Aid Made Easy
Q : What is financial
aid is funds awarded to help pay educational
costs. The federal and state governments
as well as post secondary schools are public
sources of aid, while civic groups, clubs,
and religious organizations serve as private
sources of aid. Financial aid is classified
into three basic types: grants and scholarships
are funds awarded that are not required to
be repaid; employment is work, either on
or off campus that you find through campus
student employment services or on your own
initiative; and a loan is money borrowed
from the federal or state government, the
University or an alternative lender that
must be repaid, including interest. Financial
aid is distributed according to a variety
of eligibility criteria within two categories:
You are awarded need-based aid to make up
the difference between your total cost to
attend the University full time and the amount
of your family’s contribution as determined
by the federal government. You may use non-need
based aid to replace your family contribution
if you meet the necessary eligibility criteria,
which may vary depending on the program.
- Q : Can I get financial
A: Financial aid is awarded based
on financial need. At Howard University,
more than half of all students receive some
form of financial aid. The total amount of
financial aid (need and non-need based) awarded
to you cannot exceed your total educational
costs. Individual program requirements vary
and funds are limited, therefore your total
financial need may not always be met. Most
programs require that you:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
and have a valid social security
- (Individuals in the U.S. on F1,
F2, J1, and J2 visas are ineligible).
- Be enrolled at least half-time in
an eligible degree or certificate
- Demonstrate financial need as determined
by review of the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Not be indebted to any institution
for repayment of any federal grant
(Pell or SEOG) or in default on any
federal loan (Perkins or Direct Loan).
- If you are a male born after December
31, 1959 and are at least 18 years
old, you are required to register
with the Selective Service System.
- Comply with the Federal verification
process, if necessary.
- Q : What is the cost-of-attendance?
A: Educational costs depend on your
program of study, the number of hours enrolled
and your living expenses. Students are not
allowed to receive financial aid in excess
of their cost of attendance, regardless of
the sources of funds. This includes, but
is not limited to: federal, state, institutional,
donor or external grants, gifts and scholarships.
- Q : What does the cost
of attendance include?
A: Costs are categorized as direct
educational costs and indirect living
costs. Direct costs include tuition,
fees, books and supplies. Indirect costs
include housing, board (meals), transportation
and other personal expenses such as clothing
and laundry. Only your expenses incurred
while you are enrolled are used to determine
the cost of attendance. Your actual expenses
will depend on your program of study,
standard of living, classification, place
of residence, marital status, and numerous
lifestyle choices that you make.
- Q : How much financial
aid will I receive?
A: Although many factors help to determine
the amount you receive, your Financial Aid
award is based primarily on your demonstrated
financial need. You must complete the FAFSA
each year to have your need determined. Your
need is the difference between the cost of
attendance and the amount you and your family
are expected to contribute (EFC - expected
family contribution). Most colleges will
generate a financial aid award notice once
you have been admitted to the University.
- Q : What is my family’s
A: You and your family are primarily
responsible for financing your education.
You and your family are expected to make
a maximum effort to assist you with college
expenses. You are also expected to contribute
to your college expenses from sources
that may include savings, summer earnings,
monetary gifts from friends and relatives
or other sources. Financial aid should
be viewed as supplementary to your family’s
- Q : How is my family’s
A: The income and asset information
which you (and your parents if you are
dependent student, or your spouse if married) provide on the FAFSA enables
the U.S. Department of Education’s Central Processing System (CPS)
to determine your family contribution. Certain allowances such as the
standard cost of living, retirement needs, and future indebtedness are
considered and subtracted from total income and assets.
- Q : I have a bachelors
degree. Am I considered a graduate student?
A: Not necessarily; only a student
officially admitted to a graduate program
leading to a masters or doctorate degree
is officially a graduate student.
- Q : I am not a full-time
student this term; am I still eligible
for Financial Aid?
A: You still may be eligible for certain
types of aid, providing that you do not drop
below half-time. You are not eligible to receive
funds from the Supplemental Educational Opportunity
Grant, University Grants, or Perkins Loan. In
addition, scholarships awarded to you based on
full-time attendance may be reduced or completely
- Q : I am not admitted
to a degree or eligible certificate program,
can I get aid?
- Q : Are non-citizens
eligible for Financial Aid?
A: A non-citizen who is in the U.S.
as a permanent resident is eligible for federal
student aid assistance. A non-citizen in
the U.S. on a temporary visa is not eligible
for federal aid but may be eligible for assistance
through the University’s grants, scholarships,
or employment programs.
- Q : Why must I provide
my parents’ information on the
A: A basic premise of Federal Student
Financial Aid is that the family is responsible
for educational expenses. Be sure to include
yourself when entering your parents’ family
size. Read the FAFSA instructions carefully to
determine whether you are dependent or independent
for aid purposes.
- Q : My (or my parents’)
circumstances are doing to change, do
I enter what is true now or what will
be true on the FAFSA?
A: Enter what is true now. Use
2005 Federal 1040 tax information. If
you or your family has a significant
decrease in income in 2005, or if a change
occurs such as death or divorce, contact
a Financial Aid Officer AFTER you receive
your SAR from the Central Processor.
We may adjust your award package.
- Q : My parents have
not filed their tax return yet. Can they
estimate their income?
A: Yes, they may use estimates, but the
information must be corrected later to match
the exact figures from the actual tax returns
before aid is paid to you.
- Q : My parents are divorced,
which parent should complete the FAFSA?
A: The parent you lived with most
during the last 12 months should complete
the FAFSA. If you did not live with either
parent, or if you lived with each parent
an equal amount of time, use the parent who
provided the most support to you in the most
recent calendar year.
- Q : What do I do if
I made a mistake on the FAFSA and want
to make corrections?
A: You should consult a Financial Aid
Officer before making changes. Not all changes
require resubmitting the SAR to the Central Processor.
- Q : I have a trust fund
that I can not touch until I am 21 years
old. Do I report it on the FAFSA?
A: Yes, a trust fund must be reported
because it represents your financial strength.
- Q : Is there any special
funding for students in health professions
A: Yes, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy,
and Allied Health have special funds. You must
include parental information on your FAFSA regardless
of your dependency status to be considered for
these grants, scholarships, and loans.