How do I Apply for Financial Aid
Applying for Financial Aid can be a very simple and easy process but must be done each year. Everything begins with your filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the only application that Chestnut Hill College requires for SUS students. (Graduate and the School of Professional and Continuing Studies must file an institutional application in addition to the FAFSA.) This can be done for the next financial aid year as early as January 1 but we recommend that you file after you submit your taxes for the year so that you have the most up to date information - as long as you are filing by the April 15 tax deadline. You may want to consider filing earlier using an estimate if you are a late-filer but will then have to go into the FAFSA to update the tax information once you have finalized your taxes for the previous year.
Steps to File the FAFSA
1.) Both the student and parent must apply for a personal identification number (PIN) from the U.S. Department of Education, www.pin.ed.gov. A FAFSA is not considered complete until both the parent and student have updated it with their PIN. This is considered the online signature form.
2.) Once you have a PIN, complete the FAFSA online, www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to include Chestnut Hill College's Federal Code: 003245
3.) When filing your FAFSA on the Web, you will be encouraged to use the IRS DRT (Data Retrieval Tool), which allows the US Department of Education to access your tax year data directly from the IRS, rather than having you provide the data. This will ensure the most accurate aid award for you and may satisfy the need for further tax information if selected for Federal Verification.
4.) After the FAFSA has been submitted, you will recieve notification from the Federal Government in the form of a Student Aid Report, (SAR). The Student Aid Report will contain your Expected Family Contribution and will also indicate your Pell Grant eligibility as well as Federal Direct Loans. Be sure to review and correct any errors that you may find.
When Should I File?
Please keep in mind that you must file a FAFSA each academic aid year. For all newly admitted students, we suggest that you file by February 15th. For returning students, we suggest having your FAFSA filed by March 15th.
Who is Eligible to Submit a FAFSA?
1.) You must be a matriculated student in a degree granting program at Chestnut Hill College.
2.) You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
3.) You must have a valid Social Security Card on file with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Dependent vs. Independent Student Status
When you apply for federal student aid, it must be determined if you are considered as a dependent or independent student. The U.S. Department of Education has specific criteria that determines your status. The FAFSA will ask a series of questions that will help you determine your status. In order to be considered an Independent Student, one of the following criteria must be met:
- Be 24 years of age
- Be in a graduate program (beyond a Bachelor's Degree)
- Be married
- Have children you support
- Have legal dependents
- Be an orphan or ward of the court
- Be a verteran
- Be emancipated
- Be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless
You are considered a Dependent Student if your parent's claim you on their income taxes. Federal aid programs are based on the concept that a dependent student's parents have the primary responsibilty for their children's education. If you do not meet the Independent Student criteria listed above, parent information is required.
Pay special attention not to make any errors when filing your FAFSA. Please verifiy all personal information you input, including the Social Security number and date of birth. If this information does not match up with the Social Security Administration, this can cause delays in financial aid awarding.
Please closely review the information that is sent back after filing the FAFSA on your Student Aid Report. If there is a problem on the FAFSA, this will be indicated on that report. Corrections can be made by going back into the FAFSA at anytime.
This may also indicate that your have been selected for a Verification Audit Review.
Federal Direct Loans:
There are two types of Federal Direct Loans and your eligibility for both is determined through the review of your completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Aid.)
- Direct subsidized loans are interest-free while you are enrolled in college at least half-time and during a six month grace period after you leave school.
- Direct unsubsidized loans accrue interest while you are enrolled. You can choose to pay the interest each month while in school, or allow the interest to accrue.
Borrowing limits for each academic year depend on your class level:
- $5,500 Freshmen (maximum $3,500 may be subsidized)
- $6,500 Sophomores (maximum $4,500 may be subsidized)
- $7,500 Juniors/Seniors (maximum $5,500 may be subsidized)
- $20,500 Graduate Students, all in unsubsidized loans
- 0% interest rate while enrolled in college at least half-time level, and during a six month grace period after you leave school
- 3.4% interest rate during repayment for undergraduate loans.
Direct unsubsidized loans have a 6.8% fixed interest rate.
Each loan disbursement on or after July 1, 2012 will have a net fee of 1.0% deducted from each disbursement.
No credit check is required. If you are not in default on a prior educational loan, do not owe a repayment of federal grant funds, and meet federal aid eligibility requirements, you will be approved to borrow Federal Direct Loans.
NOTE: Once you are approved for a loan, it is very important to recognize that the loan dollars will not be disbursed to you until you electronically complete both an Entrance Interview and sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both of these can be completed by visiting www.studentloans.gov. You will need to have your Personal Identification Number (PIN) and your Social Security Number available to complete this process. Your PIN was assigned to you when you filed your FAFSA. If you have forgotten it, you may retrieve it by visiting www.pin.ed.gov.
No payment is required while you are enrolled at least half-time. Repayment begins six months after graduation or if you drop below half-time status. The standard repayment is ten years. You can apply for an additional deferment of payments if you enroll in graduate school at least half-time, additional information can be found by visiting www.studentloans.gov
Federal Direct PLUS Loan:
The Federal Direct PLUS program is a popular financing option for parents of undergraduate students and/or independent graduate students.
- Borrow any loan amount up to the total cost of attendance determined by Chestnut Hill College, less any awarded financial aid.
- 7.9% fixed interest rate
- An origination fee of 4.0% is deducted from each disbursemnt.
- A credit check is conducted when you begin the loan application process.
- If a parent is denied the loan, an additional direct unsubsidized loan will be awarded to the student's financial aid package. Students with a status of a "freshmen", or "sophmore", will recieve an additional $4,000, while students of "junior", and "senior", status will recieve an additional $5,000.
- Undergraduate students are required to compete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order for their parent to use the Direct PLUS loan program.
- You can complete the PLUS loan application at www.studentloans.gov.
- For graduate students repayment begins immediately after you graduate or drop below half-time status and lasts ten years under standard repayment plan.
- For parents of undergraduate students repayment begins within 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed and lasts ten years. Parent borrowers may contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center to request deferment of monthly payments while the student is in school.
Federal Perkins Loans:
The Federal Perkins Loan Program is a loan option available for students who demonstrate financial need. If your FAFSA indicates that you have sufficient financial need, we may offer you a Perkins loan as part of your financial aid package. Available Perkins funds are determined on repayment by prior loan recipients. Because of this, the pool of available Perkins loan funds are limited even in cases of financial need, so not all aid applicants can be offered Perkins loans.
Additional information on the Perkins Loan:
- Award amounts: Range from $500-$4,000
- 5.0% fixed interest rate
- No interest is charged while you are enrolled in college at least half-time or during the nine month grace period after you leave school
- Standard repayment period on the loan is 10 years
Students must sign a promissory note with the school agreeing to repay the Perkins Loan. An entrance and exit interview must be conducted for recipients of these loan funds.
Once you have exhausted your Federal availability for Financial Aid, Alternative Loans are another option to fill in the gap between the offered aid and your total Cost of Attendance.
The primary borrower of the Alternative Loan is the student; however, a co-signer is generally required.
The interest rate on an Alternative Loan is variable and may vary slightly with each lender. Currently, the rates are running in the range of 7-9%. Interest will acrue on the loan if it is not paid while the student is in school. Please check with your lender to understand how the interest is calculated and accrued.
The lender of your Alternative Loan will charge a fee which is deducted from the loan before it is disbursed. The fee is often called an 'origination fee' or 'administrative fee.' The fee may vary from lender to lender, so please be aware of this when looking for a lender.
Repayment terms vary depending on the lender and the amount borrowed. Most lenders allow up to 10 years for repayment. Please inquire about this with your lender.
You may borrow up to the cost of your educational expenses (as determined by your school) minus other aid that you are receiving.
Applying for Loan
The fastest way to apply for the Alternative loan is to submit an on-line application to the lender of your choice. Once your application is submitted, the lender will run a credit check and notify you of approval or denial. If you receive approval notification, you should then contact your financial aid counselor at your school to insure certification of your loan to enable quick fund dusbursement.
Please keep in mind that you are not required to use one of these lenders.