Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is federal, state, institutional or private financial assistance that comes in the form of (1) grants or scholarships, which do not have to be paid back, (2) work-study, a part-time job on campus, and (3) student loans, which are required to be repaid starting six months after you leave school. Students must be enrolled and attending a financial aid-eligible program to qualify.
Applying for Financial Aid
- When do I apply for financial aid?
You can begin applying for financial aid in January prior to the fall semester you plan to attend. The earlier you apply, the better, as some resources are limited and may run out. We encourage all students to apply as soon as they and their family complete their taxes for the previous year.
- How can I apply for financial aid?
You can apply for financial aid online at www.fafsa.gov. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To be able to electronically sign your application and access it at a later date, you should first apply for a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov. You will need your name, social security number and date of birth. If a parent is required to sign the FAFSA, one parent must also apply for a PIN number.
- What happens after I apply for financial aid?
The Federal Processor will process the data you completed on the FAFSA and will send you a Student Aid Report in the mail within 2-3 business days. If you provided an email address on the FAFSA, the processor will email you the Student Aid Report. This report details the information that you provided and informs you of any corrections that need to be made. At the same time that you receive the Student Aid Report, the Financial Aid Office receives your information electronically as long as you listed NDNU as one of your school choices on your financial aid application. Once we receive that file electronically, the Financial Aid Staff will determine if additional information or documentation is required, at which time, the staff will send you a letter indicating what is needed.
- What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?
The priority deadline is March 2 of each year. Adhere to this deadline for consideration for funding from California State. The sooner you apply, the more likely your funding will be available when you start school. NDNU requires your financial aid file is complete to defer your tuition on financial aid for the semester. It is important to note that your financial aid file must be completed to be eligible for any funding.
- How do I receive the money I am awarded?
First, you must provide all necessary requested documents to complete your file so your eligibility can be determined. Grants, work-study and loans will be awarded in that order based on eligibility and availability. You will receive notice of the awards by mail or email with A Student Guide to Financial Aid Award Information brochure. At the same time, your award is posted to your campus portal. Grants are accepted for you. If you accept the student loan and you are a first-time borrower, you must complete the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Loan Counseling Session. Once the paperwork is completed and you are enrolled for the minimum number of required credits, your financial aid will be applied to your student account as the funds are received. Your tuition and fees are then paid, and a refund check will be processed for credit balances.
- Will I have to pay back my financial aid if I withdraw from my program (classes)?
If a student completely withdraws from school (drops all classes) or quits attending before the 60% point in the semester, the student will be required to repay a portion of the aid s/he received for that semester. A Return of Title IV worksheet is completed using the amount of aid received and the withdrawal date to determine if any repayment is due. You will be notified by mail as to the repayment amount if necessary.Note: It is important to consult with the Financial Aid Office prior to withdrawal to determine how your financial aid eligibility will be affected.
Eligibility for Financial Aid
- How do I know if I will be eligible for financial aid?
Never assume you will not be eligible! You will not know what types of financial aid you are eligible for until you apply. When you complete the FAFSA application process, you will be considered for Federal and State grants, loans, and work-study. All students who meet general eligibility requirements will at least be eligible for the Federal Direct Loan Program. Every student can get a student loan! More than 90% of NDNU students pursuing a degree or diploma and who are enrolled at least half-time receive some type of financial aid.
- Do I have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid? Should I bother to apply for financial aid if I am enrolled less than half-time?
Students with exceptionally high need may be eligible for a Pell Grant as a less-than-half-time student. Complete the FAFSA and your eligibility will be determined based on the results of the FAFSA and based on your enrollment level of full-time (12 or more credits), three-quarter time (9-11 credits), half-time (6-8 credits) or less than half time (1-5 credits). The Financial Aid Office will automatically consider you for the Pell Grant and any other type of financial aid that you may be eligible for and will notify you in an award letter. Students must be enrolled at least half-time to be considered for Federal Direct Loans.
- I heard I have to be accepted into an “eligible” program of study to receive financial aid. What does that mean?
The federal and state regulations require a student to apply to the college and be accepted into an “eligible” program. At NDNU, all bachelor programs, graduate programs, and most certificate programs are considered eligible.
- Do I need to have good grades to receive financial aid?
Students who receive financial aid are required to complete a minimum number of units with a minimum cumulative GPA (GPA on all units taken at NDNU) to remain eligible to receive financial aid. The following are NDNU’s satisfactory academic requirements:
- Full-time undergraduate, 2.0 GPA, 12 units/semester
- Part-time undergraduate, 2.0 GPA, 6 units/semester
- Credential students, 2.0 GPA, 6 units/semester
- Graduate students, 3.0 GPA, 3 units/semester
- I’m taking classes at another college in addition to my classes at NDNU. Can I get financial aid there too?
You may only get financial aid at one college for each semester. You should request financial aid through your home school (the school you intend to graduate from). A Consortium Agreement can be used to include the credits from both schools. If we are considered your home school (the school you intend to graduate from), you should request your Consortium Agreement through the NDNU Financial Aid Office to initiate a Consortium Agreement. Courses taken must apply toward graduation for your program of study.
- I’m only taking general education courses, am I eligible for financial aid?
Each student must be accepted into an aid-eligible program to be eligible for financial aid. If you have been accepted to a program of study and are taking general education courses only because you are on the waiting list for core classes, you can be eligible to receive financial aid.
- Does the college take into account my living expenses when determining financial aid?
Yes, when determining the amount of financial aid you are eligible for, the Financial Aid Office assigns each student a budget, which includes tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses, transportation and loan fees. Child-care expenses, excessive transportation or disability-related expenses are not budgeted unless the student provides documentation to the Financial Aid Office for consideration.
- What school code do I list for Notre Dame de Namur University?NDNU’s FAFSA school code is 001179.
- What is a Renewal FAFSA?If you have applied for financial aid this past year, you may be able to fill out a renewal FAFSA rather than a new FAFSA. The renewal FAFSA will include all of last year’s information. You just need to update your and your family’s income information and any data that has changed. If you have a PIN number, you can access your renewal FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. To request your PIN number, go to www.pin.ed.gov.
- What if my family income has changed since last year? How will they know?You are required to use the information from the prior tax year on the FAFSA. If your and/or your family’s income information has changed significantly in the current year due to unemployment, death, divorce, medical expenses or other special circumstances, you may be eligible to be considered for a special circumstance or re-evaluation. You can request a “Special Circumstance/Re-evaluation” by writing to the financial aid office and submit to them with documentation of the changes (pay stubs, more recent tax information, medical bills, or unemployment compensation payout report, etc…). The Financial Aid Office will then consider your current situation to determine if you will be eligible for more financial aid.
- I don’t live with my parents. Do I have my parents complete their section on the FAFSA? Can I be considered independent?Living on your own doesn’t automatically qualify you as an independent student. The Federal Government requires parents to complete their information and considers you a dependent until you are 24 years old, married, have dependents of your own that you provide more than 50% support for, are pursuing a graduate degree, are an orphan or ward of the court, or are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. If there are unusual circumstances, please discuss them with the Financial Aid Staff, and they will determine the best way for you to complete the FAFSA.
- I originally filled out my FAFSA with a different school listed. How do I add NDNU?You can go online at www.fafsa.gov to add NDNU to your FAFSA, school code 001179.
- My parent is also taking classes, should I include them as going to college on my FAFSA?No, parents cannot be included in the number in college.
- Do I have to pay back a Pell grant?There are only two reasons a student would ever have to pay back a Pell Grant. First, if a student drops courses which impact enrollment status (for example: full-time to three-quarter time, etc.) during the first 14 days of the semester, their Pell Grant eligibility must be recalculated. If a student had not received their funds yet, it will be recalculated and the student will receive a “revised” award letter. If Pell funds have been credited to the account or disbursed, the student will be required to repay a portion of the Pell Grant. If a student withdraws from school (drops all classes) before the 60% point in the semester or quits attending, a Return of Title IV worksheet is completed using the amount of aid received and the last date attended to determine if any repayment is due. You will be notified by mail as to the repayment amount if necessary.
- What types of Federal GRANT Programs are available?Pell/ Teach Grant – Students are eligible for Pell/ Teach Grant based on financial need calculated by completion of the FAFSA. A student will be identified by completing the FAFSA.
- What is a SEOG?A SEOG is a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. A limited amount of SEOG is appropriated to NDNU from the federal government every year to be awarded to the students with the highest financial need.
- What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?The subsidized loan is need-based (based on the information you provided on the FAFSA) and the government pays the interest while you are in school and during authorized periods of deferment.The unsubsidized loan is non need-based and you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
- What if I only want a loan?You must first file the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine what other type of aid you qualify for; you will be offered need-based (grants, work-study and subsidized loans) funds first, then last resort type of funds (unsubsidized or PLUS loans). To be eligible for Financial Aid, you must be accepted into an eligible program and be planning on attending at least half-time. The loan is always considered financial aid even though you have to repay it.
- How much can I borrow on a student loan?The Department of Education has set maximum levels for student borrowing which is driven by the total number of credits completed toward graduation in your program. Credits determine your grade level. Those limits are listed below. Each student's eligibility is determined based on the results of the FAFSA, if the student is dependent or independent, the unmet need and cost of attendance.
Direct Stafford Loan Limits (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
$20,500 ($8,500) for each year
3rd- and 4th-year
1Except those whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
2These limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan.
3The numbers in parentheses represent the maximum amount that may be subsidized.
4The aggregate amounts for graduate students include loans for undergraduate study.
- Can I just go to the bank to get a student loan?
No, for federal low-interest student loans, you need to complete the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will determine your eligibility and help you complete the application process. There are several private lenders who offer private alternative loan programs. Caution: These loans are usually higher interest and may require a cosigner. NDNU does not encourage students to take private loans before exhausting federal financial aid options. Consult with the Financial Aid Office before taking any private educational loans.
- Can I cancel my loan if I don’t need it?Yes, NDNU gives you the option to accept or decline any loan offered. You may cancel your loans at any time as long as your tuition has been paid. Contact the Financial Aid Office to cancel your loan or the second half of the loan.
- Why isn’t my loan here yet?
Did you complete the Master Promissory Note and the online Entrance Loan Session at www.studentloans.gov (first-time borrowers)? If yes, your loan funds will be disbursed as they are released to NDNU. If your current loan has not been disbursed to NDNU within two weeks of completing your documents, contact the Financial Aid Office for further information.
- What is a Master Promissory Note?
The Master Promissory Note is a legal document, which binds you to the conditions and terms of your student loan. It is necessary to complete the MPN the first time you choose to borrow at NDNU. You can fill out your MPN by following the loan links at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan. Enter your PIN when requested.
- What is the interest rate on student loans?
For any Federal Direct Stafford loans taken after July 1, 2012, the interest rate is fixed at 3.4% (undergrad) and all Unsubsidized Stafford Loans taken after July 1, 2012 will be processed at 6.8% interest. Your loan servicer will notify you of any interest rate changes throughout the life of your loans.
- Can I get more loan than what I was awarded?
Your loan amount is determined by your financial need. Not all students will qualify for the maximum loans. NDNU takes a proactive approach in awarding student loans and wants you to understand the difference in need-based and non-need-based loans. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you may want to be considered for Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan or Parent PLUS loans. They will determine the maximum amount you are eligible for and advise you appropriately. The amount is then divided between the semesters you plan to attend. An origination fee is assessed to each loan disbursed.
- When do I pay back my loan?
Generally, you will begin paying back your loan six months after you graduate or drop below half-time status. Half-time status for undergraduate students is 6 units, and 3 units for graduate students.
- What is PLUS loan?
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student or PLUS loan enables parents (who do not have an adverse credit history) to borrow to pay the educational expenses of each dependent undergraduate student. Dependent student whose parents have applied for but were unable to get a PLUS loan are eligible to receive additional DL unsubsidized loan funds.
- What is the interest rate on a PLUS loan?
For any PLUS loans taken after July 1, 2010, the interest rate is fixed at 7.9%. Your loan servicer will notify your parents of interest rate changes throughout the life of their loan.
- How do I apply for a PLUS loan?
The student must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine what type of financial aid they are eligible for. Once the student has been awarded, the parents may apply for a PLUS loan in their name to assist the student with the cost of education. Parents can get additional application information on PLUS at www.studentloans.gov.
- How do I apply for state grants?
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicate California as your “State of Legal Residence”. If this question is left blank, you are not considered for state funds.
- Why haven’t I received my CAL Grant?
Reasons for not receiving your CAL Grant award would be failure to meet the following eligibility requirements or applying too late to be considered:California ResidentSubmitted a CAL Grant GPA form on or before March 2nd.Completed FAFSA before March 2ndMaking Satisfactory academic progress
SAR (Student Aid Report)
- What is a SAR?A SAR is a Student Aid Report. The report is provided by the Federal Processor and is a summary of the information you provided on the FAFSA. The SAR will be mailed to you if you sent your FAFSA through the mail and did not provide an email address on the FAFSA. If you filed your FAFSA electronically or provided an email address on the FAFSA, the SAR will be emailed to you. The report will also let you know if the application was rejected or if there are any problems with your application that require a correction be made.
- What do I do with a SAR?If everything on your SAR is correct, file it away for your records. There is nothing you need to do with it, but keep it available in case you want to add another college later.
- How do I make a correction to my financial aid?If you need to make a correction to your financial aid application information before you receive your award notice, you can do so using the Student Aid Report by mailing it to the processor or by doing it on the FAFSA website at www.fafsa.gov. If you have already received your award letter, contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if the correction is necessary.
- How do I apply for scholarships?Each scholarship has different criteria. If you are still in high school, it is important to work with your high school counselor for information on scholarships for students entering college. Other sources are available to search for scholarships, such as www.fastweb.com and NDNU students use their SALT account to search for scholarships. Caution: Never pay a fee to agencies that offer scholarship search services or financial aid consulting services without first checking the validity of that agency.
- What if I receive an outside scholarship from my high school or community group? Do I have to notify the financial aid office?All types of financial assistance, scholarships, other community agency grants, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation grants, Dislocated Worker benefits, etc. must be reported to the Financial Aid Office to be coordinated with your federal and state aid.
- What is work-study?The Federal College Work-Study Program provides jobs to eligible students. You have the opportunity to earn money like a part-time job and gain valuable work experience. Most jobs are on campus and may offer more flexibility than a traditional part-time job in that your class schedule is considered when setting up your work hours.
- How do I apply for a work-study job?Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be offered work-study as part of their Financial Aid award. If you are interested in work-study but were not offered it, contact the Financial Aid Office to review your eligibility for the program.
- What kind of work is available for work-study jobs?Work-study positions are available in different departments on campus. You may see job postings in the Career Center or on our HR website under “Student Positions”.