Financial Aid FAQs and Links

How do I apply for financial aid?

After January 1 of any given year follow these steps to apply for Financial Aid. Early submission of the FAFSA (April 15) will insure that we get your data in time for early awarding. The UGST Financial Aid Office requests that you do not apply for the FAFSA before properly submitting your Federal Income Tax Return.

Once I file for aid, when will I receive a response?

UGST will begin to package aid at the end of April. Awarding will continue throughout the Spring and Summer. We encourage early application so that we can settle your financial situation prior to Fall registration.

What does a financial aid package include?

A financial aid package may consist of a combination of scholarships and loans. The receipt of these awards is dependent upon the level of funds available, and your eligibility as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What about institutional scholarship funds?

UGST offers a variety of scholarships. Students are automatically considered for any scholarships for which they qualify based on the FAFSA and Application Form. There is no need to make separate application for institutional scholarships at this time. However, students cannot be considered for scholarships until their application is complete and they’ve been notified of acceptance to UGST.

When should I apply for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan?

We begin to process Federal Stafford Student Loans for the coming academic year in Spring. We advise you to apply as early as possible. You must be aware that it takes several weeks for the entire process to be completed. To ensure that your award is processed in time for fall registration, complete applications and supply all requested documents to the financial aid office by June 30th.

What is this verification process I hear about?

If you are selected for verification, we will ask you for all the tax information reported for the previous year. Those in private business are required to submit all tax forms reported to the Federal government (such as partnership and/or S-Corporation returns), as well as individual income tax information. The review of tax information may take some time and may delay the finalization of financial aid which has been suggested to you.

If there are great discrepancies between the information you submitted on the Student Aid Report and that which comes through subsequent data which you provide us, the aid award may be withdrawn, reduced, or adjusted in some way. You can help us and yourself by first being as accurate as possible with the information you indicate on the SAR, and second by responding rapidly and completely to requests for subsidiary information which might be involved in the verification process.

Why am I considered a self-supporting student (independent of my parents)?

An independent student is defined as any one of the following:

24 years of age
An orphan or ward of the court
A veteran of 180 active consecutive days of military service
A graduate student
Married student
Having legal dependents other than a spouse
All students at UGST are graduate students and therefore are considered self-supporting.

How long will it take to process my financial aid?

After the FAFSA is received by Urshan Graduate School of Theology, it may take 4 to 6 weeks for financial aid to be awarded. Students can delay the process even longer by not properly submitting all of the required documents.

Why can one student’s financial aid take longer to process than others?

No two financial aid packages are the same. The application might be chosen by the Federal government for verification, in which case, the student is required to submit income tax information and other documents to verify the information on the FAFSA. Financial aid cannot be processed until all this information is submitted. When paperwork is received from a student, it is filed in date order. Because of the substantial volume of verification documents turned it, it could take several weeks after documents are turned in before they are physically reviewed by an officer. At that point, additional information/documentation might be required. For example, if a student turns in an unsigned 1040, the form must be returned to the student for that required signature. Other situations that would hold up processing are required forms that are not filled out properly or instances of conflicting data. An example of this would be the following situation: A student claimed only three exemptions on their 1040 and now claims there are now 7 household members being supported. This student will be required to provide documentation proving there are additional household members.

All discrepancies must be resolved before a student’s financial aid can be processed. The student must be admitted to Ursahn Graduate School of Theology before financial aid can be processed. If a student is receiving loans, they must also complete the entrance counseling form and MPN for new borrowers.

What could cause my student loan to not be processed?

1) The student failed to turn in the necessary paperwork; 2) the student has attended another school during the same term and already used all or most of the loan limit for the term; 3) the student has been accepting maximum loans while attending part-time causing them to use up the aggregate loan limit provided by the government for their current degree program; 4) the student is not making satisfactory academic progress (determined by both GPA and completion rate of attempted credits); 5) the student is not properly enrolled in courses (the student must be enrolled in at least six credit hours).

After I submit the FAFSA and UGST receives the results, what is my next step?
Students will receive a document tracking letter telling them what they need to do next. Again, each case is unique. Returning students may not need to do anything else provided their FAFSA was not selected for verification, and they have done the entrance counseling and Master Promissory Note (MPN) for a previous year. If chosen for verification, they will have to turn in additional documents. A new student will need to complete the entrance counseling form and MPN.

How long is my Master Promissory Note (MPN) good for?

Generally the MPN is good for 10 years, with the exceptions of a name change (such as in the case of changing a name from maiden to married).

Can I be denied a student loan if I have bad credit?

The Federal Direct Stafford Loans for students are not based on credit ratings. However, a student who has previously defaulted on a federal student loan will not qualify for a new loan until the default is cleared with the lender. Written documentation from the lender must be submitted to Financial Aid. Sometimes this situation can be resolved by the student submitting an In-School Loan Deferment Request through the UIC. Other times the student might be required to contact a previously attended school or the lender directly in order to clear up a loan in default.

How many times per year are refund checks issued?

Refund checks are offered twice each school year. They are offered at the beginning of each semester once funds have been received and tuition and fees have been posted to the student’s account. Any remaining will be issued to the student in the form of a check.

I don’t think I’m eligible for anything, but I still need help! What can I do?

You may be eligible for federal student loans, but you must complete the FAFSA on the Web in order to be considered. If you don’t qualify for federal student loan programs, or if you need to borrow more than the allowable borrowing limits, you may find assistance through alternative loans. Alternative loans are commercial student loans that are not subsidized or insured by the federal government. Alternative loans are available through some banks and secondary student loan markets at competitive interest rates. We also encourage you to research scholarship opportunities.

If my Student Aid Report indicates that I am selected for verification, what do I do?

Please respond promptly to any requests for information from Urshan Graduate School of Theology’s financial aid office to ensure that your student financial aid is processed timely and correctly.

I have just learned that I must maintain “satisfactory academic progress.” What is it?
Financial Aid is required by federal regulation to monitor student progression toward completion of degree and certificate programs at the graduate level. UGST’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy requires that a specific number of completed credits are necessary each academic year to remain eligible for student financial aid. (Please note: This standard mirrors UGST’s academic policy with regard to GPA.) For additional information, please review the satisfactory academic progress in the Academic Handbook (available in your student portal).

How often do I apply for a FAFSA and when should I apply?

You only apply once per academic year which includes Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Generally, you should complete a FAFSA for the coming academic year as soon as you have filed your federal tax return.

Word of caution:

If you are applying for aid for the Spring semester and you already submitted a FAFSA application for the Fall, you do not submit another FAFSA application for Spring. However, if you did not submit for FAFSA in the Fall, you will need to apply for Spring aid.

Financial Links

FASFA on the Web
Now offering Renewal FAFSA! Students may request an Electronic Access Code (EAC) and file a Renewal FAFSA via FAFSA on the Web.
This is a website that can help you deal with debt management during your college years.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) central database for student aid.
Entrance Loan Counseling
Information for new Urshan Graduate School of Theology borrowers.
Exit Loan Counseling
Information for students entering repayment.
College Navigator
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)