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Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid policies

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:

The US 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
  • Admissions and Enrollment Services
  • P.O. Box 4084
  • Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4084

This Code of Conduct was developed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with universities and colleges in the State of Arizona. Northern Arizona University supports and complies with these provisions.

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.

A financial aid consortium agreement is a contract between a student and Northern Arizona University (NAU) allowing the student to receive financial aid from NAU (parent school) to pay for and successfully earn credit hours at both NAU and another college or university (non-parent school). The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) processes the agreements based on the outlined criteria.

In addition to the eligibility requirements below, students seeking a consortium agreement may have no more than 64 transfer credits. Exceptions to this include:

  • 90/30 Interdisciplinary Studies;
  • RN/BSN;
  • Dental Hygiene; and
  • Other NAU programs that allow more than 64 credits to be transferred toward an NAU degree program

There is no transfer credit limit for students taking their non-parent courses at Arizona Western College. Additional details can be found on other financial aid opportunities.

There are two steps to the disbursement process: Authorization and Disbursement. The Authorization process begins approximately two months prior to each semester for which a disbursement is scheduled. This allows students and staff to see the status of their awards and take appropriate action if necessary. The Disbursement process for each semester begins no earlier than 10 days prior to the first day of the semester or the first day of a student’s first class, whichever is later.

All aid programs, with the exception of FWS, have one disbursement per term.

OSFA is the office solely responsible for determining a student’s eligibility for late and post-withdrawal disbursements.

  1. A late disbursement is a disbursement made to a student who has ceased to be eligible. An otherwise eligible student becomes ineligible to receive Title IV funds in the following circumstances:
    • For a Direct Loan, the student is no longer enrolled at the institution as at least a half-time student for the period of enrollment for which the loan was intended.
  2. For an award under the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG, Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant, and TEACH Grant programs, the student is no longer enrolled at the institution for the award year.
    • For direct loans, late disbursements are considered if the loan was certified before the loan period ended.
  3. For Return of Title IV purposes, a post-withdrawal disbursement is the amount of federal student aid funds a student is eligible to receive after withdrawing from NAU. It is equal to the amount by which the federal student aid earned by a student exceeds the total federal student aid disbursed to the student. This may include the Pell Grant and Direct Loans if the loan was certified before the loan period ended.

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. 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


The Department of Education details the requirements for exit counseling for student loan borrowers. Its regulations state: A school must ensure that exit counseling is conducted with each Direct Loan borrower and graduate or professional student PLUS Loan borrower either in person, by audiovisual presentation, or by interactive electronic means. In each case, the school must ensure that this counseling is conducted shortly before the student borrower ceases at least half-time study at the school, and that an individual with expertise in the Title IV programs is reasonably available shortly after the counseling to answer the student borrower’s questions. If exit counseling is conducted by interactive electronic means, the school must take reasonable steps to ensure that each student borrower receives the counseling materials, and participates in and completes the counseling.

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators clarifies that schools must either document the borrower’s completion of the exit counseling or document that the school provided the required exit counseling materials to the borrower. If information is emailed to the student, it must be to an address that is not associated with the school.


It is the policy of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) to communicate the need for exit counseling to students who meet one of three criteria and have received a disbursement of a direct loan in their academic history:

  • reach an enrollment level less than half-time
  • withdraw from the university, either officially or unofficially
  • graduate

Information about exit counseling and loan repayment is available on the Loan Repayment and Consolidation page.

NAU does not track whether students complete exit counseling, only that the information has been provided to students as appropriate. NAU must ensure that students receive the information, so if a personal email address fails or a letter is undeliverable, NAU will make one more attempt to get the information to the student. NAU is required to make at least two attempts.

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 US 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 Student Loans 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.

Note: The Personalized Learning program has different awarding and disbursement rules. Students in this program should direct all loan inquiries to 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

In order to protect the integrity of its federal Title IV, State of Arizona, and NAU institutional financial aid programs, NAU complies with all existing statutory and regulatory requirements to disburse aid only to eligible students, to identify and resolve discrepancies in student information, to ensure all requirements regarding the regulatory definition of “regular student” status are met, and to report any suspected fraud to the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Education (ED). To that end, NAU actively monitors, reviews, and reports any suspected behavior or activity to fraudulently secure financial aid funds.

The definition of “fraud” is the willful misrepresentation or falsification of information for the purpose of securing financial aid that the individual is not eligible for or not eligible to the extent received. Financial aid fraud can take many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • falsified information or forged signatures on an application, verification documents, or loan promissory notes
  • false statements of income
  • false statements of citizenship
  • use of false or fictitious names or aliases, addresses, or Social Security Numbers (SSN), including the deliberate use of multiple SSNs
  • false claims of independent status
  • application for financial aid when currently incarcerated with no disclosure of incarceration status
  • receipt of financial aid without the intent of use for educational purposes or intent to complete academic requirements, and
  • patterns of misreported information

Although all NAU departments (academic and administrative) share responsibility for preventing fraud, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) is responsible for monitoring and resolving discrepancies in the information received from different sources with respect to a student’s application for financial aid. If NAU suspects that a student, employee, or other individual has misreported information and/or altered documentation to increase student aid eligibility or to fraudulently obtain federal funds, NAU will report those suspicions and provide any evidence to ED’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). In addition, a student who attempts to obtain financial aid by fraud may be referred to the Office of the Provost and/or the Dean of Students for possible disciplinary action and may be suspended from receiving financial aid. Employees who assist with fraudulent misrepresentation or misinformation may be subject to the university’s established disciplinary procedures.

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.

Pell Census (also known as Pell Repackaging) 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 email and letter. Students are also notified via NAU email 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 FAFSA 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.

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 toward your enrollment for financial aid purposes.

For example, if you are enrolled in a total of 12 units and you have already repeated 3 of those units in a prior term, you will only be considered enrolled in 9 credits for financial aid purposes. However, if this is your first time repeating those 3 units, you will be considered enrolled in 12 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.

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.


Title IV Federal Student Aid refers to programs established by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which also outlines the general rules that apply to those programs. The US Department of Education (ED) only allows schools to use a student’s Federal Student Aid to pay for current academic year institutional charges. This policy addresses the ability for students to grant permission to apply Title IV aid to non-institutional charges.


For the purpose of this policy, institutional charges are:

  • tuition and mandatory fees
  • housing, when provided by NAU Housing and Residence Life
  • meals, when provided by NAU Dining Services

Title IV financial aid will automatically pay a student’s current year institutional charges; students may not opt out of paying these charges.

Students may voluntarily authorize Northern Arizona University to pay current academic year non-institutional charges with Title IV aid. Examples of non-institutional charges include, but are not limited to, parking permits or fines, library fines, printing charges, and health insurance. With this voluntary authorization, prior academic year charges of up to $200 will also be paid automatically with a student’s current year Title IV aid before a financial aid refund is issued.

If a student does not grant authorization to pay non-institutional and up to $200 of prior academic year charges with Title IV aid, NAU will release the aid to the student’s account and it will only pay institutional charges for the current academic year. Student and Departmental Account Services (SDAS) will release a refund of the current academic year’s Title IV aid without paying other charges, after which the student may make a payment toward any additional account balance. The student may be sent a bill for any unpaid charges on their LOUIE account. Receiving a refund does not indicate that the account is paid in full. Unpaid charges are subject to late fees.

All non-Title IV aid (scholarships, institutional grants) a student receives will pay any charge in the current academic year regardless of the authorization concerning Title IV aid. Some scholarships may have separate restrictions; students are encouraged to review the award letters associated with each award they receive.

Once granted, students may rescind their Title IV authorization at any time. Request to withdraw authorization must be submitted in writing to Student and Departmental Account Services (SDAS). The change will become effective on the date the written notification is received and cannot be applied retroactively.


To authorize the use of Title IV financial aid to pay non-institutional charges, a student must follow these steps to complete the Title IV Authorization:

  1. Log in to LOUIE
  2. Click on Title IV Authorization in their To Do List
  3. Read the information provided and click the link to complete TIV AUTH
  4. Click Grant Permissions
  5. Select the TIV AUTH permission and Next
  6. Read the Permission Form Agreement, check the box, and click Submit

Relevant federal regulations
34 CFR 668.164(c)(3)(ii)(A)
34 CFR 668.164(c)(4)
34 CFR 668.164(c)(5)
34 CFR 668.165(b)(1)(i)
34 CFR 668.22(g)

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.

For more information please visit our verification policy.

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 the withdrawal form on the Office of the Registrar website.

If you plan to withdraw from the university, please visit our office’s withdrawal policy for further information.

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