Financial aid FAQ (or all the stuff you need to know)

Christina Bucciere

Paying for school — and finding help — can be overwhelming. Whether you’re just starting out, or your college account is running low, you might have questions about affording a four-year price tag. Fortunately, we’ve all been there, so we’ve compiled a list of questions and sat down with Mark Evans, director of Student Financial Aid, and Anissa Strickland, associate director of Student Financial Aid, to find out their answers.

Additional information can be found on the student financial aid website at

Who is eligible?

A person must be officially enrolled as a regular student at Kent State to be eligible for any financial aid. A regular student is “someone who is going to Kent with the purpose of obtaining a degree,” Evans said.

How do I apply for financial aid?

“The first and most important step in applying is filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s important to file this as soon as possible, and students can begin filing as soon as January 1 of each year,” Evans said.

The FAFSA can be obtained by your high school guidance counselor, in the Kent State financial aid office or at

What are the academic progress requirements?

The purpose of monitoring students’ academic progress is to ensure students are making satisfactory progress toward obtaining their degree.

The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy (SAP) is outlined on the financial aid website.

How is the amount of financial aid received determined?

The federal government uses a formula to determine need, estimating the strength of students’ families to contribute to their children’s education. Family size, assets, income and retirement allowance are a few of the determinants used in the formula.

The family’s Expected Financial Contribution (EFC) is deducted from the total cost of attendance to determine financial need. Then, the financial aid office will be able to determine what types of financial aid will best suit each students’ needs.

What if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we can pay?

“When special circumstances come up, it is best to make an appointment with a financial aid counselor who can help you through any problems that may come up throughout the year,” Strickland said.

What if I need to take time off from school?

Kent State is required by law to monitor the enrollment of its federal financial aid recipients. A student is considered a federal financial aid recipient if they have received any of the following: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, William D. Ford Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan and Federal PLUS loans (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students).

“Federal financial aid is based on attendance, so if a student does not officially withdraw from the university and just doesn’t attend the classes they are enrolled in, they may end up having to repay the amount of money for those classes for which they received federal aid,” Evans said.

Will I receive the same amount of financial aid next year?

If your family situation remains the same and the financial aid office receives the results of your FAFSA by March 1, students should expect to receive the same amount of financial aid the following year. Loan limits are based on dependency level, so certain changes may alter how much a student is eligible to receive.

Students must re-apply for financial aid every year.

“Dropping classes can also change the amount of financial aid a student can receive because we do have to follow the academic progress requirements that make sure a student is on track to graduate on time,” Evans said.

When will I receive my financial aid?

Financial aid can officially be distributed to students’ bursar accounts once all processing requirements have been completed. Once those steps have been taken care of, students will begin receiving financial aid 10 days prior to the start of each semester.

The bursar’s office processes refund checks to students who have financial aid awards that exceed the cost of their bill for that semester.

Have I done everything I can do?

“This is a very common question and is best answered by calling the office or walking in and talking to someone at the front desk. If you feel like you have a lot of questions, make an appointment with a counselor. If you follow the necessary steps outlined in Flashline and on our website, chances are, you are in a good spot, but it is always good to sit down with someone and make sure you’ve covered all your bases,” Strickland said.

When is it too late to apply for financial aid?

“The official federal deadline when it is too late to apply is the end of the semester. All of the filing, awarding and disbursing has to happen during the semester,” Evans said.

Contact Christina Bucciere at [email protected].