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 application 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.
- Don't pay for FAFSA! Our office offers help with FAFSA preparation and submission for free.
- Apply to Utah State! Federal financial aid is generally limited to students who have been fully admitted and are seeking a degree or certificate from USU. If you are not seeking a USU degree or certificate, please contact the Financial Aid Office to evaluate your eligibility for aid.
- Check your email! We will notify you if you have unmet requirements or have been offered aid by an email to your USU student email account.
- Getting Married: If you are planning on getting married, you are sometimes 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 can set up your parents, spouse, or a third party individual as a delegate if you want them to have access to your financial aid information.
- Our office helps with FAFSA completion! Don't let the FAFSA intimidate you, please contact our office if you need any help applying for federal aid.
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. 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 may need to complete one or more online 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 offer
Once you receive your financial aid notice, log into MyUSU to review and accept your aid. Please review your rights and responsibilities for receiving federal financial aid. Grants are already accepted for you if you qualify. 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 resources page for 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
- If the federal programs are not sufficient to cover all of your school-related expenses, you may also consider borrowing a private education loan or searching online for other funding options.
What to do after you've been offered aid - paying for college
Review your financial aid offer
You can review your awards on MyUSU after we notify you. If your family's financial circumstances have changed due to extenuating circumstances or if you have unusual expenses, please contact your financial aid counselor to discuss an appeal. Extenuating circumstances might include the loss of a job, child care expenses, high out-of-pocket medical expenses, added expenses for computer and school supplies etc.
Register for classes
You must be enrolled in semester based classes to receive financial aid. Federal loans require at least six credits of enrollment for undergraduates, five credits for graduates. 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 log in select "Financial Aid (FAFSA) Menu" then click on the "Direct Deposit" link toward the bottom of the page - 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 October 1st of the current fall semester. 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 Federal Student Loans
After you accept your Federal Direct loan on MyUSU, you must complete a few more steps:
- Enroll in at least six credits in a degree-seeking program. (Five credits for graduate students)
- Complete the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment - new requirement for 2021-2022
- Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.
- Complete a Direct Loan Promissory Note.
When Direct Loans Pay Your Account At USU
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.
Summer Financial Aid
Summer semester is a great time to catch up on required coursework, work on electives, or get ahead in your program. Federal regulations allow Pell Grants to be available year round for eligible students. Students can also borrow any remaining student loan eligibility leftover from the previous fall and spring semesters. Here's what you need to know about summer financial aid at USU.