Awarding Financial Aid
The Office of Financial Aid (OFA) staff awards students on a priority basis with April 1st being the priority deadline. The need-based aid is awarded to those students with the greatest need until the funds are depleted.
The following information explains important philosophies and procedures which guide the process of awarding financial aid to students at Alabama State University:
Institutional Packaging Philosophy
The packaging philosophy in the OFA is to ensure consistent, equitable, and fair distribution of financial aid funds.
Institutional Packaging Procedures
The packaging of financial aid for the OFA is to consider Federal Pell Grant first, other grants and/or scholarships second, and the campus-based aid (FSEOG, FWS, ACG, SMART, Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized, Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized, Additional Federal Direct Stafford Unsubsidized, and Federal Direct PLUS) third. The various types of financial assistance is considered in a manner that the student’s cost of attendance (COA) is met (tuition & fees, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and personal).
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional need (Federal Pell Grant recipients with the lowest expected family contribution). Federal Perkins is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional need but is not eligible for Federal Pell Grant.
The OFA staff awards students automatically from criteria set up using the Financial Aid Module in PeopleSoft. If a student has aid other than Title IV Aid and Alabama Student Assistance, it must be applied to the award manually.
Determination of Total Funds to be Awarded
The Director, in conjunction with the OFA staff, determines the total aid funds to be awarded during an award year. The Department of Education sends the OFA information detailing annual fund allocations through the Federal Authorization Letter with the Official Notice of Funding. Determining the total funds available includes an evaluation and projection of available funds, required matching, and administrative expenses. Careful projections are made to enable the OFA staff to offer fair and equitable packages to students. A determination is made based on prior year history of the percentage which all programs will be awarded in excess of allocation to account for attrition.
Students are encouraged to seek assistance from outside resources. It is required that all outside assistance be reported to the OFA. Financial aid, including outside resources, may not exceed the student's cost of attendance. Therefore, if a student has been awarded by the OFA and receives outside funds, an adjustment to the original award notification may be necessary. If an adjustment is necessary, the OFA will first reduce or cancel all loans until the overaward no longer exists. If the overaward still exists, Federal Work-Study is reduced or cancelled to eliminate the overaward.
Award Notification and Acceptance of Awards
Students receive notice of financial aid via an award notification. Students must return a copy of the award notification ONLY if declining or modifying the financial aid award offered.
There are only a few financial aid programs for which students may apply during the summer. Students may also apply for Federal Pell Grant, FWS, Federal Direct Stafford, Federal Direct Unsubsidized, Additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized, and Federal Direct PLUS loans during summer terms.
Consortium Agreements/Exchange Student
A student may receive Title IV aid if he/she is taking coursework at two or more schools, if the participating institutions enter into a consortium agreement. A consortium agreement specifies which institution will process and disburse student aid. The agreement also should stipulate which institution will consider the student enrolled. Whichever institution disbursed aid funds is responsible for keeping records and returning Title IV funds in the case of an overaward.
International students are not eligible for federal or state financial aid because they do not meet the citizenship requirement. International students may receive non-federal aid and are encouraged to apply for such aid. International students seeking assistance are referred to the Minorities and International Student Affairs Office.
Awards & Disbursements
A confirmation of the financial aid awarded to each student is provided in an Award Notification Letter mailed by the Office of Financial Aid. Award letters are mailed during the spring and summer preceding the fall enrollment term.
The award notification letter may contain data on student budgets, expected family contribution, award categories and Student Rights and Responsibilities. Students are requested to return a copy of their award notification only if they decline or make adjustments to the award.
The financial aid awards are usually made on an annual basis. The annual award is divided into two equal installments which are posted to the student's account by the Business Office during the Fall and Spring Terms. The awards are posted to the student's account after the verification process is completed by the Office of Financial Aid and registration has been completed.
The student's account, provided by the Business Office, consists of postings from at least three (3) sources:
1. Institutional Charges
b. Room and Board
c. Fees, etc...
2. Financial Aid Awards
a. Pell Grant
b. FSEOG grant
d. Scholarships from College and/or other sources
e. Federal Work-Study
3. Payments by cash or check from students and parents
When the financial aid award and/or cash payments exceed college charges, the student is eligible to receive a refund. Refunds of the excess credit balances are processed by the Business Office and available to students 3 days after the beginning of classes and each Wednesday and Friday thereafter. Students who borrow from the Federal William D. Ford Direct Loan Program for the first time at Alabama State University will receive refunds of credit balances from loan proceeds at least thirty (30) days after the first day of enrollment as outlined in the federal guidelines. Entrance interviews must also be conducted with the student before the loan proceeds are disbursed to the student.