal guardianship as determined by a court?
  • Are you an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

All student loans at our university are from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loan) Depending on your financial need, you may borrow subsidized money for an amount up to the annual loan borrowing limit for your year in school (see chart below). With a Direct Subsidized Loan, the federal government does not charge you interest before you begin repayment or during authorized periods of deferment (postponement of payment).

Classification Dependent Independent
Borrower's Academic Level Total Amount Subsidized andUnsubsidized* Total Amount Subsidized and Unsubsidized
0-29 Credits $3,500 +2000 ($4,000) $9,500
30-59 Credits $4,500 + 2000($4,000) $10,500
60+ Credits $5,500 + 2000($5,000) $12,500

*Note: Amount in parentheses is unsubsidized portion of loans based on a denied Parent Plus Loan

After you graduate, leave school or drop below half-time enrollment, you will have a six-month grace period before you begin repayment. During this period, you will receive repayment information, and you'll be notified of your first payment due date. You are responsible for beginning repayment on time, even if you do not receive this information from your lender.

A Direct Plus, also called a Parent Loan, must is used to help parents pay their dependent children's education expenses. If the parent wants to apply, a Direct Plus application must be completed, and the credit decision is based on credit approval. Your parent/parents may borrow up to the amount of your cost of attendance, minus any other financial aid that you receive. The federal government charges your parents interest set by the U.S. Department of Education from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full.

The first payment is due within 60 days after the second disbursement for each year.

It is not uncommon for those independent students or those dependent students whose parents have been denied a Direct Plus loan, to have remaining balances on their accounts. Here are several options:

A payment plan agreement with The Office of Student Accounts (for further information, please contact 704.378.1145).

Alternative loans - These loans are based on a credit approval. Some students may need a cosigner if they do not have three years of established credit.

The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay tuition. FWS is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Since funds are limited, we encourage students to complete the FAFSA application as early as possible. Students are paid by the hour and the amount you earn can't exceed your total FWS award.