What is Available



Eligibility Requirements 


Eligibility for federal aid is determined on the basis of financial need as well as several other factors. In order to receive aid from federal programs, you must: 

  1. Have financial need (which is NOT required for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, Direct PLUS Loan or Direct Graduate PLUS Loan ).
  2. Have a high school diploma or GED or pass a test approved by the Department of Education.
  3. Be degree-seeking in a program of study.
  4. Be enrolled in an eligible program of study and taking classes required of that program.
  5. Have a valid Social Security number.
  6. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. If you are in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa or only a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa you are NOT an eligible non-citizen.
  7. Register with the Selective Service System if required (Click here to register).
  8. Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school (View our policy here).
  9. Attend at least half time to receive a Direct Loan.

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 Types of Aid


 Scholarships


        USA Scholarships

        External Scholarships

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Federal Financial Aid


Federal Student Aid Programs include grants, loans and part-time employment. Eligibility for most of these programs is based upon the "demonstrated financial need" of the student applicant and the applicant's family. However, financial need is not an eligibility criterion for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, the Federal Direct PLUS Loan or the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. Therefore, most federal student aid applicants will be eligible for some form of financial assistance through the federal student aid programs regardless of demonstrated financial need. In order for eligibility to be determined, federal student aid applicants must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. 

Federal Pell Grant
The Federal Pell Grant is a basic "need based" grant awarded to the neediest undergraduate students working on a first bachelor's degree. Eligibility is determined through a standard formula established by Congress, which is used to evaluate the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid  (FAFSA). This will produce an expected family contribution (efc)  number. The amount of pell that the student is eligible to receive depends on the efc, cost of attendance,  and enrollment status.  Pell grants are prorated for three-quarter, half time, or less-than-half time enrollment.  You must be enrolled FULL-TIME, in order to receive the full amount of the Pell Grant award. Effective Fall 2012, student's pell grant eligibility cannot exceed 600% which is the equivalent of 12 full time semesters.  Grant awards to do not have to be repaid.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a "need based" grant awarded to undergraduate students who are enrolled in a first bachelor's degree program and eligible for a Pell Grant. Students with the highest need are given first priority.  SEOG funds are severely limited and are awarded to eligible students until the funds are depleted. 

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Federal Work-Study Program (FWS)
The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) is a "need based" part-time work program which allows students to earn money to help pay educational expenses. Students must indicate on their FAFSA that they are interested in Federal Work Study in order to be considered.  The amount shown on your PAWS account is the maximum amount available to earn on the FWS program. Federal Work Study will not be available at registration for the payment of fees.  Federal Work Study student employees will be paid twice per month. The maximum award allows student employees to work up to 20 hours per week.

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Federal Perkins Loan*
The Federal Perkins Loan is a "need based", revolving loan fund utilizing both federal and institutional funds. This award is a loan and must be repaid by the borrower. The federal government pays the interest while the student is in school at least half-time, during a nine-month grace period, and during periods of deferment. Priority is given to students with exceptional need and the availability of funding is not guaranteed.

Federal Direct Loan Program*
Federal Direct Loans are low interest loans that undergraduates, graduates and parents of dependent undergraduates may obtain from the federal government. To be eligible, students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, not have previous defaults on a federal student loan, be enrolled at least half time, and be maintaining satisfactory academic progress.  This is a loan that must be repaid.  

The Federal Direct Loan Program includes the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan, the Federal PLUS Loan and the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan. The type of Federal Direct Loan a student may borrow is based mainly on the student's demonstrated need. Demonstrated need is the student's Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which is calculated from the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), minus other aid. For the most current interest rates, please click here. 

*Please note that any loan borrowed by the student or parent will be submitted to the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users of the data system.

 

Direct Subsidized Loan

The Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded to undergraduate students with demonstrated need. The federal government pays the interest while the student is in school.  An origination fee will be charged by the federal government of the total amount of the loan.  The current origination fee charged for Federal Direct Subsidized loans is 1.073% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2014. For the most current interest rates, please click here.

 

Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The Direct Unsubsidized Loan is awarded to students without demonstrated need. The student borrower pays the interest while in school and during the grace period.  Undergraduate students may receive a combination of both subsidized and unsubsidized loans depending on their eligibility of need versus no-need and their dependency status. An origination fee is charged by the federal government on the total amount of the loan.  The current origination fee charged for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans is 1.073% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2014. For the most current interest rates, please click here.

 

    • Federal Direct Loan Limits
        Dependent Undergraduates:

•  Freshmen may borrow up to $5,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $3,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  Sophomores may borrow up to $6,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $4,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  Juniors and Seniors may borrow up to $7,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $5,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  The maximum that undergraduates may borrow for all years is
    $31,000 (not to exceed $23,000 in Direct Subsidized Loans).

Independent Undergraduates:

•  Freshmen may borrow up to $9,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $3,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  Sophomores may borrow up to $10,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $4,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  Juniors and Seniors may borrow up to $12,500 per year.
    (not to exceed $5,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans)

•  The maximum that undergraduates may borrow for all years
    is $57,500 (not to exceed $23,000 in Direct Subsidized Loans).

Graduate Students:
•  Graduate Students may borrow up to $20,500 per year.
    (Direct Unsubsidized Loans only)

•  The maximum that all graduate students may borrow is
    $138,500.  

Direct PLUS Loan 

Parents of dependent undergraduates may borrow through the Direct PLUS Loan Program if eligible. The amount parents may borrow is the student's cost of attendance minus other financial aid to be received during the loan period. The parent must complete the Parent PLUS loan application and promissory note at www.studentloans.gov once the award has been offered and accepted through PAWS.   A credit check is required when applying for this loan. 

Parents must begin repaying both principal and interest within sixty days after the loan is disbursed. The lender charges interest on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. An origination fee will be charged by the federal government on the total amount of the loan.  The current origination fee charged for Federal PLUS loans is 4.292% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2014.  The most current interest rates, please click here.


Direct Graduate PLUS Loan 
Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are federally sponsored loans for students attending graduate school. With a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, students may borrow up to the full cost of  attendance, less other financial aid received during the loan period including Federal Direct loans.  The student must complete the Graduate PLUS loan application and promissory note at www.studentloans.gov once the loan has been offered and accepted through PAWS.   A credit check is required when applying for this loan. 

Students must begin repaying both principal and interest within sixty days after the loan is disbursed. The lender charges interest on the loan from the date the first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. An origination fee will be charged by the federal government on the total amount of the loan.  The current origination fee charged for Federal Graduate PLUS loans is 4.292% for loans first disbursed after October 1, 2014.  The most current interest rates, please click here. 

 


Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) 
Conditional grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. 

In exchange for receiving a TEACH Grant, you must agree to serve as a full-time teacher in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. For more information on high-need fields and schools serving low-income students, visit www.studentaid.gov. 

As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, you must teach for at least four academic years within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which you received a TEACH Grant.

To receive a TEACH Grant you must meet the following criteria: 

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must have been filed for the application year and USA must have the results of the FAFSA.

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

  • Attend full-time each term (at least 12 hours for undergraduate and at least 6 hours for graduate)

  • If an undergraduate student:

    • Be enrolled in teacher candidacy in an eligible USA major. Contact the Advising Office in the College of Education for eligible majors.
    • Meet and maintain a cumulative USA GPA of at least a 3.25

  • If a graduate student:

    • Be enrolled in an eligible USA major. Contact the Advising Office in the College of Education for eligible majors.
    • Meet and maintain a cumulative USA GPA of at least a 3.25

If you receive a TEACH Grant but do not complete the required teaching service, you will be required to repay the grants as a Direct Unsubsidized Direct Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.

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Alternative Loans 


Students who do not qualify for federal Financial Aid, or who need additional funds beyond what federal Financial Aid can provide, have an option of applying for an alternative (private or non-federal) educational loan. Alternative loans are generally more expensive and therefore should only be considered if absolutely necessary. In most cases,  the student applicant's credit and/or co-signer's credit must be approved by the lender. In addition, you must be in good academic standing as defined by the University Registrar Office. The eligible loan amount can be no greater than the Cost of Attendance minus all other Estimated Financial Aid and you must be at least half-time at the time of disbursement.

You (and your co-borrower, if applicable) should carefully research the options and apply for the alternative loan that best suits your needs. Keep in mind that usually your best option is to pursue federal loans. Be sure you have applied for all of the federal loans you are eligible for before you consider private loans. If you do wish to take out a private educational loan, you need to provide any documentation requested by the sponsor of the loan and follow the application procedure that is specific to that loan. 

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State Aid


Alabama Student Assistance Program 
Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP) is gift aid awarded to eligible Alabama residents seeking a first undergraduate degree. Students must meet general eligibility requirements including demonstrating financial need. Funds are awarded only to students who are Federal Pell Grant recipients.

The amount of ASAP awards depends on the student's need and the amount of funds allocated to the University and the availability of those funds.

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