What is financial aid?
Financial aid makes the cost of education more affordable for students and their families.  There are four primary types of financial aid: grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans.

Can my family afford USF?
Enrolling in a college is an investment in the student's future.  Families often think they cannot afford a private college education, but we believe a student who is admitted and wants to attend USF should not be prevented from doing so because of financial aid reasons.  While understanding that the primary responsibility for meeting college costs rests with the students and their parents, financial aid programs are available to assist the family in attaining this goal.

When should I apply for financial aid?
You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1.  Some of the aid programs have limited funding and are given first to students who make the priority date of March 1.

How do I meet the March 1st priority date if my taxes are complete yet?
You can still file your FAFSA with estimated information. It is recommended that you would use the previous years Tax Return and your current W2s to help you estimate your financail information. After taxes are complete you can update your FAFSA using your current Tax Return.

How is financial aid eligibility determined?
When you complete and submit a FAFSA, the Federal Processor calculates an Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.  The formula takes into account factors such as family income, assets, number of dependents, number in college, as well as other factors. Your GPA and ACT scores are also used to determine the amount of aid you will receive.

What is a financial aid package?
Your financial aid package is the combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and campus employment opportunities that you have been awarded.

How do I apply for your institutional aid?
By submitting your FAFSA and being accepted for admissions, you have applied for institutional aid.  There are some scholarships that require additional applications.  You must be attending USF full-time (12-16 credits) as an undergraduate student to receive institutional aid.

I know I'm not going to qualify for federal need based aid.  Do you still want me to file the FAFSA?
Applying for financial aid is voluntary.  Filing the FAFSA may enable you to receive additional non-need based federal aid such as the federal loans.  If you decide not to complete the FAFSA, notify the USF Financial Aid Office so we can review your eligibility for institutional aid.

What is included in the student budget?
The student budget, or cost of attendance, for financial aid includes: tuition, fees, room and board, as well as an allowance for books, transportation and personal expenses incurred by the student.

How will a scholarship I receive from a community group or school organization affect my financial aid package?
If you are applying for financial aid and receive a scholarship from a source outside USF, that scholarship becomes part of your financial aid package and is included in your total aid award.  In some instances, it may be necessary to adjust other aid, usually a loan or work-study, to meet federal regulations.  Please notify USF's Financial Aid Office as soon as you receive any scholarships from outside sources.

What can I do if there has been a significant change in our family's financial situation?
If there is a significant change in your income from the prior year, the Financial Aid Office may review your aid.  This is only done in extreme cases and it may or may not affect the amount of aid you receive.  Notify the Financial Aid Office as soon as possible if your circumstances have changed.

Where can I get help?
One of your biggest concerns might be, "How am I going to pay for school?"  Our experienced, helpful staff can guide you to many sources of financial aid.  Some students qualify for grants.  Many can receive loans with a variety of repayment options.  Scholarships are also a possibility.  And you might even pick up a work-study job on campus.  We also provide a Paympent Plan that can help as well. Whatever your situation....traditional, nontraditional, veteran, single parent....we will help you navigate your financial options.

Additional information, definitions, and answers to questions can be obtained from the U.S. Department of Education by following this link.