Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
 
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Financial Aid Office

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I apply for a student loan?
  2. How much money will I be able to borrow?
  3. How do I know if I am an Independent or a Dependent student for 2014-15?
  4. What is an EFC and how is it calculated?
  5. What is a Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan?
  6. What is a PLUS Loan?
  7. Is there a deadline for filing a loan application?
  8. What is the interest rate or costs to receive my student loan?
  9. When do I have to start payments on my student loan?
  10. I got my “Official Offer of Award” letter in the mail. Now What?
  11. How do I apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan?
  12. How do my parent(s) apply for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan?
  13. How does my financial aid get applied to my tuition bill?
  14. What is Excess Aid and how do I get it?
  15. I have received a private scholarship; how do I get the money?
  16. I am not living on campus; can I receive excess aid to pay my rent?
  17. I was awarded Federal Work-Study; what is it and will this be applied to my tuition bill?
  18. I am a part-time student, how does this affect my financial aid?
  19. Why did I receive another “Official Offer of Award” letter?

Q. How do I apply for a student loan?

A. Whether you apply for a grant, student loan or other type of financial aid, all potential borrowers have to complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Most students file on-line at www.fafsa.gov. It is helpful to complete the FAFSA worksheet before filing on-line. The worksheets can be obtained from the student's high school counseling office, or the financial aid office at the college the student plans to attend, or downloaded from the FAFSA web site.

LSSU's Federal School Code is 002293.

If you applied for federal student aid the prior year, you will probably receive a reminder notice from FAFSA at your home address in December. If you have any questions about the Renewal FAFSA, please check with the financial aid office at LSSU, or go on-line at www.fafsa.gov.

 

Q.How much money will I be able to borrow?

A. The following are the maximum annual loan amounts that can be borrowed through the Federal Stafford Loan Program:

Dependent Students (Sub + Unsub)

Subsidized
Unsubsidized

Total

1st year undergraduate (Freshman) $ 3,500 $2,000 $5,500
2nd year undergraduate (Sophomore) $ 4,500 $2,000 $6,500
3rd year (Junior/Senior up to graduate) $ 5,500 $2,000 $7,500

For dependent students whose parents' PLUS application is denied, the amount a student can borrow under the unsubsidized program is the same as for an independent student.

Independent Students

Subsidized
Unsubsidized
Total
1st year undergraduate (Freshman) $ 3,500 $ 6,000 $ 9,500
2nd year undergraduate (Sophomore) $ 4,500 $ 6,000 $10,500
3rd year (Junior/Senior up to graduate) $ 5,500 $ 7,000 $12,500
Graduate/Professional $ 0 $20,500 $20,500

 

Maximum Federal Stafford Aggregate Loan Limits

Dependent Undergraduate $ 31,000
Independent Undergraduate $ 57,500
Graduate/Professional $138,500

The aggregate loan limits (both Undergraduate and Graduate/Professional) also include any portion of a borrower's Consolidation loan which was used to repay a Stafford loan.

The loan amount a borrower may receive is determined by subtracting the amount of other financial aid that the borrower will receive from the total cost of attendance for the applicable academic year. In determining subsidized Stafford loan eligibility, the expected family contribution is also subtracted from the cost of education. LSSU's financial aid office will certify the loan amount and eligibility.

Loan Limits for a PLUS Loan

The maximum that may be borrowed may not exceed the student's cost of attendance, as determined by the school, minus any financial aid the student has been or will be awarded during the period of enrollment. There are no aggregate limits on these loans.

As with Stafford loans, LSSU's financial aid office will certify loan amount and eligibility.

 

Q. How do I know if I am an Independent or a Dependent student for 2014-15?

A.

  • Were you born before January 1, 1991?
  • As of the day you filed your FAFSA, were you married?
  • At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more that half of their support from you , now and through June 30, 2015?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased?
  • Were you in foster care since turning age 13?
  • Were you a dependent or ward of the court since turning age 13?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  • Are you homeless or at risk of being homeless?

If you answered "No" to all of the questions above, you are considered a "Dependent" student.

If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions above, you are considered an "Independent" student.


Q. What is an EFC and how is it calculated?

A. The EFC stands for "Estimated Family Contribution". It is calculated by the Federal Government when you file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It takes into account such items as your tax information, your spouse's or parents' tax information (if applicable), your (and your family's) assets, the number of people in your household, and the number of family members in college.

 

Q. What are Stafford Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?

A. A Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan is a loan in which the interest due on the loan is paid by the Federal Government while you are in school, possibly during your 6-month grace period following cessation of at least half-time enrollment, and possibly for any periods of authorized deferment after you begin repayment. In other words, this loan is "interest-free" to the student, during these periods of time.

An Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan has all the same terms as the subsidized Federal Stafford loan including deferments, and loan limits. However, you are responsible for the interest payments while you are in school, during periods of authorized deferments and during your grace and repayment periods. You have the option of paying the interest quarterly as it accrues, or not paying it and allowing it to capitalize (adding the interest to the unpaid principle balance) upon repayment.

 

Q. What is a PLUS Loan?

A. Federal PLUS loans enable parents or legal guardians with good credit histories to borrow to pay the educational expenses of each child who is a dependent undergraduate. The student must be enrolled in school at least half-time. This loan is in the parent's name, not the student's.

Again, to be eligible for a PLUS loan, a parent must possess a good credit history. If a parent does not possess a good credit history, he/she might be able to qualify for a PLUS loan if someone who can pass the credit check agrees to endorse the loan and sign a promissory note. It is important that the parent(s) contact the Financial Aid Office in regard to obtaining a PLUS loan even if credit seems to be a problem. Sometimes extenuating circumstances can warrant a parent obtaining this loan.

 

Q. Is there a deadline for filing a loan application (FAFSA)?

A. It is important that students check with the financial aid office at LSSU to comply with deadlines in filing appropriate documents. To be considered for priority financial aid for 2014-15, the completed 2014-2015 FAFSA should be received by the Federal Processor by March 1, 2014.

 

Q. What is the interest rate of my student loan?

A.

Stafford Loans

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 is 4.5% for Subsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 is 3.4% for Subsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 is 3.4% for Subsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 is 3.86% for Subsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014 is 3.86% for Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015 is 4.66% for Subsidized Direct Student Loans.

The Fixed Rate for Loans First Disbursed Between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015 is 4.66% for Unsubsidized Direct Student Loans.

PLUS Loans

The 2012-13 rate is fixed at 7.9% for PLUS loans.

The 2013-14 rate is fixed at 6.41% for PLUS loans.

The 2014-15 rate is fixed at 7.21% for PLUS loans.

When do I have to start payments on my student loan?

A. Stafford loan borrowers begin repayment after a 6-month grace period. Students enter their grace period after dropping below at least half-time enrollment status from the school they are attending.

On the subsidized Stafford loans the government pays all interest during the grace period. Exception: for Stafford loans first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014, interest will accrue during the 6 month grace period, and students are responsible for repaying it. If the students receive unsubsidized Stafford loans, the students are responsible for paying all interest that accrues during the life of the loan. Borrowers having unsubsidized loans may choose to pay the interest payments or allow the interest charges to accrue towards their loans' principal balance.

PLUS loan borrowers may begin repayment of their loans within sixty (60) days of the final loan disbursement, or choose to defer payment of interest and/or principle until 6 months following the student's enrollment of less than half-time status. There is no penalty for prepayments.

 

Q. I got my “Official Offer of Award” letter in the mail. Now What?

A. Now that you have been offered financial aid, you need to read your award letter carefully. Be sure you take the time to read the “Important Messages” which are on the second page . Also, read the material that is sent along with your Official Offer of Award letter. We include information on loans, requirements to keep your aid (Satisfactory Academic Progress standards), scholarship renewal information, etc. All of the information is important and should be read!

The “Important Message” section will include any outstanding items you need to complete to finalize your financial aid. For example, if you will be using Federal Student Loans, you may need to complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling session. Or, you may need to send in a copy of your TIP letter. Or, complete an application for Work-Study, etc.

If you see the word “Estimated” by a type of financial aid, pay close attention to the Important Message section. You can not pay your tuition bill with “Estimated” aid. There are additional steps you need to take to make the aid “real”.

Once you have reviewed the “Official Offer of Award” and Important Messages, you need to officially accept your financial aid. If this is the first time you are receiving financial aid from LSSU, please sign and return the Official Offer of Award letter indicating the types of financial aid you want to accept. If you have already received financial aid from LSSU and have returned a paper letter in the past, you can officially accept your financial aid by logging into your my.LSSU/Anchor Access, clicking on the Financial Aid tab and then the Accept Aid tab.

You should always be monitoring your financial aid via your My.LSSU/Anchor Access account. Also, be sure to check your LSSU email on a regular basis. We will send you emails if you have outstanding requirements to complete.

 

Q. How do I apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan?

A. Follow these steps:

Look on your “Official Offer of Award” letter that was sent to you to see the maximum amount of Federal Student loan(s) you can receive for the year. You can also find this information by logging into your My.LSSU and clicking on the Anchor Access link. Once you are in Anchor Access, click on the Financial Aid tab.

We don’t automatically assume you want to utilize Federal Student Loans. Therefore, you do need to tell us how much you want to use. Don’t forget, you have to eventually pay the loan back – with interest.

The total amount that you accept will be split evenly between the fall and spring semesters. (Unless you are only attending one semester.)

You can use our Loan/Cost Estimator tool to help you determine how much loan to take out. Once you have determined how much you need, you need to tell the Financial Aid Office. You can do this by:

  • Signing and returning your “Official Offer of Award” letter and checking the “Yes” box next to the loan(s). You must also write in the “Loan Amount” section the total amount you want.
  • You can also accept your loan via the Financial Aid Tab in your Anchor Access.

Once you have officially accepted your Federal Student Loans, we apply the loan proceeds to your tuition bill. Be sure to check the Financial Aid tab and Requirements link to make sure you have completed all the necessary requirements.

If this is your FIRST Federal Student loan, you must complete some additional steps. We can not apply your loan proceeds to your tuition bill until these two steps are completed. You should allow about one hour to complete both steps.

  • An Entrance Counseling Session. Think of this as a “quiz” so you can receive a Federal Student Loan. You must answer the questions correctly. To complete this step of the process, sign in to www.studentloans.gov (you will need your social security number and FAFSA PIN). Click on the “Complete Counseling” link and follow the steps.
  • A Master Promissory Note. This is a legal document between you and the federal government. Basically, you are promising to pay back your Federal Student Loans. There is other legal information as well, but you can read that in the fine print. Sign in to www.studentloans.gov (you will need your social security number and your FAFSA PIN) and then click on “Complete Master Promissory Note.” Next, click on the Subsidized/Unsubsidized link. You will need to provide your personal information and also references. This process will take about 30 minutes to complete.

The Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note is good for 10 years so you should only have to complete these steps once.

There is a lifetime limit and yearly maximum you can borrow in Federal Student Loans as a Dependent Student:

    Freshman
    $5,500
    Sophomore
    $6,500
    Junior/Senior
    $7,500
    Lifetime Limit
    $31,000

Q. How do my parent(s) apply for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan?

A. If you have been offered the Parent PLUS Loan option on your Official Offer of Award, and one of your parents is interested in applying, then they will need to sign in to www.studentloans.gov (using their social security number and their FAFSA PIN) and click on the “Request a PLUS Loan” link. Next they click on the “Parent PLUS” link and follow the steps.

Parent(s) must pass a credit check to borrow money on your behalf. If a parent fails the credit check, and is therefore unable to borrow money, you have the option to borrow additional money each year. While you are a freshman or sophomore, you can borrow an additional $4,000 each year. Juniors and seniors can borrow an additional $5,000.

Once the Parent PLUS loan request has been processed and approved, your parent must also complete a Master Promissory Note at www.studentloans.gov. This is their legal contract with the federal government agreeing to repay the loan. This Master Promissory Note is good for 10 years so they should only have to complete it once. Parent(s) must sign a separate Master Promissory Note for each child they have a Parent PLUS loan for.

Once the loan has been accepted and processed, the loan proceeds will be applied to your tuition bill.

If there is excess aid as a result of the Parent PLUS loan, the funds can either be given to you in the form of excess aid, or a check can be mailed to your parent(s). Your parent(s) will answer a question during the application process, indicating who should receive the excess aid from the loan proceeds.

 

Q. How does my financial aid get applied to my tuition bill?

A. Your initial “Official Offer of Award” is based on full-time enrollment and for the full academic year (fall and spring semesters). Typically, half of your financial aid is applied to your fall semester and the remainder to your spring semester. Fall semester tuition bills are due by August 15th and spring semester tuition bills by December 15th. Your tuition bill will include the cost of tuition, campus room and board (if living on campus) and any other fees charged by the University. You will not receive a paper tuition bill in the mail. An email will be sent to your LSSU email notifying you that you have a tuition bill due. You can view your tuition bill by logging into your My.LSSU account, then clicking on Anchor Access. Once in Anchor Access, click on the Student tab, then the Student Billing Information link.

All completed and finalized financial aid (other than employment – Federal Work Study or Food Service) that has been accepted by you will appear on your tuition bill. Please note that if you still have outstanding requirements (i.e. completing the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note), the financial aid will not appear on your tuition bill. If your financial aid does not cover all your LSSU charges, your tuition bill will show the amount you owe the University. This amount should be paid by August 15th (fall semester) and December 15th (spring semester) to avoid a late fee.

 

Q. What is Excess Aid and how do I get it?

A. If your financial aid exceeds your tuition and room & board charges, you will receive an "excess aid" refund issued by the Business Office. Students with excess financial aid beyond semester charges may receive up to $600 beginning at noon on Friday, August 22nd, for early book and supply purchases.  Remaining balances will be available two weeks after classes start.  We strongly encourage you to set up direct deposit for the refund of your excess financial aid by adding your personal bank account information to your payment profile in the Bill and Payment Suite and selecting it to be used for refunds. NOTE: This direct deposit account is only for excess aid refunds from your student account and is not for direct deposit of payroll checks. If you have not set up direct deposit, your check will be mailed to your mailing or permanent address. (Or sent to the Housing Office if living on campus.) You can sign up for electronic direct deposit by logging into your Bill and Payment Suite under the Student section of your Anchor Access account. You will be notified via your LSSU email when you have excess aid available.

 

Q. I have received a private scholarship; how do I get the money?

A. Typically, private scholarship funds are sent directly to LSSU. (If you received a scholarship check made payable to you, sign the back and bring it to the Financial Aid Office.) Once we receive the scholarship check, we will apply half the money to your fall semester charges and half to your spring semester. (Occasionally, the donor requests all funds to be applied to a specific semester. In that case, we honor the donor’s request.) If, at the time we receive your scholarship check, your tuition charges are paid in full, you will receive the money as excess aid.

 

Q. I am not living on campus; can I receive excess aid to pay my rent?

A. Yes. When you complete your FAFSA, make sure you indicate that you are living off-campus. Your financial aid budget will include an allocation for off-campus room and board expenses. The financial aid that you accept will first be applied to cover your tuition charges. The financial aid that exceeds your tuition charges will be released to you as “Excess Aid”. You can use this money to pay your rent, utilities, food, etc.

 

Q. I was awarded Federal Work-Study; what is it and will this be applied to my tuition bill?

A. Work-Study is a type of financial aid that encourages college students to work part-time while attending college. If you work as a Federal Work-Study employee, you will be paid throughout the academic year on a bi-weekly basis. You will only be paid for the hours you have worked. The amount of your work-study award does not get applied to your tuition bill.

 

Q. I am a part-time student, how does this affect my financial aid?

A. When you receive your initial “Official Offer of Award” letter, it will be based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credits). Because you have the ability to add or drop classes up to 6 days after the semester starts, we don’t adjust your financial aid until the end of the add/drop period. Here is a summary of how the different types of financial aid are adjusted based on the number of credits you are enrolled in:
  • LSSU Scholarships – Typically you must be enrolled full-time to receive your scholarship
  • Federal Direct Student Loans – Must be enrolled in at least 6 credits to receive student loans
  • Federal Pell Grant – Prorated based on the number of credits enrolled
  • Tuition Incentive Program (TIP Phase 1) – Must be enrolled in at least 6 credits and will pay for actual credits enrolled plus $50 mandatory fee
  • TIP Phase 2 – Must be enrolled in at least 6 credits and will pay $500 per semester.
  • Native American Tuition Waiver – Will pay actual number of credits enrolled
  • TEACH, FSEOG and Michigan Competitive Scholarship– Must be enrolled in at least 6 credits – Prorated based on the number of credits
  • LSSU Grant - Must be enrolled full-time to receive LSSU grants
  • Federal Work-Study – Must be enrolled in at least 6 credits to be employed as a work-study student

If you were enrolled full-time at the start of the semester and received excess aid, your financial aid may be reduced if you drop to part-time. This may result in you owing the University money.

Q. Why did I receive another “Official Offer of Award” letter?

A. Your financial aid can change throughout the semester. This can be a result of changing from part-time to full-time or vice-versa, a change in your estimated family contribution (EFC) due to a correction to your FAFSA, a form of aid changing from “estimated” to “actual”, etc. Be sure to review your new award letter to determine what has changed. The change could have resulted in you receiving excess aid or possibly owing the University money.


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