How do I start the financial assistance process?
You should begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be filed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. We recommend that you electronically sign the FAFSA by registering for a federal PIN # several days prior to completing your application. To register for a PIN #, go to http://www.pin.ed.gov
What are some deadlines I should be aware of?
February 15 – This is the priority deadline for sending in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but applications are accepted throughout the year.
August 1 – Payment is due for tuition and fees for the fall term.
December 15 – Payment is due for tuition and fees for the spring term.
Can I complete my FAFSA if my taxes are not finished?
Yes, the FAFSA allows you to use estimated tax information on the form. It is recommended that you use a previous year’s tax return to help you estimate your answers to the FAFSA questions. If you do use the estimated information, please provide the Office of Financial Assistance with a copy of your completed federal tax return when it becomes available.
What is the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
A Subsidized Stafford Loan means that the federal government will pay the interest on the loan until you graduate or begin taking less than 6 credit hours. Repayment of the loan begins 6 months after graduation. An Unsubsidized Stafford Loan accrues interest while you are in school, but repayment is still deferred until 6 months after graduation.
How much can I borrow from the Stafford Loan Program?
You will qualify to receive a Stafford loan simply by completing the FAFSA. How much of your loan is subsidized is determined by your financial need and the number of college credits you have earned. If the FAFSA indicates that you have a demonstrated financial need, you may qualify for the following loan amounts if you are a dependent student:
Classification (credits earned) : Subsidized | Unsubsidized | Total Loan
Freshman (0-25): $3,500 | $2,000 | $5,500
Sophomore (26-59): $4,500 | $2,000 | $6,500
Junior (60-89): $5,500 | $2,000 | $7,500
Senior (90+): $5,500 | $2,000 | $7,500
If you do not have a demonstrated financial need, you will qualify for the following amounts in the unsubsidized Stafford loan:
Classification (credits earned): Unsubsidized | Total Loan
Freshman (0-25): $5,500 | $5,500
Sophomore (26-59): $6,500 | $6,500
Junior (60-89): $7,500 | $7,500
Senior (90+): $7,500 | $7500
Graduate students demonstrating financial need according to the FAFSA may receive up to $8,500 in a subsidized Stafford loan and an additional $12,000 in an unsubsidized Stafford loan (or up to the total annual graduate program cost of attendance, whichever is less).
What is the grace period for the Stafford Loan?
The Federal Stafford Loan Program allows a grace period of 6 months before students need to begin repayment. The 6-month grace period begins after a student withdraws from school, begins attending less than half-time in any semester, or graduates.
Can I pay the interest on my unsubsidized Stafford Loan while I am in school?
Yes, it is to your advantage to do this. If you do not begin to pay the interest while in school, your accrued interest will be added to the principle of your loan. If you want to pay the interest, just indicate it on your Master Promissory Note (MPN), and your lender will send you either a quarterly or monthly interest summary.
What if I don’t have enough money to pay for school, even after grant awards and if I take out the entire Stafford loan for which I am eligible?
Alternative loans are offered by a number of lenders to assist students in this situation. In general, these alternative loans require borrowers to have an established credit history and to demonstrate credit worthiness. In addition to alternative loans, students are encouraged to research outside scholarship opportunities.
What is a PLUS or alternative loan?
The Federal PLUS Loan program is an alternative loan available to the parents of dependent undergraduate students. Applicants must pass a credit check to be eligible and may be required to file a financial needs test. The maximum loan amount is the estimated cost of attendance minus any other aid you may receive. Loan interest is fixed at 8.5%.
An alternative loan is a loan available directly to students through an outside lender. Applicants are subject to a credit check, and depending on credit history, may require someone to co-sign the loan. While interest does typically accrue on an alternative loan while a student is attending school, repayment is often deferred until 6 months after graduation.
Numerous lenders offer PLUS and alternative loans. Learn more about borrowing a PLUS or alternative loan.
Is financial aid renewable?
It is not automatically renewed. However, if family circumstances do not change significantly, the award will be similar. You must, however, resubmit the FAFSA each year and maintain satisfactory academic progress. Students who do not receive aid in one year may apply in subsequent years.
My parents are divorced. How does that affect my financial aid application?
The parent with whom the student lived most in the past 12 months should complete the financial aid forms. If, for example, this parent is the mother, then the mother should complete the FAFSA using only her financial information, even if a joint return was filed. If a parent has remarried, then the stepparent’s information is also required on the FAFSA.
I am a transfer student. Am I eligible for financial aid?
Yes. Transfer students follow the same procedures as freshmen.
How are financial aid packages for “early decision” students prepared?
An early decision award estimate is made with information collected on the Meredith College Early Decision Aid Application. This evaluation is done prior to December 1 to allow prospective students to have the information to make a decision. Later on in the process, the early decision students will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and receive a finalized award.
When are financial aid packages awarded?
You must be officially accepted by Meredith before any financial aid package can be offered. New students whose FAFSA is received by February 15 will be given priority for awards and will be notified of aid eligibility by early April. Returning students typically receive their award packages in June.
What happens if I submit my financial aid information after the February 15 deadline?
Our priority deadline means that all applications received by this date will receive maximum consideration for all available funds. Students applying after the priority deadline are less likely to receive maximum funds.
Do you have any helpful tips for filling out the FAFSA?
There are a few things you will want to keep in mind when completing the FAFSA. These might be: