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Strategic Plan

1. What is Financial Aid?
Financial aid is federal or state financial assistance that comes in the form of (1) grants, which do not have to be paid back, (2) work-study, a part-time job on campus, (3) student loans, which are required to be repaid starting six months after you leave school.  Students must be enrolled and attending classes in a Financial Aid-eligible program.

2. When do I apply for financial aid?
You can begin applying for financial aid in the January prior to the fall 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.

3. 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 Stafford Loan Program. (Every student can get a student loan!)

4. How can I apply for financial aid?
You can apply for financial aid online at www.fafsa.ed.gov At the end of the FAFSA, you will be prompted to electronically sign your application with your PIN number.  If you have a PIN, enter it.  If not, click on the link www.pin.ed.gov to get a PIN.  You will need your 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.

5.  What happens after I apply for financial aid?
The Federal Processor will process the FAFSA and will send you a Student Aid Report in the mail within two to four weeks.  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 Oakwood University as one of your school choices.  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.

6. What will you need to fill our forms in addition to the FAFSA to receive financial aid?
Each year approximately 30 percent of all applications are chosen for a process called Verification by the US Department of Education. Oakwood Financial Aid TV (available 24/7) has a number of videos about the Verification Process. If you were chosen for a verification or have other outstanding documents that need to be submitted, please use the following link to create an account https://oakwood.verifymyfafsa.com/Account/Login. (Please note: If you created an account during prior academic year, then all you need to do is login to your account.) Once your account is created and you have verified your email address, you will be able to complete your verification information, electronically sign, and submit all necessary documents online.

7. What school code do I list for Oakwood University?
OU school code is 001033.

8. What if I don’t have a computer to use to complete the FAFSA?
Oakwood University has a library and computer lab that are available for use.  If you or your parents don’t feel comfortable doing it electronically, there are paper Free Applications available.
For 2017-2018 click here; for 2018-2019, click here.
Complete and mail to the federal processor.

9. 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.ed.gov. To request your PIN number, go to www.pin.ed.gov.

10. What is the deadline for applying for financial aid?
The sooner you apply, the more likely your funding will be available when you start school.  Your file must be completed while you are still enrolled and attending to be eligible for any funding.  Student financial aid applicants are processed according to the date the FAFSA is received at Oakwood and when the file is completed.  Direct Student Loans must be processed while the student is still attending and before the semester ends.

11. I don’t live with my parents.  Do I have to 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 or were an orphan or ward of the court, or are a veteran of the US Armed Forces.  If there are unusual circumstances, please discuss them with the Oakwood University Financial Aid Staff, and they will determine the best way for you to complete the FAFSA.

12. How do I make a correction to my financial aid?
If you need to make a correction to your financial aid application 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.ed.gov.   If you have already received your award letter, contact the financial aid office to determine if the correction is necessary.

13. I originally filled out my FAFSA with a different school listed.  How do I add Oakwood?
You can go online at www.fafsa.gov to add Oakwood to your FAFSA, school code 001033.

14.  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 status 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 6 credits or more to be considered for state grants, work-study, and Federal Direct Stafford Loans.

15. 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 he/she 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.  Students are 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.

16. Do I have to pay back a Pell Grant?
There are reasons a student would  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 the student drops a class before it starts and receives 100% refund or if a student drops courses and the only classes left on their schedule are short-term courses, they are also subject to repayment.  If the student has not received their funds yet, the award 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 with the repayment amount if necessary.

17. 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.  The unsubsidized loan is not based on need, and the student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You have two options for repayment.  You may choose to pay the interest as it accumulates.  This is the method we suggest, as you will repay less in the long run or you may allow the interest to accumulate and it will be capitalized. (The interest will be added to your loan and additional interest will be based upon the higher amount. This will increase the amount you have to repay.)

18. 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 aid first (grants, work-study and subsidized loans), then as a last resort, the unsubsidized or PLUS loans.  To be eligible for Financial Aid, you must be accepted into an eligible program and attend at least half time. The loan is always considered financial aid even though you have to repay it.

19. 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 that you have completed toward graduation in your program of study to determine if you are a first-year or second-year student.  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.
Dependent Undergraduate Student
Subsidized                 Unsubsidized
1st year      $3500                $2000
2nd year     $4500                $2000

Independent Undergraduate Student
Subsidized                 Unsubsidized
1styear      $3500                $6000
2nd year    $4500                $6000

20. 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 for completing 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.  Oakwood 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.

21. Can I cancel my loan if I don’t need it?
Oakwood 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.

22. Why isn’t my loan here yet?
Did you complete the Master Promissory Note and the online Entrance Loan Counseling Session(for first-time borrowers) at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action?

23. 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 Oakwood University.  You can fill out your MPN by going to: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.   Enter your PIN when requested.  Continuing students who processed a student loan last year at Oakwood will not need to complete a new MPN.  The MPN is active for ten years.

24. What is the interest rate on student loans?
For any Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loans, the interest rate is 3.4%.  The Unsubsidized Student Loans interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.   Any loans prior to that date may be at a variable rate.   Your loan servicer will notify you of any interest rate changes throughout the life of your loan.

25. 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.  Oakwood 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 want to be considered for Unsubsidized Stafford 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.

26. When do I pay back my loan?
Generally, you will begin paying back your loan six months after you graduate or drop below six credits.

27. What is a PLUS loan?
The Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students 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.   Repayment begins after the first disbursement.

28. 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 consider 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.

29. What is a SEOG?
A SEOG is a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.  A limited amount of SEOG is appropriated to Oakwood from the federal government every year to be awarded to the students with the highest financial need. These funds are also allocated on a first come first served basis.

30. Do I need to have good grades to receive financial aid?
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 2.0 and complete at least 67% of their cumulative attempted credits.  Withdrawals, drops, in-progress, and no-show grades will count against credits attempted. If the student’s lack of progress was due to extenuating circumstances, the student can submit an Appeal for Reinstatement of Financial Aid to the Financial Aid Director.  The student may be required to complete an Academic Career Plan with their program counselor.

31. Is there a limit on how long I can receive financial aid?
Satisfactory Progress Standards require students to complete their program before attempting more than 150% of the credits required for their graduation.  Example: a program that requires 68 credits for graduation.  68 credits x 150% = 102.  Students are not eligible for aid at the point when they cannot mathematically complete their program in the 150% timeframe.  The Department of Education has set a 12-semester limit for full-time Pell Grants effective July 1, 2012.

32. 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.

33. What if I decide to transfer to another college at end of the semester?
If you received financial aid at Oakwood during the first semester and now want to transfer to another college at semester, it is important to notify the Financial Aid Office to cancel your funds for second semester.  You will need to add your new college to the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov  so they have your information to award you at that college.

34. 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.  For additional scholarship resources(i.e: UNCF, Academic Works, Lettie Pate, etc) Click Here.

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.  For more information on scholarship scams, check out:  http://www.finaid.org/scholarships/scams.phtml

35. What if I receive a scholarship from my high school or a 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.

Contact

Office of Financial Aid

7000 Adventist Blvd
Huntsville, AL 35896
Phone: 256.726.7210
Fax:     256.726.7474
email: finaid@oakwood.edu