Financial Aid - Scholarships
Q: Scholarships - I received a scholarship from
a private donor. Should I report it to the Office of Student Financial Aid?
A: If you are
receiving scholarships from federal, state, university or private donor
sources, you MUST report the scholarship to the Office of Scholarships and Financial
Q: Scholarships - When will I see the AIMS
A: NAU receives
notification of AIMS awards from the Arizona Board of Regents by the end of
July each year. If there are questions regarding eligibility, please contact
your High School guidance counselor who certifies the information to the
Arizona Board of Regents.
Q: Scholarships - I am a student with a
scholarship check from a private donor, or I am a private donor; how do I have
my scholarship applied?
A: Please send all
checks, made payable to Northern Arizona University, to the Scholarship Office,
PO Box 4108 Flagstaff, AZ 86011, with an award letter detailing who is to receive
the check (NAU ID# or SSN) and how the check is to be applied (Fall only,
Spring only, full year, etc.). If no information is provided, checks will
automatically be split; half applied for the Fall and half applied for the
Q: Scholarships - Why do the AIMS and NAU Merit
based Scholarships not work in conjunction with other waivers, such as the
A: AIMS and the NAU
merit-based Scholarships (President's, Dean, and NAU Merit) are all waivers and
as such can only be applied up to the amount of tuition. NAU automatically
applies the award that is of the most benefit to the student since the various
scholarships all have the same renewal criteria. These awards do not waive fees
or other charges.
Q: Scholarships - What scholarships are available
and how can I get more?
A: Scholarships are
awarded based on academic merit, financial need, and/or personal background.
Some have specific requirements or conditions that must be met, and many awards
are renewable each year. Incoming freshmen are automatically considered for
some academic scholarships once they are accepted to NAU. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid has a Scholarship Application (available January of each year)
that is reviewed by most NAU departments and many private donors. This enables
students to submit their information for many scholarships in one place. We
also recommend that students look at NAU's scholarship webpage, nau.edu/Finaid/Aid-Types/Scholarships/, for additional scholarship opportunities.
Q: Scholarships - I received a private or
department scholarship. Why isn't it showing up on my account?
A: Scholarships are
posted to students' accounts once the award letter and check have been received
by the donor. Students are encouraged to follow up with the donor to see when
the check was or will be sent to NAU. Once received, the scholarship should be
on the account in a couple days.
Financial Aid - Loans
Q: Loans - I cannot accept the PLUS loan or
private loan online in LOUIE the way I can accept my other awards. How do I get
A: The Parent PLUS
Loan for Undergraduate Students is available to parents of dependent
undergraduate students to assist in paying for educational costs after other
financial aid has been awarded. The funds are borrowed directly from the Department
of Education. Students will see an award named 'PLUS Loan - Offered' on his/her
Award Letter. To apply, parents complete the online Parent PLUS Loan
Application at studentloans.gov. A credit check is done by the Department of
Education and the parent is notified immediately of the result. If approved,
parents must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.
If denied, the parent can appeal the decision or seek an endorser. The
Private/Alternative Loan offer is the maximum amount that students could
receive through a private loan, usually obtained through their bank or other
lender. Students apply through the lender, which then works with NAU to
transfer the funds.
Q: Loans - I completed my MPN and Entrance
Counseling this morning. Why are they still on my LOUIE To Do List?
A: MPNs and Entrance
Counseling are done through Department of Education at studentloans.gov.
Schools receive this completed information regularly, however, it may take 3-5
days to show as a completed item in a student's LOUIE account.
Financial Aid - General
Q: General - How does Financial Aid work?
A: The key to
financing your education is to plan early and keep your options open. The more
you know about how financial aid works, the better prepared you will be to pay
for college. There are many different programs available to assist families in
meeting the cost of higher education, and students may qualify based on a
combination of programs. Basically, parents and students contribute to the cost
of college to the extent possible and if unable to contribute the entire
amount, financial aid may be available to help meet the remaining costs. The
following types of funding are available: Scholarships, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal ACG and SMART Grants, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Grant, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Parent Loan for
Undergraduate Students (PLUS), Federal Direct PLUS for Graduate Students, Perkins
Loans, Arizona Financial Aid Trust Alternative Loans.
Q: General - How Do I apply for financial aid?
A: Start by
completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is
available starting January 1 each year at fafsa.gov.
Q: General - Why Should I Apply for Financial
A: The cost of a
college education is expensive and becoming more so every year. It is worth
your time and effort to find out if you qualify for aid. The formula for
financial aid takes into consideration such factors as income, size of family,
other children in college and other expenses you might have. Therefore, you
should always make the effort to see if you are eligible for help in financing
your education. You can access NAU's Cost of Attendance figures via our web
Q: General - Do I need to be admitted before I
can apply for financial aid?
A: No. You can apply
for financial aid as early as January 1 for the upcoming academic year. To
actually be awarded, however, you must be admitted by Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation if you are an undergraduate or by the Graduate College if you plan
to be enrolled in a graduate program.
Q: General - My parents are divorced, and the
parent I'm living with has remarried. Does my step-parent have to report his or
her income and assets on the FAFSA?
A: Yes, provided
that the parent you're living with is the one filling out the FAFSA (your
custodial parent). The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the
most during the past 12 months. This is not necessarily the same as the parent
who has legal custody. If you did not live with one parent more than the other,
the parent who provided you with the most financial support should fill out the
FAFSA. Note, however, that any child support and/or alimony received from the
non-custodial parent must be included on the FAFSA.
Q: General - How is my financial need
A: The federal
processor considers all of the information that you provided on the FAFSA and
applies their formula, called the Federal Methodology. This formula takes into
account the income, size of family, number in college and other expenses to
determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The school will subtract the
EFC from the Cost of Attendance to establish your financial need.
Q: General - I applied for financial aid over
four weeks ago, but haven't received the results. What should I do?
A: If you haven't
received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Processor at
1-800-433-3243 (TTY users may call 1-800-730-8913). You must provide them with
your Social Security number and date of birth as verification. If you applied
online and obtained a federal PIN number, you can print a SAR online. You can
also write to: Federal Student Aid Programs PO Box 4001 Mt. Vernon, IL
Q: General - I see the Estimated Cost of
Attendance on my award letter; is there any way to cut some of these costs?
A: Focus on the
'Total Direct Costs' (tuition, meals, housing and books/supplies). These are
the costs that need to be covered each semester. Other costs, such as
transportation and personal expenses may not even be necessary and those that
are can be covered with a part-time job on campus.
Q: General - How do I become an independent
student for federal financial aid purposes?
A: You are
automatically considered independent if you meet one of the following: were
born before January 1 of the year specified for independency on the FAFSA, are a
veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, are married, are a Ward of the Court, have no
living parents and have no legal guardian, have a legal dependent who gets more
than half of their support from you. The Free Application for Federal Student
Aid (FAFSA) has more details about these categories.
Q: General - If I live off-campus is my
financial aid affected?
A: Maybe. The Office
of Student Financial Aid establishes a budget of annual costs for all students
that includes housing. Living off-campus may affect a student's budget and,
therefore, affect financial aid.
Q: General - If I participate in the Federal
Work Study Program, do the earnings affect my future financial aid eligibility?
A: The earnings from
Federal Work Study should be reported as income on the FAFSA; however, you are
given the opportunity to exclude that amount from your earnings in another
section of the application.
Q: General - What if my family's financial
circumstances change? How does that affect my financial aid award?
A: The financial aid
application bases your eligibility on the previous year's tax information. If
circumstances change, such as loss of income, loss of employment, divorce or
death in the family, you may have your eligibility reevaluated. Contact the
Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.
Q: General - Why hasn't my aid disbursed?
A: There are many
factors that can hold up the release of your financial aid. Check your LOUIE
account for any holds or To Do List items. The most common holds are "Too
Few Hours" or "Past Due Charges". "Too Few Hours"
means you were funded for a certain number of credits but are not enrolled in
that number. For instance, if you are funded as full-time, you need to have 12
credits for an undergraduate or 9 units for graduate. "Past Due
Charges" means that you have a balance of $200 or more from a previous
term. You must pay this down below $200 for the next semester's aid to release.
Items on your To Do List, like Direct Loan MPN or Entrance Counseling, will
prevent disbursement of your loan funds only. Check your LOUIE account frequently
to make sure everything is in order. Financial Aid holds only prevent aid from
disbursing. There is not a financial aid hold that will ever prevent a student
from registering for classes.
Q: General - Am I eligible for Federal Work
A: Federal Work
Study is a need-based award and requires that you have a FAFSA on file with our
office. If it was not awarded to you on your award letter you may contact the
Office of Student Financial Aid to check your eligibility.
Q: General - How will my financial aid be
affected if I drop any of my classes?
A: Depending on when
you drop your classes, you may or may not need to return some of your financial
aid to the university. If aid disburses/releases and you drop all of your
classes before the start of the term, you will be required to return all of
your financial aid. Any point after the start of classes requires the Office of
Financial Aid to calculate the percentage of aid you owe back. You may also
have a Satisfactory Academic Progress hold on the next semesters aid, so check
your LOUIE account frequently to avoid delays in your disbursement.
Q: General - What is Satisfactory Academic
Progress (SAP) and why do I have a SAP hold?
A: If you've
received aid and dropped your classes or withdrew, you will most likely find a
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) hold on your account for the next
semester. When you receive financial aid funding from federal or state
resources, there are "a few strings attached" in order to maintain
eligibility. 1.) You must complete 75% of the credits for which you were
funded. If you complete 25-75% of your courses in one semester, you will be
placed on probation. You will have two semesters to bring that percentage up to
75% or higher. If you fail to do so, you will be placed on SAP suspension. You
will then need to fund 9 credits in one semester on your own, without financial
aid, and successfully complete those credits or submit an Appeal to Standards
of Satisfactory Academic Progress form. If you fall below 25% at any time, you
will be placed on suspension. 2.) The maximum time frame for the completion of
a degree is limited by federal regulations to 150% of the published length of
the degree program and includes transfer credits and all attempted credit hours
including completed credits, audits, incompletes, withdrawals and repeated or
failed classes. The NAU Office of Student Financial Aid monitors your number of
credit hours at the end of every semester. Once you exceed this maximum time
frame for your program, you will no longer be eligible for federal or state
financial aid for any future semester. This may also be appealed with the form
Q: General - Does my financial aid cover my
A: Books do not
appear as a charge on a student's account that will be paid by financial aid.
When aid disburses, it pays charges like tuition, fees, housing, and meals. Any
aid left over comes to the student as a refund. That refund can be used at the
NAU Bookstore for their textbooks and supplies. The extra money is not kept on
a student's account, but is refunded to them to use as needed.
Q: General - I was told financial aid disbursed
on the 15th, so where is my refund?
A: Financial aid
starts disbursing nine days before the start of the term. The Office of the
Bursar, who manages charges, processes that aid to pay all charges on the
account. If there is any aid left over, it goes to students in the form of a
refund. If students have signed up for Direct Deposit, the refund will be in their
bank account 48-72 business hours later. If they are getting a paper check,
they should expect it in 5-7 business days. Students can sign up for Direct
Deposit through their LOUIE account.
Q: General - My family's income has changed.
What can we do to get more aid?
A: A student's
financial aid is based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),
which uses the prior year's taxes. If a family's income has changed, the
student and parents can file a Contribution Appeal with the Office of Student
Financial Aid. This is found at nau.edu/finaid. With the appeal, the Office of
Student Financial Aid may be able to adjust the student's FAFSA to include more
current numbers, which may mean additional aid for the student.
Q: General - Can I make an appointment to speak
with someone in Financial Aid?
A: Students are
assigned to specific Program Coordinator, based on their last name. Each
coordinator has walk-in and appointment times each week and students are
welcome to come during walk-in times or make an appointment. The alphabet
break-down and schedule are available online at nau.edu/finaid/About Us.
Q: General - I am transferring from another
school. Does my aid transfer?
A: Financial aid is
student and institution specific. All schools have varying levels of funding.
Students who transfer to another institution should have their FAFSA sent to
the new school so that a new award package can be built. The new school will
evaluate the student's eligibility for federal and state grant grants and
loans. Loans have annual limits, regardless of the institution, so if the full
year's amount was taken out at the first school, there will be nothing left for
the second semester at the new school. Students are advised to speak with the
Office of Student Financial Aid to ensure a smooth transition.
Q: General - How can I get aid for summer
A: Summer aid
requires the same FAFSA as the previous Fall and Spring term. For instance, the
2010-2011 FAFSA covers Fall 2010, Spring 2011, and Summer 2011. At NAU, there
is a separate, online application for Summer aid. This is found on students'
LOUIE accounts beginning in late March or early April. Students indicate the
number of credits they anticipate taking and the types of aid they would like
to be considered for over all Summer sessions. They are then automatically
evaluated and will receive a list of Summer aid available to them. There are
two disbursement dates, depending on when the students' classes begin.
Q: General - How can I get aid for winter
A: Students can
receive aid for winter classes if they have enough Spring aid to cover both
Spring and Winter charges. The Winter application is available online at
nau.edu/finaid when students are able to register for Spring and Winter
classes. If students register for winter classes but do not complete the winter
application or pay out-of-pocket, they will be dropped for non-payment. This
application is due approximately one week before winter classes begin.
Q: General - What is Verification and what do I
need to submit?
A: Schools are
required to verify a certain percentage of the FAFSAs they receive, to make
sure that the application was completed correctly. Students are notified via
mail that they have been selected and that they need to submit a few documents
as soon as possible. Dependent students will need to submit the Dependent
Student Verification form, student tax return, parent tax return, and parent
W2(s). Independent students will need to submit the Independent Student
Verification form, student tax return, student W2(s), spouse tax return, and
spouse W2(s). All of these forms are available at nau.edu/finaid/forms . Once
received, the Office of Student Financial Aid will review the information, make
any necessary changes to the FAFSA, and set the file ready for awarding. If
additional information is needed, the student will be contacted.
Q: General - What does Possible Financial
Assistance mean on my LOUIE account?
A: After a FAFSA is
received and before a student is awarded, a placeholder can be seen on their
account. Possible Financial Assistance is the total amount of aid (need and
non-need based) aid that a student is able to receive assuming they complete
the application. It is not an award and will not disburse or release to a
student's account. Financial aid awards have specific names and amounts.
Q: General - What is the FAFSA deadline?
A: NAU's FAFSA
priority date is February 1. Students can start filing January 1 for the
following Fall term. Each school has a different priority date, so it is
important to check with each institution. FAFSAs can be filed all year long,
but the earlier a student submits their FAFSA, the better their chances for
need-based state grant funding.
Q: General - When will I know what I have been
awarded for the upcoming academic year?
A: Awarding starts
mid-to-late-March and continues each week throughout the year for the new
academic year, which begins in August. As files are completed they are put in
line for awarding. One paper award letter is sent to the student's mailing
address. If there are any changes to the awards (i.e. scholarship/grant added,
loan increased), a notification email is sent, advising students to check their
awards on LOUIE.
Q: General - I received a letter that says I am
ineligible for financial aid due to my admission status. What does this mean?
A: Students who file
the FAFSA before gaining admission to the university will get this letter.
There is nothing the student needs to do beyond ensuring that Undergraduate
Admissions and Orientation has everything they need to make a decision. Once
the admission goes through the student will be evaluated for financial aid.