FAFSA and federal Student aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is an application for federal student aid. You need to complete the FAFSA form to apply for federal student aid such as federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. Completing and submitting the FAFSA form is free and easier than ever, and it gives you access to federal student aid — the largest source of aid — to help you pay for college.
In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for state and school aid. Some private scholarship donors may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their scholarships.
Scholarship & Financial Aid Scams
Some “free money” offers are too good to be true.
Students maybe be targeted by many organizations selling their products and services, including organizations that sell scholarship searches.
We recommend students and parents be very cautious in paying for scholarship searches. While there are some legitimate organizations that do have application fees or charge a fee for searches, there are far more organizations that take advantage of students and parents’ inexperience in applying for financial aid. Data shows that families lose significant amounts of money to fraud every year.
The College Scholarship Fraud Prevention Act enhances the protection against fraud in student financial assistance. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions students to look for these common phrases organizations will use to lure students and parents in.
- The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.
- You can’t get the information anywhere else.
- I just need your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship.
- We’ll do all of the work.
- The scholarship will cost some money.
- You’ve been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship.
Students or families who think they have been scammed or suspect fraud are asked to contact FTC at 877-382-4357 or visit their website: www.ftc.gov
Types of Financial Aid
Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need as determined by the FAFSA application and have not yet earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is awarded to undergraduate students who have exceptional financial needs and who have not yet earned a bachelors degree, graduate or professional degree. Federal pell grant recipients receive priority. FSEOG funds are limited and not all eligible students will receive funding.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)
- For graduate students who are enrolled in programs designed to prepare them to teach in an in-demand field at the elementary/secondary school level, you must agree to serve for a minimum of four years (within eight years of completing or ceasing enrollment in the program for which the student received the grant funds) as a full-time teacher in a school or educational service agency that serves low-income students.
- Students must attend a participating school and meet certain academic requirements.
- Failure to complete the teaching service commitment will result in the grant being converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid.
Federal Direct Loans
You are automatically considered for Direct Loans offered through the U.S. Department of Education when you apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA (FREE Application for Federal Student Aid). Loans are aid that will need to be repaid, with interest, after you graduate or leave college.
If you are an eligible undergraduate or graduate student and awarded a Subsidized Direct Loan or an Unsubsidized Direct Loan (graduate students are only eligible for unsubsidized direct loans), it will appear on your financial aid award letter. Students must accept student loans and complete loan requirements prior to receiving the loan.
Differences Between Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Subsidized Loans are offered to undergraduate students with financial need. They have a low fixed interest rate and do not accrue interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Students do not make payments until six months after graduating or drop below half-time. Direct Subsidized Loans are available only to undergraduate borrowers.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students with or without financial need. These loans accrue interest while the student is in school and during deferments and grace periods. Students may defer interest payments until after they graduate, but doing so will result in a higher loan payment over the life of the loan.
These loans have origination fees, so the amounts applied to your university student account are less than amounts listed on your Financial Aid Award Letter fees are adjusted each fall due to federal sequestration legislation. Interest rates on these loans change each June with changes becoming effective on July 1.
Additional Eligibility Requirements for Direct Student Loans
- Undergraduate students must be enrolled in a degree seeking program and be enrolled in at least half-time hours (6 credit hours).
- Graduate students must be enrolled in an eligible degree seeking program or an eligible graduate certificate program and be enrolled in at least half-time hours (3 credit hours).
- Students in default of student loans are not eligible to receive additional student loans.
Required Loan Requirements
If you are a first-time Direct Loan borrower, you must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling on the U.S. Department of Education’s studentaid.gov website. This interactive counseling session and quiz helps students develop budgets for managing educational expenses and also understand their loan responsibilities. You must complete the counseling before your loan funds can be disbursed to you. https://studentaid.gov/entrance-counseling/
Master Promissory Note:
If you have a Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized Loan or a Parent Plus Loan, you will be required to complete and sign a Master Promissory Note (or MPN). The Master Promissory Note authorizes Park University to credit the loan funds to your Park U student account. MPNs are generally good for 10 years, so most students do not need to complete them more than once during their time at Park U. If you sign a Master Promissory Note and do not want loans in future years, you must decline the loan the following year on your award letter. If you accept loans it will be disbursed to your Park U student account.
This is required for Direct Loan student borrowers who are graduating or dropping below half-time enrollment. This counseling session helps borrowers understand their rights and responsibilities in repayment and helps them choose a repayment plan. You must use your Department of Education FSA ID to access this counseling session.
Receiving your Loan Funds:
You must have signed all of your loan documents and be enrolled at least half-time to receive your loan funds. You will automatically receive your accepted student loan funds each term after participation in your courses have been verified. If you do not want a student loan, decline them on your award offer.
Parent loans can help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
To learn more about parent loans and eligibility requirements, visit Direct PLUS Loans offered by the U.S. Department of Education.
Scholarships are a separate application process. Your FA specialist will integrate any scholarships into your financial aid package.
Please see Scholarships for information regarding Park University scholarships, endowed and external scholarships.
Please see Student Employment for information regarding the Park University Student Worker Program and the Federal Work-Study Program.