Financial Aid FAQs

How do I know if I am considered a dependent or an independent student for financial aid purposes?

There are thirteen questions on the FAFSA which you must answer to determine your dependency status for financial aid purposes. Keep in mind that your dependency status for financial aid purposes is not based upon the IRS tax filing criteria, but is based solely on your responses to the dependency status questions outlined on the FAFSA.

How do I apply for a Federal Pell Grant?

When you complete a FAFSA, you are automatically considered for a Pell Grant. If you meet eligibility guidelines as established by the federal government, a Pell Grant will be included as part of your total need-based aid package.

What is the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan?

A Subsidized Stafford Loan is a federal loan awarded to students who demonstrate financial need as a result of filing the FAFSA. Maximum amounts available per student are set by the federal government and are based on the student’s grade level classification at the institution. The government pays the interest on the Subsidized Stafford loan while the student is in school, and the student begins repaying the principal of the loan six (6) months after graduation or ceasing at least half-time enrollment.

The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is identical to the Subsidized Stafford in terms of annual maximum amounts, interest rates and application process. The only difference is that interest on the Unsubsidized Stafford is not paid by the government while the student is enrolled. The student has the choice to either make interest payments while enrolled or defer the interest until repayment of the principal begins.

How do I complete the Loan Entrance Counseling?

How do I sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

Both of these can be completed online. You will need your FAFSA PIN to sign the MPN. Please refer to for detailed information.

When do I start repaying my student loan(s)?

You are responsible for repaying the principal balance of your student loans after you have completed your degree or cease to be enrolled on at least a half-time basis (half-time enrollment for most undergraduates is defined as 6 credit hours per semester). Most federal loans allow you a six-month grace period after you cease enrollment on at least a half-time basis before you have to begin repayment. Be sure you keep your lender informed of any change in your permanent address so you will not miss this important communication.