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Financial Aid for Undergraduate Students


Frequently Asked Questions

1.
What is financial aid?
2.
Where can I get information about Federal student financial aid?
3.
What is the FAFSA?
4.
Where can I get a paper copy of the FAFSA?
5.
How often do I need to complete the FAFSA form?
6.
Is there a fee for the FAFSA application or for assistance in completing it?
7.
What is the difference between a priority date and a deadline?
8.
What is the application priority date at DWU?
9.
I'm not sure my family will have financial need. Should I complete the FAFSA?
10.
What is the income threshold for a family before financial aid is not offered to a student?
11.
My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent fills out the FAFSA?
12.
My parents are divorced, and the parent I'm living with has remarried. Does my stepparent have to report his or her income and assets on the FAFSA?
13.
Why must I include my parent's income on my FAFSA? I don't live with my parents; my parent's don't contribute anything to my education; they do not claim me on their income taxes.
14.
My parents own a farm. Does this have to be included under assets?
15.
Will I receive anything from the Department of Education once I have submitted my FAFSA?
16.
How does the school that I am interested in attending receive the information I submitted with my FAFSA?
17.
What if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we can pay?
18.
What is the verification process and if selected why do I need to complete the process?
19.
Are there any resources that a parent can receive to help pay for a student's education?
20.
What happens if a parent is denied a PLUS loan?
21.
Will I continue to receive the DWU's institutional scholarships that I was awarded when I was first admitted to DWU throughout years at DWU?
22.
What is included in college costs?
23.
Are graduate students eligible for Pell Grants?
24.
Will I receive Federal Work-Study this year if I received it last year?
25.
What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
26.
How will financial aid credit the student account?
27.
I received my Award Letter and did not get enough money to pay my student bill. Is there any additional funding available to help with the costs?
  1. Top of PageWhat is financial aid?

    Financial aid is funding for your college education that comes from sources outside of your family. Gift aid and self-help aid are two categories of financial aid. Gift aid comes in the form of grants and scholarships and does not have to be repaid. Self-help comes in the form of loans and employment. Financial aid at DWU is awarded to students based on financial need. A student may have a combination of grants, loans, scholarships and employment for a financial aid award.
      
  2. Where can I get information about federal student financial aid?

    Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (if hearing impaired) and ask for a free copy of "The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department of Education." This toll free hotline is run by the U.S. Department of Education and can answer questions about federal and state student aid programs and applications. You can also access more information on the Department of Education’s Web site at College.gov.
      
  3. What is the FAFSA?

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used to determine eligibility for federal and state student grants, work-study and loans. The information on the FAFSA is used to determine the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used by the school to determine the student's financial aid award.
      
  4. Top of PageWhere can I get a paper copy of the FAFSA?

    Contact DWU Financial Aid Office at 605-995-2638 and a copy will either be e-mailed or mailed to you. The Department of Education recommends, if you are able, to complete the FAFSA online. Please see Applying for Federal Aid to complete the FAFSA online.
      
  5. How often do I need to complete the FAFSA form?

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed annually. A new application, either online or by paper, will be available to students to complete as early as Jan. 1 of each year.
      
  6. Is there a fee for the FAFSA application or for assistance in completing it?

    There is no fee for the FAFSA application, or for assistance in completing it. If an organization or individual charges a fee for the application or assistance in completing it, notify the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.

    You can apply for the FAFSA free of charge by going online at www.fafsa.ed.gov or contact the DWU Financial Aid Office if you need a paper FAFSA. If you need assistance with the FAFSA please contact the DWU Financial Aid Office or the Department of Education.
      

  7. Top of PageWhat is the difference between a priority date and a deadline?

    A priority date refers to a date established by the school for the submission of the FAFSA and/or other scholarship applications. If a student submits the application after the priority date, this does not eliminate a student from receiving an award; however, it does lessen your chance of receiving certain types of aid and scholarships that have limited funding. Note: meeting the priority date does not guarantee you will receive a scholarship or certain types of aid since other criteria are taken into consideration. To meet DWU’s FAFSA priority date, April 1, we recommend completing your taxes early so you will have the necessary information to complete the application.

    A deadline is a date when something must be completed and failure to complete the application by the deadline will eliminate a student’s chance of receiving funding from that source.
      
  8. What is the application priority date at DWU?

    Current and new students who meet Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) financial aid priority deadline of April 1 and DWU's criteria, may qualify for the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal/Campus Work-Study, and/or Federal Perkins. However, these funds are limited so it is not guaranteed that a student who has met the university's deadline and criteria will be awarded these funds.

    Students who have completed and turned in all the necessary documents to be accepted into the university and have completed and turned in all the necessary documents to the financial aid office by the April 1 deadline, will be looked at by a first-come, first-serve basis.
      
  9. Top of PageI'm not sure my family will have financial need. Should I complete the FAFSA?

    Yes. Financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school and to fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the cost. Some loans and scholarships are available regardless of "need."
      
  10. What is the income threshold for a family before financial aid is not offered to a student?

    There is no income threshold for student aid eligibility. All of the questions on the FAFSA are used to determine the Expected Family Contribution which results in the financial aid award put together by the school. A family may have too much income to be awarded a Pell Grant, but this does not mean they will be eligible for other types of financial aid. At a minimum, application for Federal Student Aid, via the FAFSA, will result in eligibility in the Federal Stafford Loan program.
      
  11. My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent fills out the FAFSA?

    The parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn't live with
    either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent who provided the most support to you during the last 12 months or during the most recent calendar year that you were actually supported by a parent.

      
  12. Top of PageMy parents are divorced, and the parent I'm living with has remarried. Does my stepparent have to report his or her income and assets on the FAFSA?

    Yes, provided that the parent you're living with is the one filling out the "parent" section of the FAFSA. If your parent marries after you have submitted the FAFSA, you are not required to update the step-parent information for this award year. The following award year you would need to include his/her information.
      
  13. Why must I include my parent's income on my FAFSA? I don't live my parents; my parent's don't contribute anything to my education; they do not claim me on their income taxes.

    Congress, in the law that governs the federal student aid programs, defines when parental income information is required. Congress' intention is to establish the primary responsibility for a student's education is the student's and student's family for his/her undergraduate degree.

    Even if you don't live with your parent, your parents don't contribute money toward your education, or they don't claim you on their income taxes, you are required to use their information unless:
    --you'll be 24 years old during the school year
    --you're an orphan or were a ward of the court until age 18
    --you're a veteran
    --you're married
    --you have a legal dependent other than your spouse
    --you're a degree seeking graduate student

    If you feel you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from being able to list your parents’ information on your FAFSA, please contact the DWU Financial Aid Office for assistance.
      

  14. Top of PageMy parents own a farm. Does this have to be included under assets?

    Do not include a family farm if it is your family's principal place of residence and your parents claimed on Schedule F of the tax return that they "materially participated in the farm's operation." If your parents do not work on this farm and lease this farm out to some one else then it is considered an asset.
      
  15. Will I receive anything from the Department of Education once I have submitted my FAFSA?

    Very shortly after submitting the information to the Department of Education processing center, they will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is the analysis of the data you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Student Aid Report has your calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on it, and that number is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. Once you have received the SAR, it is very important to review the information submitted.

    The SAR will be sent to you electronically if you provided a current and valid e-mail address on your FAFSA. A paper SAR will be mailed to students that do not provide a valid e-mail address.
      
  16. How does the school that I am interested in attending receive the information I submitted with my FAFSA?

    Each school that qualifies for federal student aid is assigned a federal school code by the Department of Education. In Step Five of the FAFSA you will be able to add up to 10 school codes of the colleges or universities that you are interested in attending. Each school that you have added in Step Five will receive an electronic version of the Student Aid Report.

    DWU's school code is 003461.
      

  17. Top of PageWhat if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we can pay?

    Per the Department of Education, if you and your family have unusual circumstances that might affect your financial situation, complete and submit the FAFSA and then notify the school's financial aid office. In some cases, the school's financial aid office may decide to take these unusual circumstances into account and adjust your cost of attendance or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Provide the financial aid office with adequate documentation to support any special circumstances.

    Possible examples of unusual circumstances include:
       • Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school.
       • Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance.
       • A family member who recently became unemployed.
       • Changes in income or assets that may affect your eligibility for financial aid.
      

  18. What is the verification process and if selected why do I need to complete the process?

    Approximately one-third of students applying for federal aid are randomly selected for the verification process, and must submit document(s) to verify that certain information submitted on the FAFSA is accurate. If you are selected, this does not mean you have made an error on the initial FAFSA.

    The Financial Aid Staff at DWU will send you the verification form and a letter listing the items that you will need to submit back to them for review.
     


  19. Top of PageAre there any resources that a parent can receive to help pay for a student's education?

    Yes! Parents may be interested in borrowing through a program called Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). This program allows parents to borrow up to the cost of education less any other financial aid the student has been offered. However, the parent must be credit worthy and will be required to first complete the pre-approval process. At DWU, we do not require that a student have a completed FAFSA for a parent to apply for the PLUS loan.
      
  20. What happens if a parent is denied a PLUS loan?

    The parent applying for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS) can be denied for credit reasons. If that happens, the student is eligible to borrow additional funds in the Stafford Loan program. Contact the financial aid office if you have done a pre-approval for a PLUS loan and have been denied. We will work with the student to get the additional Stafford Loan for them.
      
  21. Will I continue to receive the DWU's institutional scholarships that I was awarded when I was first admitted to DWU throughout years at DWU?

    You would keep the scholarships you received at DWU for a maximum of 10 semesters as long as you meet the criteria for each scholarship received.
      
  22. Top of PageWhat is included in college costs?

    Included are direct cost and the indirect cost. Direct cost is what DWU posts to a student's bill such as tuition. Indirect cost can be things like transportation and personal cost (toothpaste, shampoo, clothing, etc.) that the student is not directly billed by DWU.
      
  23. 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 and who have not completed a bachelor's or professional degree.
      
  24. Will I receive Federal Work-Study this year if I received it last year?

    Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed federal student aid awards. Each year students must complete the FAFSA and for certain federal aid the FAFSA must be submitted by the school’s priority deadline. The most current FAFSA results will determine which federal financial aid programs students are eligible for. A student may or may not be awarded work-study accordingly.
      
  25. Top of PageWhat is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan?

    If you are eligible for and take out a subsidized Stafford 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 Stafford 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).
      
  26. How will financial aid credit the student account?

    If a student is registered for classes at DWU this is an automatic, computerized process once he/she has completed the financial aid process. All federal, state and DWU grants and scholarships listed on your award letter will either be automatically credited to the student's charges or applied manually by the business office around the first day of classes. If you complete the financial aid process after school starts, the funds will be applied automatically or manually throughout the term.
      
  27. Top of PageI received my award letter and did not get enough money to pay my student bill. Is there any additional funding available to help with the costs?

    There are additional loans that can provide additional assistance for students.

    A. The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program is available for parents to borrow money. These loans are loans in the parent's name and payments typically start while the student is in school. Interest accrues while the student is in school and rates are set by the government (never to exceed 9 percent).

    B. There are also non-federal/alternative loans for the student to borrow under. The student will typically need a credit worthy co-signer. Interest accrues while the student is in school at a rate set by the bank (usually prime + 0-6 percent). Payments are usually deferred until six months after the student graduates.
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