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Financial Aid FAQ

Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

For more frequently asked questions and answers, visit the Office of Financial Aid Parent's Page.

Q. What is financial aid?

A. Financial Aid is money to help students and their families pay for educational expenses. The philosophy behind financial aid assumes the primary responsibility to pay for college lies with students and parents to their level of ability to pay. The Federal Office of Student Financial Aid (who governs the federal financial aid programs), established the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a means to determine a family’s ability to pay for their student’s education. The FAFSA is referred to as a "need-assessment document." The Federal government contracts with an independent processor to compute the results of the FAFSA and report these results back to the student and the colleges the student has selected on the form. Longwood administers its State and institutional need-based aid programs parallel to the Federal programs requiring FAFSA eligibility as a criterion.

Q. What is cost of attendance?

A. When financial aid officers refer to "cost of attendance," "educational costs," or "budget," they usually mean the total direct and indirect costs of attending college for one year. Direct costs are the actual charges billed to students by the college (tuition, fees, room, board). Indirect costs are estimated by the financial aid office for items such as books, supplies, computer-related costs, personal expenses, and transportation. The financial aid officer adds these direct and indirect costs together to arrive at a total budget for a student who has filed for financial aid.

Q. What Is Expected Family Contribution?

A. Expected family contribution (EFC) is the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to their child’s education for a specific period of time (usually one academic year). You file the FAFSA in order to have this figure determined. The FAFSA processor enters the information (from your FAFSA) into a formula (established by Congress) and the result is the family’s EFC. You may calculate an estimate of your EFC at http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml.

Q. What Is Financial Need And How Is It Determined?

A. Financial need is derived from subtracting your expected family contribution from our total cost of attendance (budget). Financial need is the maximum amount we are permitted (by Federal regulations) to award you in assistance.

Q. Can work-study be subtracted from my bill?

A. No. Students receive a paycheck once a month for the actual number of hours they work. However, all other aid is credited to your account.

Q. My father (mother) has just lost his (her) job. Will this affect my financial aid?

A. It might. Students (or parents) should request a change in Income Form from the Office of Financial Aid.

Q. What is the "unmet need" figure that appears on my award notification?

A. After a student’s need has been determined by subtracting the EFC from the total budget, an award is made. If we are unable to award students enough financial aid to meet their total computed need, the difference is unmet need

Q. My parents are divorced. Whose information do I use on the FAFSA?

A. The parent you lived with the most during the past 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent calendar year that you actually received support from a parent. If this parent is remarried as of today, answer the FAFSA questions about that parent and the stepparent.

Q. My parents are divorced and I live with my mother, but my father claimed me as a tax exemption. Whose information do I report?

A. Who claimed you as a tax exemption is not a factor in determining which parent’s information is required on the FAFSA. (see above question)

Q. I live with my grandparents (or another relative). Do I report that relative’s income instead of parents’?

A. Only if that relative meets the definition of an adoptive parent.

Q. Do I have to be accepted for Admission to Longwood before I file for financial aid?

A. Admission and financial aid are two separate processes. You do not have to be accepted to the University before you file your FAFSA; however, you do have to be accepted before you will receive an award notification.

Q. Is the FAFSA the only aid application I must fill out?

A. The FAFSA is the only application you will be required to file to apply for federal, state and institutional need-based assistance at Longwood. In addition, the Office of Admissions uses the admission application itself as the basis for selecting freshmen scholarship recipients.

Q. After my ‘FAFSA on the Web’ or paper FAFSA is processed, will I get anything back?

A. There are several ways in which you can find out the results of processing your FAFSA. If you filed a paper FAFSA and did not provide your e-mail address, you will be sent a paper Student Aid Report (or SAR). If you filed using FAFSA on the Web and did not provide your e-mail address, you will be sent a paper SAR Information Acknowledgement. However, if you provided your e-mail address, the FAFSA processor will send you an e-mail notification regardless of whether you filed a paper FAFSA or via FAFSA on the Web. The e-mail notification will contain a link for you to access and view your on-line Student Aid Report without requiring the use of a PIN. Of course, a student who has a PIN can access his or her SAR electronically using FAFSA on the Web.

Q. Does not being eligible for the Federal Pell Grant mean I cannot get any aid?

A. No, the Federal Pell Grant is only one of the need-based aid programs, with eligibility being determined by a Federal formula approved by Congress. It is possible to be ineligible for the Pell Grant and still be eligible for other federal, state, and institutional types of aid.

Q. Why are you figuring my need on last year’s income when this year is when the money will be spent?

A. Last year’s income for most people is the best predictor for the current year. Using the last taxable year’s income makes it easier for parents to provide accurate information on the FAFSA. This also allows Federal tax dollars to be distributed on the basis of something "real" rather than on an estimate.