Frequently Asked Questions


  • 1. My parents and I have not filed our taxes - what should we do?
    Students and/or parents who have not filed their federal taxes can estimate on the FAFSA in order to meet our priority application deadline of March 1st. However, it is important to estimate as accurately as possible so that your financial aid awards will be a true reflection of your eligibility. In addition, it is very important to update your estimated figures and tax filing status as soon as you have filed for the current tax year.

    2. Why must I complete the FAFSA using my parents' information?
    The US Department of Education considers a student to be dependent on his or her parents (biological or adoptive) unless the student can answer Yes to one of the following questions: (for 2011-2012 academic year)

    • Were you born before January 1, 1988?
    • At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, will you be working on a master s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., or graduate certificate, etc.)?
    • As of today, are you married?
    • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you during the upcoming academic year?
    • Do you have dependents other than your children/spouse who lives with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2012?
    • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
    • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
    • When you were age 13 or older, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent/ward of the court?
    • As of today, are you an emancipated minor as determined by a court on your state of legal residence?
    • As of today, are you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
    • At any time on or after July 1, 2010, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?


    **note: if a student is determined by the US Department of Education to be a dependent student, but has extenuating circumstances surrounding the unavailability of parental information, please contact the financial aid office about applying for a Dependency Override.

    3. If I live on my own am I considered independent for financial aid?
    A student's living situation does not affect the student's dependency status.  The dependency status is determined as noted in Question #2.

    4. What is the difference between a Subsidized Stafford Loan and an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan? 
    The student is not required to make any payments of principle or interest on a Subsidized Stafford Loan while the student is in school. However the interest on an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is the students responsibility from the time the loan funds are sent to the university until it is paid in full. The student can opt to allow the interest to accumulate, however it will be added to the principal amount of the loan and increase the amount to be repaid. It is recommended that the student contact the lender to make quarterly payments on the interest.

    6. Will taking a course with a grading status of audit impact my financial aid? 
    Audited classes do not count toward the number of credits enrolled for financial aid purposes.  If you opt to change your course to audit mid-semester it may impact your financial aid awards.  Please contact our office prior to making any changes to your enrollment.

    7. Can I buy books using my financial aid? 
    You may transfer any available anticipated financial aid or credit balance to your HawkCard to be used in the bookstore for purchases. Complete a transfer request with Student Auxiliary Services, or by logging onto your MyUMES Student Center account and completing the online transfer request.

    8. Does financial aid cover summer and winter balances? 
    Financial aid loans may be available for the summer session if the student has not already borrowed the maximum loan amounts available for the award year. Forms will be available online and in the Office of Student Financial Aid beginning mid-late April to request summer loan funds.

    We do not provide assistance for winter enrollment.

    9. Who has access to my financial aid information? 
    Students who want to release information about their financial aid may submit the Authorization to Release Information form. This authorization allows the designee to obtain the student s financial aid information via phone, email,  or in-person.