WINTER 2011 Financial Aid Newsletter
With fall semester finals complete and a break before the start of the spring semester, now is a good time to start thinking about financial aid for the 2012-13 academic year. Over the past three months, the Office of Financial Aid started preparing for the 2012-13 academic year and the 2012 summer semester. We have taken this time to carefully review our processes and procedures to ensure that the financial aid application and award letter process will run as smoothly as possible.
For students, the first step in the process is reapplying for aid. This year, the 2012-13 financial aid priority application deadline for continuing students is March 15th. The 2012-13 FAFSA will be available on January 1st, 2012. When completing the FAFSA, we recommend that you use the IRS data retrieval process. We believe that students and families that use the data retrieval process will have a lower probability of being selected for verification, thus making the process easier for you.
As we move into the financial aid application season, please take time to read the communications from our office. Our primary method of communication is email, and we will be sending information about priority application deadlines, missing items needed to complete your financial aid application, changes regarding summer aid at DU and your financial aid award letter.
Another way to stay on top of changes and new initiatives is to follow my blog: 411 on Financial Aid – The Director’s Blog. My goal through this blog is to offer insight and direction into a process that many find daunting, confusing and challenging.
As always, please call us at 303.871.4020 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Applying for financial aid is one of those checklist items that you need to complete once a year. Like spring cleaning. And with the 2012-2013 financial aid season ready to begin, it’s time for a refresher course on applying for aid.
How to Apply
What You'll Need
April 1: Deadline for continuing students to submit verification documents (if requested) to the Office of Financial Aid.
Late May: DU begins sending award notifications to continuing students.
The Budget Control Act of 2011, enacted by President Barack Obama this summer that brought the debt ceiling crisis to a close, included a provision that ended federally funded subsidized loans for graduate students beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.
In previous years, most students were eligible for up to $8,500 in a subsidized loan per year. The interest on these need-based loans was paid for by the federal government while the student was enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree program and during the loan’s six month grace period before entering repayment.
Students who have received subsidized loans in the past will not lose the subsidy on those loans. However, beginning in the 2012-13 year, subsidized loans will no longer be available for graduate students. The current interest rate for both subsidized and unsubsidized Direct loans is fixed at 6.8%, and both have a six month grace period before repayment begins. In the 2012-13 year, students will be eligible for up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans only. This means that these loans will accrue interest while you are in school, as well as during the six month grace period before repayment begins. No changes have been made to the Graduate PLUS loan program, and you will still be offered a Grad PLUS loan—in addition to the unsubsidized loan—to help cover your unmet costs. For further information about upcoming changes for the 2012-2013 academic year, please contact us.
Many students who have called our office have heard this statement: “Our office cannot award you any additional aid because you have already received aid up to your full student budget” or “cost of attendance.” Student budget? Cost of attendance? What is that?
In the world of Financial Aid, the term “student budget”—also referred to as your “cost of attendance”—means something very specific. Your student budget is the amount of money that the school, the state and the federal government believe the current academic year will cost you. This amount includes everything from tuition to books to living expenses. Each year, your cost of attendance is updated based on current estimated costs.
According to federal financial aid regulations, a student cannot receive financial aid in excess of their student budget. For this reason, it is helpful to think of the student budget as the annual limit of financial aid you can receive.
Our office understands that the student budget may not meet every student’s needs. However, we are limited by institutional, state and federal regulations as to how we can adjust these budgets. The Budget Adjustment Form on our website details different ways in which your budget can be altered and available adjustments will depend on individual circumstances.
Interested to know what your student budget is? Login to PioneerWeb, go the “Student” tab and click on “Financial Aid Profile.” Then, click on “Overall Summary of your Financial Aid” and select the 2011-2012 Aid Year. You will see your estimated cost of attendance listed. Click on it to see a detailed breakdown of what components are included.
In this issue:
December 26 - January 2: University closed
January 1: 2012-13 FAFSA available
January 4: Refunds begin to be generated by the Bursar's office
February 15: Priority deadline for new students to apply for aid
March 15: Priority deadline for continuing students to apply for aid
Did you know? If you completely withdraw from all courses, which does include medical withdrawals, you may no longer be eligible for all of the federal financial aid you received for that term. This means you may have to pay back some of that aid through a process called the "Return of Title IV Funding." If you are considering withdrawing for a term, please contact our office to learn about the implications. Learn more >>
An important federal regulation that all students should understand is a policy called Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). We are required to ensure that students who utilize financial aid are making progress toward completing their degree. While this policy is completely separate from all other academic policies at DU, you must be making SAP in order to continue receiving financial aid.
To maintain SAP, there are three minimum standards you must meet:
If you do not meet these minimum standards, we will contact you and your financial aid will be suspended. Learn more >>
Office of Financial Aid Contact Information
University Hall 255