Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
2. When will financial aid decisions be made?
Financial aid decisions for returning students whose applications were received by the March 1st deadline will be emailed to the student's Mount St. Mary's email address in June. Award letters for entering freshmen are emailed to the student's email listed on the FAFSA beginning in mid- February.
3. My parents will not complete their federal tax returns before the priority deadline for filing the FAFSA. Should I wait until their tax forms are finished before I complete my financial aid forms?
No. You can complete the FAFSA application based on reasonable estimates of your family's prior year income. It is always recomended that you and your parents take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval tool on FAFSA once your tax returns have been filed. This allows your income information to be pulled directly from the IRS's website and it usually becomes available in mid-February. Paper tax filers can access the data about 8 weeks after filing their returns, while online tax filers usually have access to the data around 2 weeks after filing.
4. My parents will not be claiming me as a dependent on their tax returns. Can I file my financial aid applications as an independent student?
Probably not if you are an undergraduate student. To determine if you meet the federal definition of an independent student, review the six questions in Step Three of the FAFSA. If you believe your situation is unique and you should be considered independent, please make an appointment with the Financial Aid Office.
5. I was awarded a scholarship from a private outside organization. Do I need to inform anyone?
Yes. Federal law stipulates that students may not receive federal support if their financial aid exceeds their demonstrated financial need. The good news is that you can use the outside award first to eliminate your student employment and/or student loan before any adjustment in your grants will be made. For most students, this will mean that 100% of their outside award can be used to reduce their work or their loan without impacting their eligibility for institutional aid. Total aid including outside resources cannot exceed your demonstrated financial need and cost of attendance.
6. How will dropping below full-time enrollment impact my financial aid award?
Most initial awards are based on expected full-time enrollment and the corresponding tuition charge, unless otherwise indicated. One of the requirements for any institutional academic scholarship is that you be enrolled full time. Furthermore, if you enroll less than full time, your cost of education will be recalculated using actual reduced tuition costs. Your family contribution will not be revised, as you are expected to contribute the same amount regardless of your enrollment status. Your eligibility for need-based aid will be reduced in proportion to the reduced tuition or other charges that result from less than full-time study.
7. If I choose to live off campus, will my financial aid be affected?
Your merit-based aid will not be affected, but your need-based Grant-in-Aid would be reduced in proportion to the reduced university charges. If there is a credit balance on your student account once tuition and fee charges have been paid, you may use this credit to pay for off-campus rent and food expenses. A refund of any credit balance on your student account is obtained directly from the Accounting & Finance Office.
8. How can I get a work study job if I currently don't have one?
You should contact the Human Resources Office and ask to be put on a waiting list. Students who have remaining financial need are given priority on the list. Returning students must be on a re-hire list from the Human Resources Office to have work study included as part of their financial aid package.
9. What is the difference between the Financial Aid Office and the Accounting & Finance Office?
The two offices have separate administrative functions. The Financial Aid Office, located on the first floor of Bradley Hall, determines eligibility for grants, loans and work study. Located on the third floor of Bradley, the Accounting & Finance Office is responsible for billing and collecting payments from students for university charges.
10. When will I know how much I owe for next year?
The Accounting & Finance Office will send first semester bills in mid-June. You can estimate the amount you'll have to pay once you receive your financial aid package. Subtract your total aid from the listed tuition, room and board charges and divide by two to calculate what you'll owe for the fall semester.
11. What is student loan consolidation?
Loan consolidation allows students to combine all of their existing federal student loans into one. There are several advantages of loan consolidation. It simplifies repayment by having multiple loans under a single loan holder, reduces the required minimum monthly payments by extending the repayment period from the standard 10 years to a maximum of 30 years, and uses a graduated repayment schedule. The disadvantages to loan consolidation are that students end up paying more interest and they are no longer eligible for many types of deferments. At this time, the only federal consolidation loan being offered is with the U. S. Department of Education. You can obtain an application and more information online at loanconsolidation.ed.gov.
12. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
This tool allows data from your federal tax returns to be retrieved directly from the IRS's website in order to auto-fill the income section of your FAFSA form. The IRS Data Retrieval tool usually becomes available in mid-February. The IRS Information is able to be retrieved approximately two weeks for electronic tax filers and approximately 8 weeks for paper tax filers.
13. Do I need to complete a FAFSA form every year?
You do need to reapply for aid each year by completing a FAFSA form. It becomes available each year after January 1st and should be filed prior to the March 1 deadline.
14. Where can I find a list of all of my federal student loans?
You are able to view all of the federal loan history by creating a login with the National Student Loan Database (www.nslds.ed.gov). To gain access to the NSLDS website, it is best to use a web browser such as Firefox or the newest version of Internet Explorer. You will need your FSA ID to log into the website.
15. I am a graduate student who just registered for classes. How can I apply for financial aid? Graduate students who have registered for classes should make sure to complete a FAFSA form to be eligible for the federal Direct Student Loans. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and make sure you file the application. It is also a good idea to contact the Financial Aid Office to ensure receipt.
16. I am a graduate student who has applied for aid, how will I receive my award letter from the Financial Aid Office? We will email your award letter to you as soon as it is ready. If it is your first time applying for aid as a graduate student, the email address we use is the email you reported on your FAFSA form. If you are a returning graduate student who has a Mount email address, that is the email that will be used. Graduate students are packaged each semester once registration has been processed.