Financial Aid FAQ’s
1. How can I pay for school?
Graduate education is a valuable investment in your future. The costs associated with a high-quality education can be challenging, but our goal is to assist you with securing the necessary resources to fund your education. Some students are able to pay out of pocket, but most students utilize loans. The loan options available are as follows:
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loan: This is a federal loan where interest accrues while you are in school. The interest may be deferred for 6 months after graduation. You may obtain up to $20,500 a year from the unsubsidized Stafford loan. The current interest rate is 6.8% fixed with a .5% disbursement fee. You will fill out the FAFSA form to apply for this loan.
- Smart Option Private Loan: This loan is credit based and is not funded by the government. Interest accrues at a variable rate. Most students will need cosigners for this loan. Visit Sallie Mae at www.SallieMae.com or call 1-800-891-1410 for more information about this loan option.
2. What are the steps to complete the federal loan process?
Applying for a federal loan is a two-step process; first you complete the FAFSA application, then you must visit the Virtual Financial Aid Office (VFAO) located on the USA website or at this address: https://usa.vfao.com. The VFAO is where you will complete the required financial aid interview, be directed to sign your promissory note and submit your loan for processing. Here are step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process:
I. To begin the loan application process, first visit www.fafsa.ed.gov and complete the 12/13 FAFSA application which will be good for 1 year. Graduate students are typically considered as an Independent student when completing the FAFSA. The FAFSA is the first step of the loan application. You must also visit the “Virtual Financial Aid Office” (VFAO) to complete an interview and sign a Promissory Note.
- Our Federal ID Code is G31713.
II. After completing the FAFSA application, go to https://usa.vfao.com. Start a new Interview for 2012/13 – Select terms of Summer 2013, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. The interview is an essential part of your entrance counseling, and it is used to gather required information that is not included on the FASFA application. The interview must be completed in order to process the FAFSA information.
III. On the first and last page of the interview, you will see a box that says “Sign your Student Loan Promissory Note”. Under that, click on “Federal Direct Loan Program”. It will take you to https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action. Go to “Master Promissory Note”. In the middle of the page click on Unsubsidized to sign the Stafford MPN.
IV. The maximum yearly loan amount you can receive from the Stafford Loan is $20,500. Additional funding is available through the Private Smart Option Student Loan. To find out more information on this loan, go to www.SallieMae.com/SmartMoney.
V. Once the FAFSA, Interview, and Promissory Notes are completed, the information you submitted will be verified. It will take 5-7 weeks to complete the loan process once you have signed the necessary documents. You will receive by email an “Awards Notification” from the VFAO. It will indicate the amount of Student Federal Aid awarded, and the date the loan will disburse to the University. You should review the Awards Notification to verify the amount you will receive each term, and the dates the loan will disburse to USA. Save this Awards Letter for future reference.
*The Summer federal loans are expected to disburse to the University on 5/7/2013 and refunds will be ready on 5/10/2013. However, if you apply late, these dates do not apply, and loans will disburse after they are approved.
3. What is the University’s Federal School Code?
The code is G31713 for all campuses.
4. What federal grants are available for graduate students? There are no federal grants available for graduate students.
5. Why do I have to complete a financial aid interview? During the interview you will provide additional data that is required to process your loan application but was not gathered by the FAFSA form. Also during the interview, you will be directed to sign your promissory note. Your loan will not be processed if you do not complete this step.
6. What is an MPN? An MPN is a Master Promissory Note. This note acknowledges your responsibility to repay all loans incurred during your education. Once an MPN has been signed you should not have to sign another one during your education.
7. I have completed the Financial Aid Interview. What happens next?
Your FAFSA and financial aid interview will be reviewed by the VFAO team. You will be contacted if there are errors or if additional information is needed. The VFAO will then contact the University to confirm your actual or expected matriculation. Once confirmed, your request for Federal Student Assistance will be processed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the U.S. Department of Education’s Financial Aid Handbook. Once processed, you will receive an Awards Letter via email confirming your federal loan.
8. How will I receive my loan money?
Federal loans will be disbursed to the University in 3 equal amounts, once at the beginning of each trimester. The balance of your tuition is due at Registration, but you will not be required to pay at that time if you have a government and/or Sallie Mae loan pending. When the University receives the loan disbursement, the Accounting Department will apply tuition and fees and credit any loans pending on your behalf. After this is done, if you have a credit balance on your account, the remaining funds will be refunded back to you. You will be given instructions on how to sign up for Direct Deposit so your refund will go directly to the bank account of your choice.
-If you are entering in the Fall class, you should begin the financial aid application process in June, for the Spring class you should start the process in October and for the Summer class you should start in February.
-Write down your usernames and passwords and store them in a safe place.
-More information is located on the VFAO website (https://usa.vfao.com).
-Contact Donna McCutchan at firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-241-1027 x 1208 or Joelle Sutton at email@example.com 1-800-241-1027 x-1241 if you have additional questions.