financial aid faqs for parents
Q: How can my son/daughter apply for need-based financial aid?
A: Your student needs to complete the FAFSA to be considered for all of our need-based programs. These include: St. Bonaventure Grant-in-Aid, Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Stafford Loan, and the New York State Tuition Assistance Program. The FAFSA can be completed on-line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/.
Q: How does my son/daughter know if he/she is eligible for the NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)?
A: TAP is administered by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). All New York state residents who complete the FAFSA will be notified of their TAP eligibility directly from HESC. For more information on the TAP program, including calculating a TAP award, changing a school code, and/or checking an award status, encourage your student to visit the HESC site at http://www.hesc.com.
Q: Will my child’s financial aid package change next year?
A: Award amounts may change from year to year for various reasons. Calculated family contributions, costs, and award limits can change and can affect your student’s package. Eligibility for the Federal Stafford Loan will increase as your student advances from freshman to senior levels. Merit scholarships are renewed for the same amount as long as your student maintains the required academic requirements. Please note that your son/daughter must file the FAFSA every year in order to receive any need-based funding.
Q: What if there is a change in the family’s financial situation?
A: Special circumstances should be brought to the attention of the Office of Financial Aid. You should put your request in writing, outlining your special circumstance. You may be asked to complete a Special Condition Application, which will be reviewed. Your son/daughter will be notified if additional funding is awarded.
Q: What types of financial aid must be paid back and what types do not have to be paid back?
A: Scholarship and grants (Federal, State and institutional) do not have to be paid back. Federal Stafford, Perkins, and PLUS, and Alternative loans must be paid back.
Q: If my son/daughter received an academic scholarship/grant this year will it be renewed?
A: For your student to continue to receive an academic scholarship/grant, he/she must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) depending on the type of scholarship/grant that he/she received. Encourage your student to review the information on the back of the award letter that he/she received. The cumulative GPA is reviewed each year at the end of the spring semester and your student will be notified if his/her scholarship/grant has been reduced or revoked.
Q: If my son/daughter does well academically, will his/her scholarship/grant be increased to a higher level award?
A: No. Institutional awards are awarded to your son/daughter in his/her freshman year. The value will not increase in subsequent years.
Q: What is Federal Work-Study?
A: Federal Work Study (FWS) is a federally funded financial aid employment program for students who demonstrate financial need. If your son/daughter is eligible, he/she is awarded a specific dollar amount that can be earned during the academic year. Unlike other types of financial aid, a FWS award is not applied to the student’s bill. Instead, your son/daughter will receive a paycheck for the hours that he/she worked. Your student may work on campus as well as off campus in an approved agency site. Your son/daughter should be encouraged to visit the financial aid office or visit my.sbu.edu to view available job opportunities.
Q: If my son/daughter does not have a Federal Work Study award, can they still work on campus?
A: Yes. Many offices/departments will hire students under the Bona Work program who do not qualify for Federal Work Study. Students are encouraged to visit the financial aid office or visit my.sbu.edu to view available job opportunities under the Bona Work program.
Q: Does my son/daughter have to use their Federal Work Study award?
A: No. It is not mandatory that your student obtain work study employment. Work study earnings are intended to help your son/daughter pay for books, supplies and personal expenses during the academic year. Work study earnings also have the advantage of being excluded when applying for financial aid in subsequent years. Your son/daughter may have earnings from a summer job or have financial help from the family that will help meet all educational expenses without utilizing the work study award. However if your student does not obtain a work study position he/she will not receive the work study award. The student will only receive a paycheck for the hours that he/she works.
Q: What is the difference between a Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan and an Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan?
A: The government pays the interest on a subsidized loan while your son/daughter is enrolled at least half time in college. The government does not pay the interest on an unsubsidized loan. Your son/daughter will need to make interest payments while he/she is still enrolled in school or defer the interest payments to begin after leaving/graduating from college.
Q: Are fees deducted from Stafford Loan?
A: There is a 2% origination fee that is withheld from most loans. When calculating how much of the Stafford Loan will be credited to your student’s account, multiply the amount that appears on the award letter by 98%. For example, from a typical freshman loan of $2,625, a total of $2,572.50 will be credited to your student’s account.
Q: What should I do if my student is selected for Verification?
A: If your student is selected for Verification of information by either St. Bonaventure or the federal processor, the Office of Financial Aid will send you a request for additional, missing or incomplete documents. Please respond to these requests as soon as possible since awards are not final until the verification process is complete and the results of verification may revise your eligibility and financial aid package.
Q: Is it possible to appeal the financial aid award?
A: Yes. If you experience a change in financial circumstances, it is possible to appeal the award. This appeal needs to be done in writing and sent with documentation to the Office of Financial Aid for consideration.
Q: When do I pay my bill?
A: Tuition bills are sent on a semester basis. You will receive the tuition bill prior to the beginning of each semester. In July and December, the Business Office will send the bill, which will list approved financial aid if all necessary paperwork has been completed. Payment for the Fall semester is due in August, and the Spring semester bill is due mid-December. The bill you receive will list the exact due date. This date is very important, as you may be assessed a late payment fee or be held from registration if the bill is not paid on time.
Q: Are payment plans available?
A: Yes. The Business Office offers plans that enable you to pay your balance due in monthly installments. The plans do not charge interest, but do charge enrollment fees. For some plans a down payment is required. You will receive specific information about the plans in a separate mailing from the Business Office. If you have any questions you can contact the Business Office at (716) 375-2100.
Q: Are there any additional financing options available beyond those listed on the financial aid award letter?
A: Your son/daughter may consider applying for an Alternative Loan. This is a loan borrowed through a major lender. Generally, the student must have a credit-worthy co-signer. Parents may wish to consider a PLUS loan.
Q: How will moving off-campus affect my son/daughter’s financial aid?
A: If your student is receiving an institutional award with a resident component, then he/she must reside in on-campus housing. If your student elects to move off-campus, the resident portion of the award will be removed from his/her package.
Q: If my son/daughter receives an outside scholarship will his/her financial aid be adjusted?
A: Generally outside scholarships, those scholarships received from sources outside the university, will be used to meet your student’s remaining unmet need, if there is any. If your son/daughter does not have a remaining unmet need, it may be necessary to adjust the self-help (loans or work) portion of the financial aid award. You should encourage your student to contact the Office of Financial Aid with specific questions in this regard.
Q: What about scholarship search services that I keep reading about? They make it sound so easy and often guarantee finding scholarships for which my son/daughter will qualify.
A: Caution your son/daughter of any scholarship services that guarantee results, especially if there is a fee involved. Make sure they use caution with unsolicited offers of assistance and read all the fine print carefully. Remember, scholarships are free money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.