Applying for & Receiving Financial Aid
Read this before you apply for aid:
Make sure you are eligible! The United States Department of Education has prepared an online eligibility checklist.
Apply early! Because of complex federal requirements, it can take several weeks to process your application. (In some cases an applicaion can be processed in one to two weeks.) Errors will delay your award even more. Campus-based funds are awarded according to need to the earliest eligible applicants. Once these limited funds have been awarded, applicants will be considered for Federal Pell Grants and Federal Direct loans only. Also make sure you apply in time to meet end-of-term financial aid deadlines.
Apply for admission. You can't be offered financial aid until you are fully admitted (matriculated) into a USU degree-granting program. Regional campus students are eligible for financial aid only if they are fully admitted into a USU degree-granting program.
Check your email. We will notify you if you have unmet requirements or have been offered aid by email. To give us your email address, log onto MyUSU, click on Banner, click on "Main Menu," go to the Personal Information tab and click on "View/Update Preferred E-mail Address" and enter the email address you wish USU to use.
Getting Married is Tricky: If you are planning on getting married, you are usually better off waiting to file until you are actually married - but not always! Contact your Financial Aid Counselor about how you should file.
Be Aware of Mandatory Privacy Restrictions: You must give your parents, spouse, or a third party your SecurityPhrase if you want them to have access to your financial aid information.
Application Checklist - to do each year you wish to receive aid:
- Complete the FAFSA online.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The USU school code for the FAFSA is 003677. You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) - by email if you provide an email address. Please review this report for any processing problems. You must re-apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA) each academic year that you want assistance.
Here's a hand-out for setting up the new FSA ID that replaces the PIN.
Paper applications are also available through the Financial Aid Office, but applying through the mail is much slower and more prone to error and delay.
- Complete other requirements.
If you are selected for verification (a routine review of your FAFSA), you will be notified by email. You will need to complete one or more verification forms and submit copies of your federal taxes (if you filed.) Once verification is complete, we will submit any necessary FAFSA corrections before awarding you. If you are eligible for the aid you requested, we will send you an financial aid offer notice by email.
- Review and accept your awards.
Once you receive your financial aid notice, log into MyUSU to review and accept your aid. Please review the terms and conditions of financial aid before you accept your aid offer. If you are accepting a student loan, be sure you have completed the additional steps noted below.
Applying for other sources of financial aid:
Parent/Graduate PLUS Loans
Parents of dependent students can also apply for federal PLUS loans. Check the overview page more detail.
Graduate students who wish to apply for a federal graduate PLUS should also consult with their Financial Aid Counselor.
Private Education Loans (Alternative Loans) and Other Funding Options
What to do after you've been awarded:
- Register for classes.
You must be enrolled in semester based classes to receive financial aid. Federal loans require at least six credits of enrollment. Year-long independent study classes do not qualify for financial aid. USU approved study abroad programs may qualify for aid.
- Check your charges - Don't lose your classes.
Your accepted financial aid funds will be automatically applied to your charges. Check your account summary on MyUSU after you accept your awards. If you owe more than the estimated or pending financial aid, you must pay the balance before fee-payment deadline to prevent your classes from being dropped. Please note: loans require additional steps before they pay automatically.
- Receive remaining funds by mail or direct deposit.
If you have remaining financial aid funds, a check will be sent to your mailing address during the first week of class. Or, you can arrange to have the funds deposited into your checking account by setting up direct deposit on MyUSU (after you login select "Financial Aid" then select "F. Direct Deposit" - provide the requested information and save.)
Renew Your Financial Aid Yearly
- Financial Aid Recipients must submit a new FASFA every year to determine financial aid eligibility. The next year's FAFSA is always available January 1st of the coming year.
- To receive financial aid in future years, applicants must meet all application, verification, and appeal deadlines.
- In some cases, portions of the FAFSA may already be filled out for students that applied the year before. They just need to update the parts that aren't filled out and review the rest for accuracy.
- Please note that Pell grants are available for a limited time only.
- Please note that Direct loans are available for a limited time only.
- USU Financial Aid Recipients are required to make satisfactory academic progress towards a degree or certificate program each semester to continue receiving financial aid.
Additional Steps to Receive Student Loans
After you accept your Direct or Perkins loan on MyUSU, you must complete a few more steps:
- Enroll in at least six credits in a degree-seeking program.
- Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling and/or Perkins Loan Entrance Counseling.
- Complete a Direct Loan Promissory Note. See instructions below.
- For Perkin Loans: If you were awarded a Perkins loan and need to sign a promissory note with USU, you will see a requirement on MyUSU under your Financial Aid Status (look for "Unsatisfied student requirements.") Click on the link to download the promissory note, print the form, complete and submit it to the Registration/Cashiers Office.
Completing Direct Loan Counseling.
Completing the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note.
If this is your first Direct Loan, you can sign a Master Promissory Note online:
Direct Loan Payment Process.
On the first day of class, or 7-10 business days after completing your promissory note (after school starts), your Direct loan should be able to pay toward what you owe the school and then USU will forward any remaining funds to you.