Financial Aid - Frequently Asked Questions
What are my rights?
What are my responsibilities?
- Notify the OSFA of any outside resources awarded.
- Attend entrance counseling for all first-time borrowers
before loans are disbursed.
- Attend exit counseling if graduating or ceasing at least
I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for
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 Direct Student and PLUS loans that are
available regardless of need. The FAFSA form is free. There is
no good excuse for not applying.
I will need to borrow money to help pay my education. Who
should I borrow from?
There are many types of loans available to you. Some are
need-based and others are available to everyone. You can read
more about the types of loans available to you from our
loan FAQ page. Also, information on some of our trusted
lenders is listed on our lenders list.
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. You must apply for financial aid every year. If your
financial circumstances change you may get more or less aid. The
new form is available after January 1st and should be
filed by mail or on the web by February 15th. FAFSA's
filed after February 15th may not meet the priority
How do I apply for a Pell Grant and other types of
Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To
indicate interest in student employment, student loans, and
parent loans, you should check the appropriate boxes. Checking
these boxes does not commit you to accepting these types of aid.
You will have the opportunity to accept or decline each part of
your aid package later. Leaving these boxes unchecked will not
increase the amount of grants you receive.
What is a Student Aid Report?
After you file your FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will
process it in approximately four weeks. Then, you will receive a
Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail. The SAR will reflect the
information from your application and, if there are no questions
or problems with your application, your SAR will provide your
Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in
determining your eligibility for federal Student aid. List Texas
Southern University (Code 003642) on your FAFSA
so that will also receive a copy of your SAR.
When and how will I receive my financial aid?
Financial aid awards are normally released at the start of each
semester. Financial aid award funds will first be used to pay
your tuition/fees and on-campus housing bills. After all your
University bills are paid for the semester, the balance of your
financial aid money will be issued to you in the form of a check
from the Cashiers Office.
What expenses can I expect financial aid to cover?
Financial aid is awarded based on an average Cost of
Attendance (COA) that includes appropriate tuition/fees for your
educational program, books/supplies, and other educational
expenses. Other educational expenses consist of living,
transportation, personal and miscellaneous expenses during the
academic year as estimated by the University. In some cases
child care expenses necessary for you to attend classes can also
How much will my family be expected to contribute
towards my yearly college costs?
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated
each year you apply for aid using a national processing formula
called the Federal Methodology. The formula considers your
parent's and your income and assets, your family size and the
number of family members enrolled in college. The EFC will be
the same at any college you attend.
Can my financial aid change?
Yes. As stated in the student award notification, initial
financial aid awards are our best estimate of what you are
eligible to receive. Most changes in awards, however, involve
factors that are under your control, or of which you should be
aware. Your award may be increased, reduced, or even canceled,
- Your family's financial circumstances change,
causing your need to change.
- You receive any additional outside resource, such as
a privately awarded scholarship, which was not listed, on your
- You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA or Renewal
- You do not maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- The University suspends you.
- You do not enroll for the required number of hours
to receive aid through the programs awarded to you.
What is verification?
Verification is a federally mandated quality control process which
files are selected at random to check certain data elements on
the FAFSA. If your file is selected for verification, the school
is required to compare these data elements with the information
on your tax returns to "verify" their accuracy. Your SAR will
tell you if you have been selected for verification.
What if I am selected for verification?
You will need to submit to the Office of Financial Aid signed
copies of parent and tax returns and a completed Verification
Worksheet verifying household size, untaxed income, and number
How can I get an In-school Deferment on repayment of my
Request the deferment form from your lender and have the
Registrar's Office complete it, then send it back to the bank.
Continue to make all payments until your bank sends you
confirmation of your deferment.
If I am in default on a previous loan, what documents
are need to clear the default?
A letter is required from the agency, or holder of the defaulted
loan, stating that the default has been cleared.
What happens to my financial aid status if I withdraw
Depending upon when you withdraw from school, you may be
required to repay a specified percentage of any aid you have
received in the term in which you are withdrawing, since the
funds you receive are designed to help you meet your living
expenses for the entire term.
Can I get aid for the summer?
It depends. We consider summer session to be an "add on"
to the regular academic year. If you have not already used up
your full eligibility in the student loan program or Pell grant
program, you may use either (or both) for summer school. Many
scholarships are not available during the summer.
Who is a Dependent Student?
You will be considered dependent for financial aid purposes
for the academic year unless you can answer "yes" to at least
one of the following FAFSA questions (on the date the FAFSA is
If extenuating circumstances exist between you and your parents
(i.e., abuse, abandonment), you can request a review of your
dependency status by submitting a Review of Dependent Status form. A
parent's unwillingness or refusal to contribute to educational costs
or provide income information is not, by itself, a basis for review.
- Were you born before January 1, 1984?
- During the school year, will you be working on a master's or
- Are you married?
- Do you have children who receive more than half of their
support from you?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse)
who live with you and who receive more than half of their
support from you, now and through June 30, 2008?
- Are you an orphan, or are you or were you (until age 18) a
ward/dependent of the court?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
What is the definition of a professional student?
Professional students are those enrolled in the Law and Pharmacy
programs. Please note that Pharmacy students must have earned a
bachelor's degree or have completed at least 179 earned hours.