Your FAFSA Questions Answered
For New Students
Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
You can apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA. For additional information on the filing for aid, review the application process.
No, you do not have to be accepted to any school before you file the FAFSA. It is recommended that you apply for financial aid as soon as you decide you might attend college. However, you cannot receive a financial aid package until you have been accepted for admission to Saint Xavier University and valid FAFSA results have been received by our institution.
The Education Department requires students to be enrolled at least half-time to receive federal loans or participate in the Federal Work Study program. For undergraduate students, half time enrollment is 6-credit hours per semester. For graduate students, 3 credit hours of enrollment qualify as half-time. Students who attend less than half-time can still be considered for the Federal Pell Grant and the State of Illinois MAP Grant.
Yes. It is recommended that you file the FAFSA as soon as possible each year after October 1 for the upcoming academic year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. The 2019-20 FAFSA form, which became available October 1, 2018, asks for 2017 tax information. If you are filling out the 2018-19 FAFSA form, you will need 2016 tax information.
If the Office of Financial Aid is requesting verification of your (or your parents or spouse, as applicable) income information, you can opt to either link your taxes to your FAFSA within the FAFSA application by using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or to provide a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript. For assistance with obtaining an IRS Tax Return Transcript, please visit the IRS website.
There are 3 methods for adding a school to your FAFSA:
- Login to your FAFSA online and select the option Make Corrections to add Saint Xavier University as a school. SXU's school code is (001768).
- Call 1-800-4FED-AID. By using the DRN number which is listed on the Student Aid Report (SAR) you received from filing the FAFSA, our school code (001768) then can be added.
- Contact the Office of Financial Aid with your DRN number.
If you submit the FAFSA online, the Education Department will take approximately one to two weeks to process the information and produce your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a snapshot or summary of the information contained in the FAFSA data you submitted. If you submit the paper FAFSA through the mail, it will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to receive your SAR.
Thoroughly review the cover page of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which indicates the reason(s) for the invalid status. In most cases, a SAR is invalid due to missing information, such as: income/asset information is excluded, social security number is excluded or recorded incorrectly, or student or parent signature is absent. Instructions for correcting the necessary information are listed on the cover page of the SAR.
The Education Department requires that at least 30 percent of FAFSA applications be verified each year. Verification requires documentation to be submitted so that the accuracy of FAFSA information can be verified. Saint Xavier University verifies those students selected by the government, as well as those who are institutionally selected. If you are selected for verification, the Office of Financial Aid will notify you in a letter detailing what documentation is necessary, including a Verification Worksheet which must be completed in its entirety, signed and submitted to the Office of Financial Aid for review.
The information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). EFC is a measure of your family's financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.
Students who have been admitted to Saint Xavier University will have their financial aid eligibility assessed when the Office of Financial Aid has received valid FAFSA results from the Education Department.
A financial aid offer details the financial aid a student is eligible to receive. All financial aid awards are a combination of gift aid (i.e. scholarships and grants) and self-help (i.e. loans and work study). The University's Office of Financial Aid will prepare a financial aid package for each admitted student.
Your financial aid offer is an estimation based on current FAFSA results and federal/state regulations, as well as an assumed housing and enrollment plan. If your housing plans or enrollment change, notify the Office of Financial Aid so that your aid can be revised. You will receive notification to review changes to your offer via Self-Service on mySXU.
A promissory note is the legal agreement between you and the Education Department, stating they agree to disburse the funds on your behalf and you agree to repay the loan in due course.
A Master Promissory Note, referred to as a MPN, is a multi-year promissory note; it can be completed one time and is valid for 10 years. Complete your Master Promissory Note online, by signing in with your FSA ID.
The maximum amount of Federal Direct Loan money a student is eligible to receive for a particular academic year varies according to year in school, dependency status and financial need (based on FAFSA results). Each student may borrow up to his/her loan limit, or total cost of attendance minus any other financial aid, whichever is less.
Federal Direct loan funds begin posting to students' accounts in the Office of the Bursar two weeks prior to the start of each semester. Students must complete several steps before loan funds can be released from the Federal Government:
Federal Work Study will appear on the financial aid offer of students who are eligible to participate in the program. Work study is money you earn by working on campus, while enrolled in school, which will help pay your educational expenses. Wages and earnings from employment through the work study program are not credited to students' accounts in the Office of the Bursar; a paycheck will be received every two weeks for actual hours worked.
Some students receive scholarship aid from "outside" sources. If you have been offered aid that meets your calculated need and you receive additional outside assistance, federal regulations require that your aid may be adjusted so that your need is not over met. Please note: Students are required to disclose the name(s) and amount(s) of any outside scholarship award(s) to the Office of Financial Aid regardless of when the scholarship funds have been awarded or disbursed.
FAFSA results are based on the prior year's tax information. Although the FAFSA is re-filed each year, the information submitted may not be able to keep up with your current financial situation. We, at Saint Xavier University, recognize that financial circumstances can change greatly in a year.
Three Steps to Take When Your Family Finances Shift
- Import or use information from prior year's taxes as you would under normal circumstances.
- The parent filing a FAFSA should list themselves as a "displaced worker" if they:
- receive unemployment benefits due to being laid off or losing a job
- have been laid off or received a layoff notice from a job
- were self-employed but are now unemployed due to economic conditions
- Learn more about displaced worker status.
2. Contact us and let us know that you've had a change in circumstances -- ASAP. We will walk you through the process for having your aid package reviewed.
If you or your family experience special circumstances that affect your ability to pay college costs, we urge you to talk with your Financial Aid Counselor to request a review of aid eligibility.
Examples of acceptable Special Circumstances:
- Loss of income (wages, benefits, etc.) due to unemployment
- Extensive medical bills not covered by insurance
- Un-reimbursed elementary or secondary private school tuition
- Business loss (bankruptcy, foreclosure, or natural disaster)
- Cost of attendance adjustments (childcare costs, transportation costs, etc.)
- Death of a parent or spouse
- Divorce or separation
3. Provide all necessary documents and information.There will most likely be a form to fill out, and documentation to provide. Send it in as quickly as possible. We will carefully review your circumstances and contact you as soon as possible with the results of your appeal.
For Returning Students
Renewal of aid is not automatic. A FAFSA renewal reminder will be sent to returning students each year. Students need only update any information necessary using FAFSA on the Web, or use the paper renewal to make changes and return the form in the envelope provided.
Need for financial assistance is reevaluated annually to take into account changing circumstances and ensuring fairness in the distribution of aid. Financial aid packages rarely remain the same from year to year. One reason is that funding appropriations and allowances may change each year for Federal, State and University grant programs. In addition, a family's finances usually change as well, requiring adjustments in FAFSA calculation results and a change in need.