Top financial aid questions and answers


Financial aid can provide some financial relief in helping to pay for college. But figuring out the process of applying for and receiving aid can almost feel like you’re learning a new language. To help, we’ve put together a list of some of the top financial aid questions and answers asked after applying for financial aid. And remember — there is always someone who can help no matter where your student is in the financial aid process. Just connect with the college’s financial aid office.


Why hasn’t my student been awarded financial aid?

If your student has a balance due to their university, and they don’t yet know if and what aid they are receiving (or why their aid hasn’t paid their bills yet), here are some common reasons:

  • They may need to accept their financial aid awards.

  • The financial aid office may not have received their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or it received their FAFSA but rejected it for some reason. If it was rejected, your student may have to provide additional information. 

  • They may have tasks yet to complete before they can receive their financial aid.

  • If they recently completed tasks related to their FAFSA, document processing can take four to six weeks. 

  • Their college’s financial aid disbursement date hasn’t yet arrived.

How does my student accept their financial aid?

Their student aid offer will include instructions about how to accept aid. They’ll likely have to indicate the awards they want to accept and can probably accept their awards online. 

How can my student cancel their financial aid awards?

Canceling your financial aid awards means that you no longer want to receive financial aid from  a specific university because you have decided not to attend that university. If this is not your intention, be sure to decline any awards that you no longer want to receive as a newly admitted or continuing student at that university.  

If your student is new to the university at which they want to cancel their financial aid awards, they’ll likely need to cancel them when they cancel their admission to the university. They can talk with a financial aid representative to cancel their financial aid awards. If your student is a continuing student at the university at which they want to cancel their financial aid awards, they should withdraw from classes before the upcoming financial aid disbursement date. 

Why hasn’t my student received their federal student loan money?

If your student is a first-year undergraduate and a first-time borrower, they may have a 30-day wait after the first day of their enrollment term before their school is able to give them their loan money. They should check with their school to see whether this rule applies.

If they’re a first-time borrower of a Direct Subsidized Loan or a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, they must complete entrance counseling before receiving their loan money.

Graduate and professional students taking out a Direct PLUS Loan for the first time must complete entrance counseling before receiving their first loan disbursement.

When will my student’s private loan be posted to their student account?

If your student applied for a private loan, it can take two to three weeks before it’s posted to their student account. If it’s been more than three weeks, they should reach out to their university’s financial aid office. If it’s posted, check the disbursement date for the upcoming term.

Can my student receive financial aid for summer classes? 

Students can usually receive financial aid for summer classes if they have any remaining aid from their award from the previous fall semester. They may need to first enroll in classes. Be sure they haven’t exceeded any academic load limits or requirements.

What are the criteria for scholarship renewal?

Every scholarship likely has different renewal requirements. Your student can contact the scholarship provider for GPA, load minimums and other information about scholarship renewal.

Why is my student reviewed for or on Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

All students receiving financial aid are required to meet SAP standards. SAP standards are in place to ensure that students are successfully completing classes and can continue to receive financial aid. Your student’s university likely posts these requirements online.

Why does my student still have the end-of-term eligibility hold on their account?

Your student may see a financial aid hold on their account if all of their grades have not yet posted. Any term eligibility hold should be removed within 24 hours of their final grade posting for the prior term. If it's been more than 24 hours since their final grade posted for their prior term of enrollment, encourage them to contact a university financial aid representative.