NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Policies
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), includes many disclosure and reporting requirements, often referred to as Consumer Information. Northern Arizona University is committed to following policies set forth by the Department of Education in order to best support our students, team members, and all other stakeholders. In addition to the financial aid policies listed below, please refer to the following resources to learn more:
Ability to Benefit (ATB)Accordion Closed
The U.S. Department of Education requires all students receiving federal financial aid to be qualified to study at the collegiate level. To qualify, an NAU student must provide the university one of the following documents:
- an official, final high school transcript with posted graduation date
- a GED certification
- a recognized homeschooling credential
Students who cannot provide any of the above documents, may provide one of the following:
- If first enrolled in a Title IV-eligible program on or after July 1, 2012:
- an associate degree, OR
- 60 or more transferable college credits
- If first enrolled in a Title IV-eligible program prior to July 1, 2012:
- 6 or more transferable college credits
All documentation should be sent directly from the student’s high school or college to:
Northern Arizona University
Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation
P.O. Box 4084
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4084
Conflicting informationAccordion Closed
The FAFSA is the only form students must complete to apply for Title IV aid. Schools cannot require extra information from students except for verification of information or the resolution of conflicting information. However, a school may require additional information for other purposes such as packaging private or institutional aid.
Conflicting information is any information obtained by a school that is different from information previously available to the school and that impacts a student’s eligibility for aid. For example, an NAU student is selected for verification and must submit parent tax transcripts. NAU finds that the tax information provided on the FAFSA differs from the tax transcript. NAU identifies this conflicting information and makes the necessary corrections to the student’s FAFSA before awarding and disbursing aid.
Per federal regulations, any documentation that comes to NAU, either solicited or unsolicited, must be reviewed. This can have a positive or negative effect on a student’s financial aid.
Drug law violationsAccordion Closed
In accordance with federal and state laws, if you are receiving financial aid in the same semester in which you are convicted for the possession or use of a controlled substance, you will be ineligible for financial aid for a period of time related to the number of offenses committed.. Refer to the chart below for an exact breakdown of ineligibility intervals.
|Possession of a Controlled Substance||Ineligibility Period|
|First Offense||1 Year|
|Second Offense||2 Years|
|Sale of a Controlled Substance|
|First Offense||2 Years|
Estimated Financial AssistanceAccordion Closed
Estimated Financial Assistance is any scholarship, grant, loan, fellowship, stipend or need-based employment offered to help an NAU student meet his/her college expenses. If the financial assistance is based on financial need, then it must be treated as estimated financial assistance. According to federal and state rules, if the award is not based on need, or not considered wages for employment, then it is treated as estimated financial assistance. All estimated financial assistance must be coordinated to remain compliant with federal Cost of Attendance and Financial Need rules.
It is important to know that existing financial assistance such as federal or state grants or loans may be adjusted based on the rules.
NAU Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid must be made aware of all financial assistance provided to a student for the purpose of determining how it is treated as part of the student’s financial aid package. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Federal Direct Loan Awarding TimelineAccordion Closed
Federal Direct Loans are available to dependent students, parents of dependent students, and independent students to assist in paying for educational costs after other financial aid has been awarded. The funds are borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education and students must have a completed FAFSA on file for each year they wish to receive a loan.
Note: In order for a Federal Direct Loan to disburse, there must also be a valid Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling (EC) on file. Students can complete both of these steps by going to www.studentloans.gov and logging in with their FSA ID. Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) require a separate application and MPN, as well as Loan Counseling for some applicants.
The Department of Education has strict regulations for awarding and disbursing loans. Since these loans take several days to process through both the Northern Arizona University (NAU) and federal systems, NAU processing deadlines have been established to ensure the federal regulations are followed.
The last date of any term is considered to be the last date of the loan period; all loans for enrolled students must be fully processed through both the NAU and federal systems prior to that date. NAU cannot originate loans for students who are no longer enrolled in an active term. Therefore, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) must enforce specific awarding deadlines for each term: fall-only, spring-only, academic year (AY), or summer-only. These dates typically fall one week prior to the last date of a term and apply to all Federal Direct Loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), and Grad PLUS. Dates are based on the standard term end dates posted by the Office of the Registrar.
TERM LOAN TYPE LAST DATE TO AWARD Fall 2017 Fall-only December 8, 2017 Spring 2018 Spring-only and 18-19 AY May 4, 2018 Summer 2018 Summer-only August 1, 2018 Fall 2018 Fall-only December 7, 2018 Spring 2019 Spring-only and 18-19 AY May 3, 2019 Summer 2019 Summer-only July 31, 2019 Fall 2019 Fall-only December 6, 2019 Spring 2020 Spring-only and 18-19 AY May 1, 2020 Summer 2020 Summer-only July 29, 2020 Fall 2020 Fall-only December 4, 2020 Spring 2021 Spring-only and 18-19 AY April 30, 2021 Summer 2021 Summer-only July 28, 2021
Note: The Personalized Learning program has different awarding and disbursement rules. Students in this program should direct all loan inquiries to PL.Finaid@nau.edu.Students who attend in fall and spring, but wait until spring to file a FAFSA, may be eligible for a retroactive AY award and should contact OSFA to discuss options.
Relevant federal policy(ies): 34 CFR 685.200 Borrower eligibility, 34 CFR 668.164(b) Disbursements by payment period, 34 CFR 668.164(k) Retroactive payments
Loan DisbursementAccordion Closed
If a loan is awarded for the Academic Year and not for an individual term, the total amount of the loan will be split between the fall and spring terms. Loans will always be disbursed in two equal halves.
Official withdrawal from NAUAccordion Closed
If you are a registered student and wish to withdraw from classes, you may do so on LOUIE. If you are unable to complete the withdrawal process online, you may submit your request in writing using a form available on the Registrar’s website.
Returning Title IV funds if you withdraw
Students receiving financial aid will not receive a refund of tuition or fees when they withdraw. The student’s financial aid will be re-evaluated to determine the amount of aid the student has earned and how much will be returned to the federal programs. The amount of aid earned is calculated on a per diem basis through the 60 percent point of the semester. After that point, federal financial aid will be considered to be 100 percent earned. Any unearned aid will result in a balance owed to the university.
A student’s withdrawal date is the date the student began the withdrawal process, or otherwise notified the university in writing of the intent to withdraw. If a student attends, then leaves the university without notifying the Registrar, the withdrawal date may be considered back to the midpoint of the semester.
The university policy on Refund of Fees is a separate calculation of the amount of unearned institutional charges. Any refund will first be applied to receivables owed to the university, then to any loans the student received.
You are eligible to keep the financial aid that you received. However, a drop below the units for which you have been funded will affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress standing.
Withdrawing from all classes
Withdrawing from all classes will require a recalculation of your financial aid. The impact on your financial aid will depend on the type of withdrawal, the type and amounts of aid, and the time at which you withdraw.
Types of withdrawals
For financial aid purposes, there are two types of withdrawals, official,and unofficial.
An official withdrawal is initiated by the student in the form of a written letter to the Office of the Registrar.
An unofficial withdrawal is the result of receiving all failing grades, or a combination of failing grades and withdrawal. If appropriate, your last date of attendance will be determined by a faculty member in order to facilitate unofficial withdrawal processing.
Impact on financial aid awards
You must officially withdraw from Northern Arizona University if you do not plan to attend. If you are currently receiving student loans or have in the past, you must complete exit counseling and notify your lender(s) of your withdrawal.
If you pre-registered, signed up for direct deposit, and decide not to attend, you must withdraw to stop the automatic payment of your tuition.
If you fail to officially withdraw, your aid will automatically pay for your classes, you will receive a failing grade in all classes, and you will be in default at the university until you repay 100 percent of the aid.
Withdrawing prior to completing 60 percent of term
Federal regulation considers 60 percent of a term attended is equal to 100 percent of disbursed aid earned. Unless you complete 60 percent of the term in which federal aid was disbursed, you will be required to repay all or part of the federal and state financial aid disbursed in the term. This applies to students who have officially (including medical), or unofficially withdrawn.
Return of Title IV funds after withdrawing from the university
If you are receiving financial aid when you withdraw, you will not receive a refund of aid that went toward tuition, fees, housing, or dining.
Any refundable amount is returned to the appropriate financial aid sources. Your financial aid will be re-evaluated to determine the amount of aid you earned and needs to be returned to the federal programs.
Federal financial aid consists of:
- Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Federal Parent PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants
- Federal Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG)
- Federal Science and Mathematics to Retain Talent Grants (SMART)
Federal Work- Study is excluded from this calculation.
Return of institutional aid for recipients who officially withdraw
It is the institution’s policy that if a student withdraws within the 100% tuition refund period, the student is no longer eligible for any institutional aid awarded such as Merit-Based Tuition Scholarships, Financial Aid Trust Grant, University Grant, Non-Resident University Grant, AZ Earn to Learn, etc. This aid will be canceled at 100%.
If a student withdraws after the 100% tuition refund period, institutional aid will be adjusted only if the student has a pending refund after all applicable federal aid has been returned. The institutional grant aid will be reduced by the refund amount or canceled if the pending refund is greater than the amount of institutional aid awarded. The Scholarships Team will process any necessary adjustments to merit-based tuition and department scholarships. Students will not receive a refund of institutional aid after they withdraw.
Pell repackagingAccordion Closed
Pell repackaging (also known as Pell Census) seeks to provide students with an accurate amount of Pell Grant to attend the term for which they are enrolled. By choosing to have a Pell Census date, NAU manages tax payer grant aid more responsibly. Students are notified of this policy via NAU e-mail and letter. Students are also notified via NAU e-mail if an adjustment to their aid has occurred.
Northern Arizona University chooses to have a Pell Recalculation Date (PRD) as instructed by the Department of Education (34 CFR 690.80). This is called Pell Census.
Students who are enrolled and have a valid ISIR on file prior to the start of class will be packaged for whatever their current enrollment is on that particular day (full time, 3/4 time, 1/2 time, less than half time). NAU will re-evaluate all students’ enrollment the night of Pell Census and recalculate their Pell Grant eligibility based on their enrollment at that time.
- Pell repackaging (PDF)
Repeated courseworkAccordion Closed
In order for a repeated course to be counted toward your enrollment status for financial aid purposes, you may only repeat a previously taken course once. If you enroll in a course for a third time, this course will not count towards your enrollment for financial aid purposes.
For example, if you are enrolled in a total of 12 units and 3 units you have repeated in the past, you will only be considered enrolled in 9 units for financial aid purposes.
If you receive federal student aid and the repeated course affects your enrollment, you will receive communication from OSFA shortly before the start of the term with your options. You may either opt to add an additional course to bring your financial aid enrollment units to full time, or contact our office so that we may reevaluate your financial aid file and make any necessary adjustments to your financial aid.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)Accordion Closed
If you are receiving federal financial aid or institutional gift aid, you are required to make progress toward your degree or certificate according to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards set by Northern Arizona University.
Verification is a federal review process required to confirm the accuracy of information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). NAU’s philosophy is that financial aid should be accurately awarded to students based on their need. To this end, under the auspices of the Department of Education, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) strives to administer efficient application and verification processes to ensure accuracy and integrity in determining eligibility for students and the awarding of funds.
Please note that the information below is specific to students selected for verification for the 2018-2019 aid year. If a student is selected for verification for the 2017-2018 aid year, they will be asked to submit documents for the 2015 tax year.
Students selected for 2018-2019 verification are required to submit any combination of the following, with each student’s specific requirements listed on the LOUIE To-Do List:
- Verification form (Blue, Gold, or Sage)
(Go here to determine if you are dependent or independent for purposes of the FAFSA.)
- Student 2016 tax return transcript (and tax account transcript if an amended return was filed)
- Student W2(s)
- Parent 2016 tax return transcript (and tax account transcript if an amended return was filed)
- Parent W2(s)
- Verification of Non-Filing Letter (VONF) – parents and independent students only
Tax Return Transcripts are different from copies of a federal tax return; transcripts are an official record of the information on file with the IRS. Tax Return Transcripts and Verification of Non-Filing must be obtained from the IRS through one of the following methods:
- Get Transcript Online – Go to www.irs.gov, click “Get My Tax Record.” Click “Get Transcript Online.” Create an online account or log in with your current account. Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
- Get Transcript by Mail – Go to www.irs.gov, click “Get My Tax Record.” Click “Get Transcript by Mail.” Create an online account or log in with your current account. Make sure to request the “IRS Tax Return Transcript” and NOT the “IRS Tax Account Transcript.”
- Automated Telephone Request – 1-800-908-9946
- Paper Request Form – IRS Form 4506T-EZ (for Individual Tax Return Transcript) or IRS 4506-T (for Tax Return Transcript, Verification of Non-Filing, or W2s)
Verification documents should be submitted in one submission to OSFA via email (preferred) at email@example.com, mail, or in-person. Incomplete documents will not be processed and will be shredded for security purposes.
1. The Department of Education randomly selects students for verification; once NAU receives students’ FAFSAs, OSFA updates their respective LOUIE To-Do Lists with items they must submit to OSFA. Students receive an email and a letter with this information. They will also receive reminder notifications every two weeks.
Selection: Not all students are selected for verification, nor are the same students selected each year. Students may never be selected, may be selected only one year, or may be selected every year. This is out of NAU’s control.
Professional judgment: NAU is mandated to complete verification for a selected student before exercising professional judgment to adjust any values that are used to calculate the EFC, i.e. before reviewing a student/parent contribution appeal. However, making a professional judgment does not require OSFA to verify an application that is not selected.
Throughout the verification process OSFA staff may find that additional information is required beyond what was previously requested. This new request will be emailed to the student and added to his/her LOUIE To-Do List.
2. OSFA requests that students submit the necessary documentation (listed above) within 30 days of receipt of the first notification. Once received, documents can take up to 10 business days to be logged to the student’s account. This is especially true during peak times.
Submission deadline: Students must submit all verification documents by the earlier of 120 days after the last day of enrollment or by the deadline published in the Federal Register (generally mid-September following the end of the aid year). Verification is considered complete when all requested documentation has been received, all errors corrected, and a valid FAFSA/ISIR is on file. If required verification documentation is not submitted by the deadline, the student will not be eligible for any Title IV aid for the period of time the FAFSA was used to determine eligibility.
Late disbursement: Once a student is no longer enrolled, the student may still submit verification documentation (by the deadline above) and receive a late disbursement if, during the period of enrollment, the U.S. Department of Education had processed a FAFSA with an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If the EFC changes based on the documentation received, any Pell Grant award will be based on the higher EFC. Pell Grant recipients are subject to certain Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) restrictions.
3. Once all verification documents are received, NAU will review each student’s file in the order in which it was completed. The verification process can take up to 15 business days. If corrections to the FAFSA must be made, a final file will come back from the Department of Education within 10 business days. Students will receive an email if corrections result in a change to the EFC.
4. Once the FAFSA is finalized, awarding and disbursement can take place.
Awarding for incoming freshmen: Incoming freshmen will be awarded prior to the completion of the verification process. Awards will post to their LOUIE accounts but will not disburse the following August until verification is complete. Awarding begins in December for the following academic year and continues every Friday. Once verification is complete, awards may be adjusted depending on corrections made to each student’s file. Students will receive an automated email that changes were made to their awards on LOUIE.
Awarding for transfers and continuing students: Transfer and continuing students will be awarded in early June, after spring grades post and after verification is complete.
5. Disbursement of funds occurs no sooner than 10 days before the start of each term. Disbursements are never made until verification is complete.
Tax filing extension
An individual who is required to file a 2016 IRS income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the IRS, must provide:
- A copy of IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” that was filed with the IRS for tax year 2016;
- A copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2016;
- Verification of Non-filing Letter (confirmation that the tax return has not yet been filed) from the IRS or other relevant tax authority dated on or after October 1, 2017;
- A copy of IRS Form W-2 for each source of employment income received for tax year 2016; and
- If self-employed, a signed statement certifying the amount of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the U.S. income tax paid for tax year 2016.
An individual who was the victim of IRS tax-related identity theft must provide:
- A Tax Return DataBase View (TRDBV) transcript obtained from the IRS, or any other IRS tax transcript(s) that includes all of the income and tax information required to be verified; and
- A statement signed and dated by the tax filer indicating that he or she was a victim of IRS tax-related identity theft and that the IRS is aware of the tax-related identity theft.
Non-IRS income tax returns
Many students and parents have tax returns from U.S. territories or foreign countries.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands may provide a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority. However, if the accuracy of the information on the signed copy of the income tax return is questioned, the tax filer must provide OSFA with a copy of the tax account information issued by the relevant tax authority before verification can be completed.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with the tax authority for American Samoa must provide a copy of his or her tax account information.
- A tax filer who filed an income tax return with tax authorities not mentioned above, i.e. a foreign tax authority, and who indicates that he or she is unable to obtain the tax account information free of charge, must provide documentation that the tax authority charges a fee to obtain that information, along with a signed copy of his or her income tax return that was filed with the relevant tax authority.
Year-Round Pell Grant Awarding for SummerAccordion Closed
The Department of Education stipulates that students may earn up to 150% of their scheduled Pell Grant award in one aid year, beginning with the 2017-2018 award year. All Pell funds awarded to a student are included in the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) calculation and students must be enrolled at least half time to receive the additional funds.
Institutions are granted some flexibility in determining aid for summer crossover periods and must assign aid “as it determines is most beneficial to students.”
NAU is considered a summer trailer institution, with summer awarding at the end of an aid year, after the fall and spring terms. Aid awarded to a student for summer courses includes any remaining academic year federal funds the student may be eligible for, that were not already used in the Scheduled Academic Year, i.e. fall and spring terms.
It is the policy of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid that NAU will remain a summer trailer institution for purposes of Year-Round Pell. Students will be automatically awarded up to an extra 50% Pell Grant in spring or the trailing summer based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of that award year. It is in students’ best interest to only award the additional Pell within the current year and not to award from the future year’s eligibility based on a future EFC. This preserves the students’ full 150% Pell for each academic year at NAU and ensures that funds will be recognized and applied correctly to summer institutional charges posted by Student and Departmental Account Services (SDAS).
Relevant federal regulations:
Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-14
Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-06
34 CFR Part 690, Subpart F – Determination of Federal Pell Grant Awards