Frequently Asked Questions

What is Financial Aid?

Financial aid is the funding used to pay for a student’s education. Types of financial aid include grants, scholarships, work-study programs and loans. Financial Aid can come from a variety of sources such as the U.S. federal government, the state you live in, the college you attend, or nonprofit/private organizations.

How do I apply for financial aid?

If you want to be considered for federal financial aid (federal grants and loans), you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at

LSSU’s Federal School Code is 0 0 2 2 9 3.

A FAFSA must be completed for each year you are requesting federal aid.

Be sure to check with your high school counselors, communities, parents’ employers, and free online search tools for scholarship opportunities. Also check the Financial Aid website for scholarship sign up opportunities every fall and spring semester.

Am I considered an Independent or a Dependent student?

To determine your dependency status, answer the following questions.

  1. Were you born before January 1, 2000?
  2. As of the day you filed your FAFSA, were you married?
  3. At the beginning of the 2023-2024 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.)?
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024?
  7. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2024?
  8. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased?
  9. Were you in foster care since turning age 13?
  10. Were you a dependent or ward of the court since turning age 13?
  11. Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  12. Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  13. 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 and will require parental information on the FAFSA.
  • If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you are considered an “Independent” student and will not need to provide parental information on the FAFSA.

What is an EFC and how is it calculated?

The EFC stands for “Expected Family Contribution.” It is a number calculated by the Federal Government based on the information reported on the FAFSA. Information used to calculate the EFC includes your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, family size, and the number of family members in college. The EFC is used to determine your financial need and what types of aid you may be eligible to receive. The EFC is NOT the amount you will owe a university.

I filed my FAFSA, what’s the next step?

Once you have filed a FAFSA, the schools that you added to the FAFSA will receive it electronically within 3-5 business days. Your FAFSA may be selected for verification. If your FAFSA is selected, then you will need to turn in additional documents to the school for review before you will receive an “Official Offer of Award.” Students can check their requirements needed for financial aid through their Anchor Access account. Click on the “Financial Aid” tab, then the “Requirements” link.

If your FAFSA was not selected for verification and additional documentation is not needed by the school, then you should receive your “Official Offer of Award” in your LSSU email within a couple weeks.

In the meantime, check with your high school counselors, communities, parents’ employers, and free online search tools for scholarship opportunities. Also check the website for scholarship sign up opportunities every fall and spring semester.

Why am I receiving emails to “Check your requirements?”

Emails are sent to students who have not completed certain requirements needed in order to finalize their financial aid. The emails are reminders to check your financial aid requirements through your MYLSSU account. Click on the “Financial Aid Requirements” on the Financial Aid tile. This lists the steps still needed to complete your financial aid. Reasons for emails could be because you need to turn in additional documentation for verification or that you need to complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note for your federal direct loans.

Your Award

I received my “Official Offer of Award” letter. Now What?

Your award letter shows what aid you are eligible to receive at our institution. The aid is listed for both fall and spring semesters, including a yearly total column. When you accept your aid, it disburses with half for the fall and half for the spring. If you want aid for a specific semester only, you must request it for fall or spring only.

If you see the word “Estimated” by a type of financial aid, pay close attention to the Important Message section. You cannot pay your tuition bill with “Estimated” aid. There are additional steps you need to take to make the aid “real.” Check your “Requirements” through your Anchor Access for more information.

Once you have reviewed your award letter, you need to officially accept your financial aid.  You can officially accept your financial aid by logging into your my.LSSU, clicking on Accept Financial Aid Award on Financial Aid tile, and Award Offer in Financial Aid dashboard.

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.

I received a private scholarship. How do I get the money?

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 may request that all funds be applied to a specific semester. In that case, we honor the donor’s request. If, at the time we receive your scholarship check and your tuition charges are paid in full, you may receive the money as excess aid.

I was awarded Federal Work-Study. What is it and will it be applied to my bill?

Work-Study is a type of need-based 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.

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

Your financial aid can change throughout the semester. This can be a result of changing from full-time to part-time status, a change in your expected 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.

I am a part-time student; how does this affect my financial aid?

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/drop classes up to the 6 days after the semester starts, your financial aid won’t be adjusted until the end of the add/drop period. Here is a summary of how the different types of 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 $65 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 your owing the University money.

Will my financial aid cover summer classes?

In general, if you attended full time for both the fall and spring semesters and accepted the maximum loan and grant amounts that you were offered, you most likely would not have any aid eligibility for the summer. If you did not utilize the maximum amount of loan offered to you during the school year, you may have eligibility left for the summer.

Once you have registered for your summer classes, you will be reviewed by the Financial Aid office to see your federal aid eligibility. You will receive an award letter via your LSSU email stating the types of aid you are eligible for.

There are cases where you may move up a grade level, increasing your annul loan limits. To be eligible for federal loans during the summer, you must be enrolled at least part-time (6 or more credits.)

If you are a Dependent student enrolled in 6 or more credits for the summer semester but have no subsidized or unsubsidized loan eligibility left, you could utilize the Parent PLUS loan option.

Alternative loans are another option to cover summer classes if you are not eligible for federal aid.

Student Loans

What are Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans?

Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans are loans you may be eligible to receive determined by the FAFSA.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: The federal government does not charge interest on subsidized loans while a borrower is attending school at least half-time, during the six-month grace period, and during deferments (postponements of repayments). Financial need (determined from the FAFSA) must be shown to receive this type of loan.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: For students without financial need, the Direct Loan Program offers Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Unlike the subsidized loan, the federal government charges interest on unsubsidized loans while borrowers are attending school, in the grace period, and during deferment. If borrowers do not wish to pay the interest while in school, the interest amounts will be capitalized (added) to the principal loan balance.

How much will I be able to borrow in loans?

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

Maximum Annual Loan Amounts
Year Dependent
0-25 credits earned
No more than $3,500 may be in subsidized loans.
No more than $3,500 may be in subsidized loans.
26-55 credits earned
No more than $4,500 may be in subsidized loans.
No more than $4,500 may be in subsidized loans.
56+ credits earned
No more than $5,500 may be in subsidized loans.
No more than $5,500 may be in subsidized loans.
Aggregate Loan Limits(maximum lifetime eligibility) $31,000
No more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans.
No more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans.

* The independent undergraduate loan limits also apply to dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow under the Parent PLUS loan program.

The loan amount a borrower may receive is determined by subtracting the amount of other financial aid received from the total cost of attendance for the applicable academic year. In determining subsidized loan eligibility, the EFC is subtracted from the cost of education to determine need. LSSU’s financial aid office will certify the loan amount and eligibility.

What is a Parent PLUS Loan and how does my parent apply?

Parents and/or step-parents of undergraduate dependent students may utilize the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan to assist in paying the student’s educational expenses. Parents may borrow up to the difference between the cost of education and other financial aid for which the student is eligible. The student must be enrolled in school at least half-time. This loan is in the parent’s name, not the student’s.

Your parent may complete an on-line PLUS application at .

If your parent’s application is denied due to adverse credit history, contact the LSSU Financial Aid Office to discuss your options. Beginning March 29, 2015, PLUS loan counseling will be required if you are determined to have adverse credit history, but qualify for a PLUS loan by documenting extenuating circumstances or obtaining an endorser. This can be completed at

What are the interest rates of federal loans?

Subsidized Loan-4.99%

Unsubsidized Loan-4.99%

Parent Plus loan-7.54%

When do I have to start repaying my student loan(s) and to whom do I pay?

Subsidized and unsubsidized loan borrowers begin repayment after a 6-month grace period. Students enter their grace period after dropping below at least half-time enrollment status (less than 6 credits), withdrawing, or graduating from a university.

Repayment begins on the Parent PLUS loan immediately after the loan is fully disbursed. Parent borrowers may contact their loan servicer to request a deferment while the dependent student is enrolled at least half time and for an additional six months after the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Parent borrowers can also select the deferment option during the on-line application; however, this may not automatically defer the payments.

You will make your payment to your loan servicer.
To find out who your loan servicer is:

  1. Go to and click on Financial Aid Review.
  2. Log in with your FSA ID.
  3. Your loans are located at the top of the page. Any grants you received are listed at the bottom. (Remember: Grants do not have to be repaid.)
  4. Click on the blue number on the left of the loan. This will give you more information on that specific loan.
  5. Near the bottom of the page, you will find your loan servicer’s contact information.
  6. It is strongly encouraged that you create an online account with your loan servicer in order to keep track of your loans and repayment.

Payment Options and Refunds

What are my payment options and where do I pay my bill?

For students receiving financial aid, the aid will be applied against your charges. Any remaining charges not covered by financial aid can be paid in full online through your Bill and Payment Suite, in person at the Fletcher First Stop (located in the Fletcher Center), over the phone at 906-635-2600, or by mail to:
Lake Superior State University
Fletcher First Stop
650 W. Easterday Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783.

There is also the option of a payment plan which splits your remaining balance into four monthly payments. There is a $25.00 service fee per semester. To sign up for the payment plan, log in to the Bill and Payment Suite through your Anchor Access account.

For more information about payment options, please contact the Business Office at 906-635-2276.

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

Your initial “Official Offer of Award” is based on full-time enrollment and for the full academic year (fall and spring semesters). Fall semester tuition bills are due by mid-August  and spring semester tuition bills by mid-December.

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.

What is Excess Aid and how do I get it?

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 the Friday before the start of the semester 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.

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

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.