10 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid
- What is an Award Letter?
- How was my need determined?
- How long will the financial aid process take?
- How do I get my award and/or refund?
- How does Work Study "work"?
- Must I apply for the Stafford loan listed on my Award Letter?
- What if I am a first-time borrower at Hope?
- What if my enrollment status changes?
- What else can affect my award?
- But what if I need more money?
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An Award Letter tells you the aid programs for which you are eligible, in order to help cover university costs. We have calculated your financial aid eligibility based on the information that you have provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you accept the award in its entirety, you don't need to take any action. Otherwise, please indicate the changes, initial and return the offer to us within two (2) weeks.
Hope International University, like all other colleges and universities, utilizes the federal standardized methodology to calculate your need, which means your need would be assessed in the same way no matter what school you attend. Actual awards may vary by school due to the differences in costs, funding, policies, etc. Generally speaking, the methodology used can be explained with the following calculation: College Costs - Expected Family Contribution = Your Financial Need.
We also consider outside financial aid sources and benefits such as, private scholarships, vocational rehabilitation benefits, etc. before awarding financial aid.
If your data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Financial Aid Questionnaire, tax returns and all other requested documentation are received in our office by March 2, you should receive a financial aid award in April (before the May 1 National Candidates' Reply Date). After May 1, financial aid packaging will be done on a weekly basis as new applications arrive and files are completed.
To "activate" your award, you must complete and return any required documents within two (2) weeks. Should you wish to decline or request any changes to the offer, please so indicate on your Award Letter. In order for financial aid funds to be applied to your university account, these criteria must be met: a) your financial aid file must be complete and cleared for disbursement, and b) funds from external sources are received by the university. A credit balance occurs when a school applies financial aid funds to a student's account and the funds exceed allowable charges. Allowable charges include tuition, fees, room, and board (if applicable).
If you have (rather than anticipate) a credit balance, and do not authorize the university to retain this credit on your student account, then a refund check is available within 10 business days. Refunds can only be made after classes have started. Please remember that financial aid funds are subject to delay until all necessary documents are received and the funds arrive. If your financial aid is applied toward costs but does not cover all of your charges, you must use your own resources to pay any balance due. Please contact your Student Account Representative for details of payment options.
Federal Work Study is a federally funded program that provides an opportunity for students to earn income through part-time employment. If your Award Letter includes a Work Study amount, you will need to start applying for Work Study jobs once you arrive on campus. The selection of students for various jobs is made by supervisors based on the student applicant's skills and abilities, job requirements, and other job related criteria. Competition for these jobs is very high. Students are encouraged to prepare for the competitive application process by developing a resume or gaining some part-time employment experience. Your award represents the maximum amount you can earn through work study (as your schedule allows), but it does not guarantee employment. For more information and job placement, please contact Human Resources at 714-879-3901 ext. 2281.
No, you are not obligated to take out a Loan. Should you choose to do so, complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and return it with the Award Letter and any other requested documents. Because your MPN is good for 10 years, you are not required to submit another loan application. The amount listed on your Award Letter is the maximum you can borrow; you may borrow less. It usually takes 3 - 5 weeks to receive your funds. Funds are sent to the university and applied automatically to your student account.
First-time borrowers at Hope must attend an Entrance Loan Counseling session before their loan funds can be released. The Student Financial Aid office will notify students of the dates for these sessions. If this is the first time you are borrowing under the Stafford Loan programs, federal regulations also require a 30 day delay after the start of the semester before receiving your first disbursement. In addition to Entrance Loan Counseling, all borrowers are required to receive Exit Loan Counseling when leaving school or dropping below half-time status. Students may choose to satisfy these requirements (attending a Loan Entrance and/or Exit Workshops) by logging on to www.studentloans.gov. Please contact the Student Financial Aid office if you have additional questions.
All federal, state and institutional programs are subject to a statutory pro rata refund calculation when students withdraw (completely or less than half-time), thus, adjustments to your award are necessary. Also, reduction in units (i.e. full-time to part-time) can affect your award. In all circumstances, once known, we will send a revised award letter to inform you of the changes. Any funds that you already received, but for which you are now no longer eligible, must be returned. As a result, this repayment may create an outstanding balance in your account, which affects your ability to register for further sessions, participate in commencement, or request the release of degrees, transcripts, etc.
In addition to the changes in enrollment status, resources (such as outside scholarships), and failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements will affect your eligibility. Please refer to the academic progress guidelines for details. Review of academic progress is done every semester or payment period. If you do not meet the academic progress requirements, you will be notified.
This is one of the most popular, yet most difficult questions to answer!! We are committed to helping students explore their options and the potential for additional resources as well as providing information regarding other alternative loan programs. Applications and information about these loan programs can be obtained at your Student Financial Aid Office. Hope Students can utilize and outside scolarship search company to seek additional grant(s) by logging on to www.fastweb.com. If you and/or your family have special circumstances (such as loss of income, etc.) that warrant a review of the aid offer, please write to your Student Financial Aid Counselor immediately. As always, you are welcome to discuss your financial situation with us at any time. Please call for an appointment, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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