Frequently Asked Questions
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
What date can I submit the FAFSA?
FAFSA opens up October 1 of each year, and UND’s priority deadline is February 1 for the fall semester. It’s important that you submit your FAFSA by the priority deadline so that you don’t lose out on potential funding, such as federal-based or institutional aid.
If you're starting in the spring or summer semester, you should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible.
Why do you recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval process when completing the FAFSA?
We recommend that you use the IRS Data Retrieval process because it enables you to transfer your IRS tax return information directly from the IRS website into your FAFSA, which helps ensure that it contains accurate tax information.
My parents aren’t helping me pay for college. Do I need to report their information on my FAFSA?
In general, yes. Even if your parents don’t contribute money toward your education, you’re considered a dependent and will need to report their tax information. However, if any of the following describe you, your parents will not need to report their information:
- You are 24 or older.
- You are married.
- You will be enrolling in courses for a master’s or doctoral program.
- You are a veteran or on active duty (not during training).
- You have children or legal dependents (other than a spouse) who will receive more than half of their support from you.
- When you were 13 or older, both of your parents were deceased, you were in foster care or a ward of the court.
- You are an emancipated minor.
- You are in legal guardianship as determined by a court.
- You are an unaccompanied youth who is determined to be homeless by your high school, school district homeless liaison, a director of an emergency shelter program, runaway or homeless youth basic center, or a transitional living program.
If your parents are required to report their tax information on your FAFSA and choose not to, you'll only be eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Please notify UND One-Stop Student Services if you're going to utilize this option.
My parents aren’t together and don’t share a household. How do I report their info on my FAFSA?
When completing the FAFSA, please report information about yourself and your “custodial parent,” the parent you’ve lived with the most during the last 12 months. If your parents shared custody, report the income of the one you lived with the most or who provides 51% of your support.
Understanding Your Financial Aid Award
What is Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is used to calculate the amount of federal student aid you're eligible to receive.
EFC is calculated based on the financial information reported on your FAFSA and includes:
- Your parents’ contribution from income and assets
- Your contribution and assets
- Number of people in household
- Number of people in college
- Taxed and untaxed income
- Taxes paid
- Certain assets
- Number of wage earners
EFC isn’t a judgment about how much your family should be able to pay; instead, it’s an estimate of their capacity to absorb the costs of education over time.
How is financial aid calculated?
Your financial need is the difference between our estimate of your cost of attending UND and the amount federal and state governments expect you and your family to contribute to those costs.
The calculation is:
Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need
For example, if the COA is $21,000 and your EFC is $7,000, then your financial need will be $14,000. If your EFC is more than your COA, your financial need will be considered $0.
What happens to my financial aid award if I receive additional outside assistance?
Federal regulations require the Student Financial Aid Office to review your file to ensure that you're still eligible for aid. In some cases, outside aid may reduce or cancel aid that has been already awarded. Notifying the Student Financial Aid Office early will make sure your awards are accurate.
How does Federal Work Study (FWS) work?
A work-study award on your award letter means you're eligible for Federal Work-Study employment; it’s not a guarantee of a job.
FWS employees are paid an hourly rate. The funds won’t be applied to your account; instead, you’ll receive a paycheck twice a month.
If you begin running low on FWS funding, please have your supervisor contact Career Services.
Receiving Your Financial Aid Award
How will I receive my financial award letter?
When you’re awarded financial aid, you’ll receive an award letter sent to your UND student email address. If you haven’t already, claim your account with the ND University System in order to activate your student email. The award letter will also appear in CampusConnection under “Communications” on the right of the page.
How is financial aid applied to my account?
If you’ve accepted financial aid, it will automatically be applied to your account. Financial aid is normally applied after the last day to add/drop a course. The Student Financial Aid Office will verify that the number of credits you’re enrolled in corresponds with the amount of aid you’ll be receiving. Any adjustments will be made to your account before aid is applied.
What happens when my federal financial aid is not disbursed to my account?
Look at your "To Do List" on the Self Service page in CampusConnection to see if any items are listed as “initiated.” If so, you’ll need to complete these items before loans are released.
What events can hold up the release of federal financial aid?
The Department of Education may place a hold on your financial aid if your FAFSA is missing information. If this is the case, please refer to the communication you’ve received from the Student Financial Aid Office for instructions.
In addition, if you haven't met Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), your federal financial aid will be placed on hold until your SAP petition is approved or you meet SAP once again.
What is holding up my private education loan?
After the Student Financial Aid office has certified the loan, you (as the borrower) must follow up with the lender to sign all final paperwork and disclosures. As soon as you’ve done that, the bank is required by federal law to hold the funds for 7-10 business days. After that, the bank will release the funds to the Student Financial Aid Office.
How long does it take to complete the verification process?
As soon as the Student Financial Aid Office has received all requested documentation, verification will be completed in approximately 7-10 business days. In some cases, the process may take longer because of high volumes.
If you don’t provide the required documentation in a timely manner, you’ll receive an email to your UND email address indicating the items you need to provide before your financial aid can be reviewed.
How many credits do I need to be enrolled in to receive financial aid?
In general, you must be enrolled full-time as an undergraduate (at least 12 credits per semester) or enrolled in at least 5 credits per semester as a graduate or law student to receive financial aid. In some cases, you may qualify for limited financial aid as a part-time student (6 credits as an undergraduate). If you are enrolled in less than 5 credits you may still qualify for Federal Pell Grant, ND State Grant and some types of UND scholarships and private loans.
If Your Financial Aid Award Isn't Enough
What if I have a unique family situation that the FAFSA doesn't take into consideration?
A financial aid advisor may adjust your EFC if the advisor believes your family’s financial circumstances aren’t accurately represented in the FAFSA. The advisor won’t make this adjustment automatically; you must provide valid, substantiated reasons for it. Reasons may include a decrease in income, high medical debit, non-reimbursed employee expenses or others.
You can apply for an adjustment by filling out a Contribution Adjustment Form. Normal processing time for a contribution adjustment is 15-30 days once documentation is received.
What if my federal aid is not enough to cover my bill?
We’ll do everything possible to help you cover your bill, but if federal aid is not enough we encourage you to apply for private scholarships and use scholarship search services. Current UND students can check out Scholarship Central (UND's scholarship database) to find scholarships in our academic departments.
Student Account Services offers a payment plan, and UND works with various lenders that offer private education loans to help cover the cost of your remaining balance. FASTChoice can help you compare lenders, interest rates, borrowing amounts, and loan eligibility.
What is a short-term loan?
This is a loan you can apply to receive if you need immediate financial help because of unexpected or unusual circumstances. You can apply for a short-term loan of up to $500; anything more than that requires additional documentation. Short-term loans must be repaid within 30 days of application.
Short-term loans are typically used for books/supplies and off-campus living expenses, and cannot be used to pay off an outstanding balance with UND Student Account Services. If you have a past-due or delinquent account balance with Student Account Services, you’re unable to take out a short-term loan.
Is additional aid available if one or both of my parents lose their job?
There are no scholarships for students whose parents lose a job. In this case, you may want to pursue an EFC adjustment, which may be able to decrease your estimated family contribution (EFC) and may make you eligible for additional aid.
As an aviation student, will I qualify for additional aid because of the extra costs?
Aviation students are considered undergraduates and face program expenses, such as lab and flight fees, that go beyond the University’s standard tuition and fees. In many cases, the financial aid you’ve received may not be enough to cover these expenses, and it’s unlikely that you would qualify for additional federal aid. We recommend that you seek other sources of aid, such as Federal Direct PLUS or private education loans.
Maintaining Your Financial Aid Eligibility
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
You need to make Satisfactory Academic Progress to continue receiving federal student aid. At UND, SAP requires that you:
- Achieve an institutional cumulative GPA of 2.0
- Successfully complete 66.67% of the credits you attempt
- Obtain a degree within 187 credits
The Student Financial Aid Office evaluates SAP at the end of each semester. If you fail to meet SAP, you’ll receive an email to your UND email account and a negative service indicator will be placed on your account, indicating that you have a SAP hold.
There are 3 different types of SAP holds:
- Financial Aid Disqualification: You don’t meet one or more of the conditions of SAP and are ineligible for all aid that requires SAP.
- Financial Aid Warning: You don’t meet the completion rate and/or GPA conditions of SAP, but met all conditions at the beginning of the previous semester. You're eligible for one additional semester of aid requiring SAP (e.g., you don’t meet SAP after the fall semester, but are given a warning email and given the spring semester to try to meet SAP).
- Financial Aid Information Only: You're close to not meeting one or more SAP requirements.
What happens if I am disqualified from financial aid because I don’t meet SAP requirements?
You have the right to appeal. All petitions will be reviewed based on the SAP policy to determine if you can continue receiving federal aid.
What happens if I withdraw from my courses?
If you withdraw from courses, your financial aid eligibility will be reviewed. If you were awarded a Federal Pell Grant, your academic attendance/academic participation will be confirmed for the withdrawn course. In addition, continually dropping courses may put you at risk of not meeting SAP.
What if I withdraw from the University?
If you withdraw — either officially or unofficially — from the University, you may be required to return all or a portion of the financial aid you received.
If you received a refund earlier in the semester, you may be required to return a portion of these funds to the financial aid programs from which you received the aid. This portion represents funds that were intended to pay for education-related expenses through the end of the semester. The amount to be returned will be calculated from the date on which you officially withdrew. If you don’t officially withdraw, the unofficial withdrawal date will be your last documented date of attendance/academic participation or the midpoint of the semester, whichever is later.
Am I eligible to obtain financial aid for summer semester?
To receive financial aid for summer semester, you must have filled out the prior year's FAFSA and be enrolled in a minimum of 6 semester-based credits for the summer as an undergraduate student, 5 credits as a grad student or 3 credits as a law student. Once registered, you must also fill out the Request for Summer Financial Aid Form.
Keep in mind that because summer semester is considered the final part of the current academic year, your ability to receive summer financial aid depends on the amount of federal aid you’ve already received for the fall and spring semesters. If you’ve already accepted the full amount for the current academic year, you may not have any federal aid eligibility left for the summer.
When do I begin repaying my loans?
After you graduate, leave school or drop below part-time enrollment (6 credits as an undergraduate and 5 credits as a graduate or law student), you have one 6-month period (called a “grace period”) before you must begin repaying your loans. Your repayment period begins the day after your grace period ends. Your loan servicer will notify you of the date your payment is due and send a billing notice to the address on file. However, you must make payments even if you don’t receive a bill or repayment notice.
What if I don’t know who my loan servicer is?
You can find your loan servicer by visiting http://www.nslds.ed.gov. After you’ve logged in and a list of all loans has appeared, click on the individual numbers to find your loan lender.
What if I have problems repaying my federal loans?
If you believe that you may experience difficulties making a scheduled repayment, contact your loan servicer immediately. They’ll work with you to help you avoid the costs and consequences of delinquency or default. Your servicer can tell you about options available to help you avoid default, including changing repayment plans, deferment or forbearance.