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Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

COMPLETING THE FAFSA

VERIFICATION/REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

THE AWARD LETTER

FEDERAL LOANS

DISBURSEMENT

MAP GRANT

FINANCIAL AID/AWARD ADJUSTMENTS

FEDERAL WORK STUDY

WITHDRAWING/DROPPING CLASSES

SUMMER SEMESTER FINANCIAL AID

SCHOLARSHIPS AND TUITION WAIVERS

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP) CANCELLATION

NON-OSFA

Q: What does the February 15 priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA mean?
A: Students who submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the first time prior to the February 15 priority deadline will receive the fullest consideration for federal, state, and institutional financial aid that can be awarded by the OSFA. The FAFSA can and still should be submitted after February 15 if you missed the priority deadline; just keep in mind that this could affect your eligibility for financial aid. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to submit the FAFSA before the deadline.

Q: I and/or my parents haven't filed a federal tax return yet and will not file until April or later, can I still submit a FAFSA before the UIC priority deadline of February 15?
A: Yes, you can still submit a FAFSA before the priority deadline of February 15, or at any time before taxes are officially filed with the IRS. It is important to submit your FAFSA before the deadline so that you receive the fullest consideration for all financial aid.

The FAFSA allows you to indicate that a tax return will be filed, and then estimates for tax and financial information can be submitted until the actual numbers are known. Once taxes have been filed with the IRS, it is then possible to return to your FAFSA online and make corrections to update the application with accurate information, or use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to transfer your tax information directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval tool is available approximately two weeks after filing a federal tax return electronically and approximately eight weeks after filing a federal tax return via mail.

Q: How do I complete the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA?
A: The IRS Data Retrieval tool is a fast and simple way to transfer accurate tax information into your FAFSA. The following video will show step-by-step how to complete the Data Retrieval on the FAFSA: 2014-2015 IRS Data Retrieval tool video

Q: What documents are needed by the OSFA for my financial aid to be awarded to me?
A: For many students, only a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is necessary to receive an award letter. If any additional documentation or information is needed to process your award letter, students are notified via e-mail of those requirements. Besides e-mail notification, students can also view whether they have any additional financial aid requirements from the Student Self-Service website in the Financial Aid tab. Student Self-Service can be accessed from the UIC student portal at http://my.uic.edu.

Q: Is there a deadline for submitting the Dependent/Independent Verification Worksheet or any documents that may be required from me?
A: We strongly recommend that students with any outstanding financial aid requirements complete those requirements and/or submit their documentation as soon as they are able to. The published deadline for submission of outstanding financial aid documents will fall about two weeks before the end of classes for each semester, and the specific deadlines can be found on the OSFA Calendar; however, it is not recommended that students wait until these published deadlines unless absolutely necessary.

Q: How do I complete the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA in order to verify tax information for the verification process?
A: The IRS Data Retrieval tool is a fast and simple way to transfer accurate tax information into your FAFSA. The following video will show step-by-step how to complete the Data Retrieval on the FAFSA: 2014-2015 IRS Data Retrieval tool video

Q: The semester has started, why don't I have an award letter yet?
A: Only students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, if requested, submitted required documentation, will receive an official UIC award letter notification.

If you recently submitted your FAFSA for the current semester, understand that it can take approximately 1-2 weeks for the application to be processed and an award letter completed. You will receive an e-mail notification from the OSFA when your award letter is available online.

If you submitted your FAFSA longer than two weeks ago, then you may have an outstanding financial aid requirement or documentation to submit for verification purposes before an award letter can be completed. Students may be requested to complete Dependent/Independent Verification Worksheets, verify US citizenship status, Selective Service status, etc., and all online students must complete an Online Program Intent to Enroll form each academic year in order to be awarded correctly. You would have received an e-mail notification from the OSFA to inform you of any additional documentation being requested, and you can also view current requirements from the Financial Aid section of the Student Self-Service website accessible from the UIC student portal at http://my.uic.edu.

Students who fail to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements may have had their financial aid eligibility cancelled and no longer be eligible for financial aid or a new award letter while in SAP cancellation.

Q: I am a new student, when will I get my award letter?
A: New/transfer students who have submitted their FAFSA and any additional documentation requested by the OSFA, if applicable, will begin to receive award letter notifications around the middle of March each year. Students with outstanding documentation requests or requirements may receive their award letter, but that award letter should be considered an unofficial estimate and subject to change until all requirements have been satisfied. The OSFA calendar will show published deadlines for the submission of financial aid documentation.

Q: I am a continuing student, when will I get my award letter?
A: Continuing students who have submitted their FAFSA and any additional documentation requested by the OSFA, if applicable, will begin to receive award letter notifications around early June each year. Students with outstanding documentation requests or requirements will not receive their award letter until after all requirements have been satisfied. The OSFA calendar will show published deadlines for the submission of financial aid documentation.

Q: My parent recently lost his/her job, can I qualify for more financial aid?
A: If you or someone in your family recently lost a job or experienced financial hardship due to death, divorce, or unexpected medical expenses, you may submit a Change of Financial Situation request. You must complete the form in its entirety and provide all required documentation. Submitting a Change of Financial Situation request does not guarantee that your aid will be increased.

Q: How do I apply for federal student loans?
A: Students apply for federal student aid, including loans, by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. When you complete your FAFSA, you can include UIC's federal school code (001776) so that the application is sent to us. When we complete your award letter and you access that award letter online, the maximum amount of federal student loans that you are eligible to borrow for that school year will be offered to you. You can then accept whatever amount of those loans that you need.

Q: How do I accept my loans?
A: Students can accept/decline/reduce any federal loan being offered to them through the award letter online. Students access the award letter by logging in to the portal at http://my.uic.edu. The link for the award letter is found on the Finances tab. The first page of the award letter will show you the Cost of Attendance, Need Calculation, and your Award Summary. Click the button at the bottom of the page that says "Continue". On the page that follows, students may need to respond to a few queries about their fall/spring enrollment and graduation. Students are also given the opportunity to report other sources of financial aid and/or request changes on that page. By clicking Continue on the second page, students are brought to the section of the award letter where they can choose to accept or decline each form of financial aid being offered to them. If a student wishes to accept less than the amount being shown, they can enter a partial amount in a small text box to the right of the accept/decline drop-down menu.

Q: What is the deadline for accepting my federal loans?
A: The deadline for accepting federal loans in any given semester is generally about two weeks before the end of that semester (last day of classes). The OSFA Calendar will show you the specific published deadline for each semester in the current calendar year; however, if using federal loans to pay towards your tuition and fees, be aware that tuition and fee billing due dates are different, and earlier, than the due dates to accept loans. You can find more info about billing here.

Q: Can I still receive loans even if I originally declined them?
A: Yes, you can still request federal loans even if you declined your loans previously. All you need to do is access your award letter online by logging in to http://my.uic.edu. The link for the award letter is found on the Finances tab. At the bottom of the first page of the award letter click the button that says "Request Changes". On the page that follows you can submit a request to have your loans re-offered to you in the bottom of the two text boxes, then click Continue to submit your request.

Financial aid staff review student requests regularly, and you will receive an e-mail notification informing you that your award letter has been revised after your requested changes are updated. Just remember that your typed request should be specific enough so that the correct changes can be made.

Q: If I realized I did not borrow enough federal loans, how can I apply for more?
A: If you accepted a partial amount of the federal loans originally offered to you on your award letter, you are still able to request an increase to your loans should you need more funds later. All you need to do is access your award letter online by logging in to http://my.uic.edu. The link for the award letter is found on the Finances tab. At the bottom of the first page of the award letter click the button that says "Request Changes". On the page that follows you can submit a request for additional loans in the bottom of the two text boxes. If you know how much more you wish to borrow, you can request that amount specifically. If you are not sure, you can just request to have the remainder of your available loans offered to you.

Financial aid staff review student requests regularly, and you will receive an e-mail notification informing you that your award letter has been revised after your requested changes are updated. Just remember that your typed request should be specific enough so that the correct changes can be made.

Q: I borrowed more loan money than I need, can I give back some of my loan(s)?
A: Yes, you can request to reduce your loans during the semester if you have borrowed more than was needed. All you need to do is access your award letter online by logging in to http://my.uic.edu. The link for the award letter is found on the Finances tab. At the bottom of the first page of the award letter click the button that says "Request Changes". On the page that follows you can submit a request to reduce your loans in the bottom of the two text boxes.

Financial aid staff review student requests regularly, and you will receive an e-mail notification informing you that your award letter has been revised after your requested changes are updated. Just remember that your typed request should be specific enough so that the correct changes can be made. When requesting to reduce loans, you must specify the dollar amount.

Important: When a loan that has already been disbursed to your student account is reduced, the portion of the loan being reduced must be billed back on your student account, usually creating a balance you will owe to UIC. If you received a refund from your loans, you will need to use all or part of your refund to pay the resulting balance and return those loan funds. If you used loans to pay your tuition and fees but did not receive a refund, then the resulting balance will be your responsibility to pay out-of-pocket.

Q: What's the difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans?
A: For newly originated loans, the only difference between Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans is the accrual of interest. Subsidized loans will NOT accrue interest while the student remains enrolled in school at least half-time (6 or more credit hours for undergraduate students). Interest on unsubsidized loans will begin to accrue from the date of disbursement. More detailed information about both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans can be found here.

Q: When does my financial aid pay?
A: The payment of financial aid is called disbursement. Financial aid will begin to disburse no earlier than 10 days before the beginning of a semester. Disbursement dates and other important dates and deadlines can be found on the OSFA Calendar.

After the initial disbursement of financial aid, additional disbursements occur regularly throughout the semester on Wednesday and Friday mornings. During each spring semester, any financial aid designated as fall semester aid on your award letter that is still eligible for payment will disburse on Tuesday mornings each week. For fall/spring awards disbursing during the spring semester, the fall portion of the aid must disburse first.

Q: Why haven't my loans been disbursed to my student account yet?
A: Federal Direct loans (Stafford subsidized/unsubsidized and Parent/Grad PLUS* loans) and Campus-based loans (Perkins, HPSL, and Nursing Student loans) have requirements that must be completed before those loans can be disbursed. Federal Direct loans require that Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) be complete before disbursement can occur. Parents approved to borrow a Parent PLUS loan must complete only an MPN. All federal loan requirements can be completed on the Department of Education's website http://studentloans.gov. For all campus-based loans, students must have completed UIC's Financial Counselor entrance interview and completed an MPN available on the ACS website found here.

Important: Even if the loan requirements are complete, all federal and campus-based loans require a minimum of half-time enrollment for disbursement. This is 6 or more credit hours in a semester for all undergraduate or professional students, and 5 or more credit hours for graduate college or School of Public Health graduate students. If you enroll less than half-time, federal and campus-based loans will not disburse.

*Graduate students who accepted a PLUS loan should also note that the Grad PLUS loan is subject to credit approval. A PLUS loan that has not disbursed may have been denied due to adverse credit. You can view a PLUS loan denial notification by logging in to http://studentloans.gov and clicking the "PLUS Correspondence" link from the menu. The denial notification will present you with options for continuing to pursue PLUS loan approval by other means.

Q: Why did I receive the MAP grant last year, but not this year?
A: There are several possible reasons. First and most important, you may have missed the deadline. Every year, the state agency that administers the MAP grant program (ISAC) will determine the FAFSA submission deadline for MAP grant eligibility. Any student that submits their FAFSA for the first time after the state MAP grant deadline will not be eligible to receive the MAP grant for that upcoming academic year. UIC's priority deadline for submission of the FAFSA is February 15th. This priority deadline helps ensure that Illinois residents do not miss the MAP grant deadline.

Second, the MAP grant is a need-based award. Financial need is determined using the data submitted on the FAFSA. If there are changes to that data, such as household size and/or household income, it can impact MAP grant eligibility.

Third, there are limits to MAP grant eligibility based on your grade level and total credit hours. Those details can be found at the bottom of the State Grant page of the OSFA website here.

Lastly, the MAP grant is available only to Illinois residents and/or the dependents of Illinois residents. If you or your parents (if you are a dependent student) are no longer residents of Illinois, you may no longer be eligible for the MAP grant.

Q: Why is there an adjustment on my MAP Grant?
A: The MAP grant pays each semester according to the number of credit hours the student is enrolled in for that semester. If you are enrolled in 15 or more credit hours, then you will receive 100% of the MAP grant award that was indicated on your award letter. For enrollment below 15 credit hours, the amount of MAP grant paid is prorated. Additionally, if your number of credit hours changes after the initial disbursement of the MAP grant, either by adding or dropping credit hours, the amount of MAP grant already paid to your student account may be adjusted. Information about how enrollment affects the MAP grant and other grants/financial aid can be found here.

Q: If I enroll part-time, will my financial aid be adjusted?
A: Several types of financial aid are affected by less than full-time enrollment. Information regarding the most common forms of financial aid can be found here. Important: eligibility for all types of federal and campus-based loans requires at least half-time enrollment. This is 6 or more credit hours in a semester for all undergraduate or professional students, and 5 or more credit hours for graduate college or School of Public Health graduate students.

Q: Why did I have loans cancelled or reduced when I received my scholarship or tuition waiver?
A: All students have a Cost of Attendance that is shown on the first page of their award letter online. Per federal regulations, your total financial aid resources cannot be greater than the Cost of Attendance. If the addition of a scholarship or tuition waiver as part of your total financial aid results in an over-award in excess of the Cost of Attendance, and you have accepted federal loan(s) and/or private loans, then those loan(s) are subject to reduction or cancellation so that your total aid is equal to, and not exceeding, the Cost of Attendance.

Q: What is Federal Work Study?
A: Federal Work Study (FWS) refers to the money used to pay a student for hours worked at a part-time job on campus. Via the America Reads program, a limited number of students are eligible to work off-campus as tutors with the Chicago Public School sites for which UIC has agreements. The FWS program is funded by the federal government and UIC. The FWS amount shown on your Award Letter is the amount you may earn during the academic year through a FWS position. Having a FWS award accepted on your Award Letter is not a guarantee of a job, nor a guarantee that you will earn the entire award amount if you are hired as a work-study student. The student is responsible for finding on-campus employment. Students working under the FWS program are paid at least minimum wage, and often more, depending on the type of work and the skills required. To search for a FWS job, visit the Office of Student Employment website.

Q: How can I get Federal Work Study?
A: Federal Work Study (FWS) is a need-based program, so students must be eligible for FWS based on their FAFSA data. Generally, students who received FWS funding and worked on campus in a FWS job the prior academic year will have FWS offered on their new UIC award letter each year. New students will not see FWS offered on their initial award letter. If FWS is not offered on your award letter, you can submit a request to be considered for FWS through your award letter online.

If you have any financial aid at Offered status, there will be a button at the bottom of the first page of your award letter that says "Continue". Click that button, and then type your request for FWS consideration into the bottom of the two text boxes on the page that follows. Important: At the time you submit your request for FWS consideration, you do NOT immediately have to accept/decline any aid that may be offered on the award letter. You can exit the award letter and accept/decline your awards at a later date.

If you have already completed your award letter and no aid is at offered status, then the button at the bottom of the award letter will say "Request Changes" instead of "Continue". Click the "Request Changes" button and follow the same procedure as above to submit your request for FWS consideration.

FWS funding is limited, so not all eligible students will be awarded FWS on the award letter. Requests are reviewed in the order they are submitted, so for fullest consideration, please submit your request as soon as you are able to after receiving your award letter.

Q: If I drop a course, how will this affect my financial aid?
A: Students may freely add/drop courses until the 10th day of the semester. If a course is dropped during this open add/drop period, the total number of credit hours is reduced. This may result in an adjustment of the assessed tuition and fees, and may also impact the amount paid and/or eligibility for certain types of financial aid. Please keep in mind that if you already received a refund based upon your higher enrollment, you may need to repay the funds for which you are no longer eligible. For information regarding how enrollment affects the most common types of financial aid, please visit this link.

Q: What happens if I withdraw from a course after the 10th day of the semester?
A: Withdrawing from a course or courses after the add/drop period (provided that you do not fully withdraw from all courses for the semester) does not affect your current term aid or your enrollment hours; however, you will receive a grade of "W" for the course(s) you withdrew from. It is possible that withdrawals could impact your future aid eligibility by lowering your course completion ratio. See the SAP Policy for more information about course completion ratio requirements.

Q: What happens if I withdraw from all my courses after the 10th day of the semester?
A: When a student withdraws from all of their classes in a given semester, two separate processes occur. The Office of the Registrar prorates tuition and some fees (according to their withdrawal policy and refund schedule), and the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) prorates financial aid as required by federal regulations. An explanation of this proration process can be found here.

Q: How do I get financial aid if I decide to attend classes during the summer?
A: All students who wish to receive financial aid during the summer semester must complete and submit a Summer Aid Application to our office. Summer awarding typically begins in early April. More information can be found here.

Q: Where can I find the Summer Aid Application for UIC?
A: Each year the OSFA makes the Summer Aid Application available to students in late January or early February. Paper copies of the application can be found in our office reception area. The application is brief and takes only a few minutes to complete. The application can also be printed from online via the Forms section of our office website.

Q: Are there grants available for summer classes at UIC?
A: The only grant that is available for use during the summer semester is the federal Pell grant. Students are only eligible for summer Pell if they did not receive their full Pell award for the fall and spring semesters. Since the Pell grant pays 100% of the scheduled award when a student takes 12 or more credit hours in a semester, it means that summer Pell will only be available for a student who took fewer than 12 credit hours for the fall and/or spring semesters and therefore did not receive their full Pell award. For this reason, most students will only be eligible for loans during the summer semester.

Q: Why hasn't my tuition waiver been applied to my student account?
A: It depends on what type of tuition waiver you are expecting. This flowchart can help answer the above question for most graduate students. For graduate assistants, our office can only post and pay your waiver after your qualifying employment appointment is fully processed by university HR, and your appointment must meet the HR eligibility criteria found here; between 25%-67% employment covering at least 91 continuous days of the semester (41 in summer). Graduate Assistants must also be enrolled in a minimum 8 credit hours (3 for summer) for a waiver to be paid..

For those students awarded Board of Trustees (BOT) tuition waivers or Graduate College waivers (as part of a fellowship, traineeship, etc.), these waivers are reported to the OSFA by the Graduate College each semester. If your waiver has not paid, often it is because it has not been reported to us yet that you are a waiver recipient. BOT and Grad College waivers also require 12 or more credit hours during the fall and spring semesters, and 6 in the summer, unless specifically indicated otherwise.

For Child of Employee tuition waivers, please be sure that the parent/employee has completed the online application and that the student has submitted a Benefit Utilization Record to our office. Specific details and policies are found on NESSIE here.

To ask about a different type of waiver, please contact us.

Q: Why did I have loans cancelled or reduced when I received my scholarship or tuition waiver?
A: All students have a Cost of Attendance that is shown on the first page of their award letter online. Per federal regulations, your total financial aid resources cannot be greater than the Cost of Attendance. If the addition of a scholarship or tuition waiver as part of your total financial aid results in an over-award in excess of the Cost of Attendance, and you have accepted federal loan(s) and/or private loans, then those loan(s) are subject to reduction or cancellation so that your total aid is equal to, and not exceeding, the Cost of Attendance.

Q: My financial aid was cancelled/suspended, what can I do to pay for next semester? Can I appeal?
A: Financial aid can be cancelled due to failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete at least 67% of their attempted credit hours in order to meet SAP requirements. SAP evaluations occur after every spring semester, in mid-May, and students who are cancelled are notified via e-mail.

If your financial aid is cancelled because you did not meet the SAP requirements, but you feel there were extenuating circumstances such as hospitalization or health-related concerns, emotional issues, family circumstances, etc., you can submit an appeal which will be reviewed by the SAP review committee. Submitting an appeal does not guarantee that your aid will be reinstated.

Outside of a successful appeal, students can regain their financial aid eligibility by successfully completing enough coursework to bring their GPA and/or course completion ratio above the required minimums. If you believe you now meet the SAP requirements but your aid had previously been cancelled, you must notify the OSFA directly. SAP cancellation is not automatically removed.

Appeal deadlines are as follows:
Summer - June 1
Fall - October 15
Spring - March 15
SAP_Appeal_Evaluation_Form

Q: How much does it cost to attend UIC?
A: http://www.uic.edu/depts/oar/financial_matters/tuition.html

Q: Where can I search for scholarships?
A: http://www.uic.edu/depts/oaa/ssp/

Q: How can I waive the Campus Care health insurance fee if I already have insurance?
A: Students can waive the Campus Care health insurance by completing an online waiver form available through the Campus Care office website. http://www.uic.edu/hsc/campuscare/

Q: How do I get on a payment plan?
A: http://paymybill.uillinois.edu/PaymentPlan

Q: When is my bill due?
A: http://paymybill.uillinois.edu/BillFAQs

Q: Where can I get the 1098-T form, so that I can complete my tax return?
A: The 1098-T form is made available to students online each year by the USFSCO office. http://paymybill.uillinois.edu/Understanding1098T

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