text only
Home Index Search Directories Faq



 
Home >> 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 the federal programs, you must:
  1. Have financial need (which is NOT a criteria for student loans).
  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 (you can register here).
  8. Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school (you can view our policy here).
  9. Attend at least half time to receive a Direct Loan.
 
Types of Financial Aid
Scholarships
USA Scholarships
  External Scholarships
 
 
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 Student Loan or the federal Parent 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 Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Pell Grant awards range from $550 to $5,550 per year. (You may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.) The Pell Grant award will be shown on your Award Notification. You must be enrolled FULL-TIME, in order to receive the full amount of the Pell Grant award.
 
  Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
 

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) is a "need based" grant awarded to undergraduate students, enrolled in a first bachelor's degree program who are eligible for a Pell Grant. SEOG funds are severely limited and are awarded to eligible students until the funds are depleted. The SEOG award will be shown on your Award Notification.

 
  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. The amount shown on the Award Notification is the maximum amount available to earn on the FWS program. FWS will not be available at registration for the payment of fees. FWS student employees will be paid twice per month. The maximum award allows student employees to work up to 20 hours per week.
 
  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.
 
  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. They include the Federal Subsidized Direct Loan, the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan and the Federal PLUS Loan. These loan programs were created by Congress to help all eligible students and parents, with and without financial need, pay for the student's educational expenses.
 
 
  • Federal Direct 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 minus the expected family contribution, which is calculated from the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), minus other aid. The subsidized Federal Direct Loan is awarded to undergraduate students with demonstrated need and the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school. The unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is awarded to students without demonstrated need and the student borrower pays the interest while in school and during the grace period.  Interest rates are variable but will not exceed 8.25% for undergraduate students and 9.50% for graduate/professional students. Undergraduate students may receive a combination of both loans depending on their eligibility of need versus no-need and their dependency status. Some independent students are eligible to borrow additional unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan funds despite their demonstrated need.

    Federal Direct Loan Limits:

         Dependent Undergraduates:
    • Freshmen may borrow up to $5,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $3,500 in subsidized)
    • Sophomores may borrow up to $6,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $4,500 in subsidized)
    • Juniors and Seniors may borrow up to $7,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $5,500 in subsidized)
    • The maximum that all undergraduates may borrow for all years is $31,000 (not to exceed $23,000 in subsidized).

         Independent Undergraduates:
    • Freshmen may borrow up to $9,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $3,500 in subsidized)
    • Sophomores may borrow up to $10,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $4,500 in subsidized)
    • Juniors and Seniors may borrow up to $12,500 per year.
      (not to exceed $5,500 in subsidized)
    • The maximum that all undergraduates may borrow for all years is $57,500. (Not to exceed $23,000 in subsidized)

  •       Graduate Students:
    • Graduate student may borrow up to $20,500 per year.
    • The maximum that all graduate students may borrow $138,500.
   
  Federal PLUS Loan
  Only eligible parents of eligible dependent undergraduates may borrow through the Federal PLUS Loan Program. The amount parents may borrow is the student's Cost of Attendance minus the Estimated Financial Aid to be received during the loan period. 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. The interest rate is variable and will not exceed 10.5%.  A credit check is required when applying for this loan.
   
  Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
  Graduate PLUS loans are federally sponsored loans for students attending graduate school. With a Grad PLUS loan, you may borrow up to the full cost of your education, less other financial aid received including Federal Direct loans. The interest rate is variable and will not exceed 10.5%.  A credit check is required when applying for this loan.
   
  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 (see below for more information on high-need fields and schools serving low-income students).

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 Federal Direct Unsubsidized Direct Loan, with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
 
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.
 
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, 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.

 
Terms Used
Mouse over unfamiliar terms for an explanation.

USA Financial Aid
All of USA

© 2013 University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 /
1 (800) 305-6828 (financial aid inquiries only)
For questions or comments Contact Us

Date last changed: August 27, 2013 8:30 AM
http://www.southalabama.edu/finaid/currentavailable.html
PAWS
USA Homepage